| Barger Establishes $6 Million Capital Project Fund for Challenger Youth Center Project

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger successfully introduced a motion on May 17 that establishes a multimillion-dollar capital project fund and adds Antelope Valley College to the county’s efforts to radically reorient its Challenger Memorial Youth Center in Lancaster and investing in youth.

LA County has been working steadily since October 2018 to create a new vision and purpose for the Challenger Memorial Youth Center. In addition to the $6,032,000 appropriation to support this project, Barger’s motion also directs the county’s legislative advocates to continue their efforts to secure $25 million in additional state funding for the Challenger project. The LA County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the motion, with a 5-0 vote in favor of moving forward.

The project will transform Challenger, a former juvenile detention center, into a premier job training campus with housing for young people aged 18-25 who were former adoptive youth, involved in the juvenile justice system or homeless.

“I am dedicated to transforming Challenger into a community asset that brings high quality job training, housing and hope to the lives of young people who have no one to turn to for help,” said Barger said. “We need to invest in capital projects like Challenger and partner with experts to create programs tailored to the needs of a new generation of learners. They are our 21st century workforce and deserve a supportive path to an independent, self-sufficient future.

The motion identifies the County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services as the primary contracting entity for project management services.

“Under the direction of Supervisor Barger and the Board of Supervisors, the county will reimagine Challenger for young people, creating a vibrant space and program to live, learn and work,” said Kelly LoBianco, executive director of economic development and labor for LA. WDACS County. “With a lens of restorative justice, workforce development and youth development, we will build a model where young adults not only realize opportunities for meaningful work and civic participation, but we create new opportunities that connect skilled talent and quality jobs in the Antelope Valley. With our partner Antelope Valley College, we hope Challenger will be a new model that we can replicate across the county.

Antelope Valley College President Ed Knudson explained what it means for the college to be included as a program design and operating partner for the Challenger project.

“Antelope Valley College is honored to support Supervisor Barger’s motion to repurpose the Challenger Youth Detention Center, and stands ready with its extensive network of partnerships and services to support the Challenger Institution’s new mission,” said Knudson said. “The main objective of our mission is to serve the community. When we serve the community, we serve our students. We look forward to continuing the planning discussion and are excited about the prospects of providing direct support and creating new opportunities for students. »

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