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Inner City Industry launches PEP jobs program in Compton

OW Staff | 11/21/2012, 5 p.m.

Inner City Industry (ICI) was founded in 1999 to address mental health challenges of children and youth in K-14 education. The organization's mission is to inspire and prepare children, youth and families to reach their full human potential with social emotional and professional development while celebrating academic excellence.

ICI programs merge mentor counseling, educational enrichment, and professional career development to achieve the goals set out by the agency. Each ICI activity is designed to work in concert with other ICI activities to create a comprehensive program that improves the quality of life and education for each student.

ICI recently launched its Peer Empowerment Program (PEP) at Ronald McNair Elementary in Compton Unified School District. Recently, ICI hosted a PEP presentation and press conference at McNair Elementary School in Compton.

PEP is an innovative, service-training, jobs program employing youth ages 18-21 to co-facilitate group discussions among fifth-grade students during the after-school program. With a vision to reverse the cycle of generational poverty, PEP delivers jobs and services simultaneously in low-income communities.

As a mental health prevention strategy, PEP provides social emotional learning support to aid in a student's transition to middle school where environmental (psychosocial) issues begin to deter academic achievement. PEP will qualify transitional age foster youth for employment, providing service-trainees prevention services in preparation to develop their social skills as a responsible peer mentor under staff supervision.

According to the Department of Mental Health Vulnerable Communities in Los Angeles County: Key indicators of Mental Health; the city of Compton was identified as a vulnerable community. "South Los Angeles has more than 4,000 children and youth in out-of-home placement, with 48 percent of residents less than 25 years in age with unemployment highest among transition age youth at nearly 25 percent," said ICI President Bruce Wheatley. "ICI is committed to empowering communities to be the change they desire for community well-being."

If you would like more information about this program, contact Bruce Wheatley at brucew@innercityindustry.org