In 2006, the United Job Creation Council (UJCC) was organized under the leadership of Bishop Noel Jones, senior pastor of the City of Refuge Church, and Bard Carson of Jobs Create Peace, to impact the economic needs of underserved communities by creating greater access to employment through construction and other jobs.

The UJCC Collaborative consists of more than 100 faith and community-based advocacy organizations built on making systemic, policy, regulatory and legislative changes that increase access to job preparation, training and retention opportunities for at-risk youth, women and underserved Los Angeles County residents.

UJCC has developed a community action partnership for economic employment and community revitalization. It is the mission of the council to increase access to job interview preparation, job training and retention opportunities for at-risk youth, teens and disadvantaged local population.

“UJCC is not just about jobs, it is about lifting people up who have been dropped, displaced and forgotten,” said Executive Director Jean Franklin. “Our concept is to meet the needs of the people who live in our neighborhoods surrounding the churches within our communities and the neighborhoods in which we live. In order to create safer communities, we need jobs and opportunities.”

As part of their efforts to serve the youth of Los Angeles, the council will hold a Mentor Recruitment Day as a step toward assisting juvenile youth being released from juvenile camps or prisons. The event will be hosted from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, at the City of Refuge Church, 14527 S. San Pedro, in Gardena.

“Our youth can’t wait any longer,” said Franklin. “We need a call to action. We need men and women who will come forward and take the hands of these at-risk youth and help lead them on a path to a better future.”

The statistics have been heard before. Young Black men have a one in three chance of going to prison in their lifetime; homicides among Black males between 15 and 19 years old represent one of the leading causes of death; and 59 percent of Black males in their early 30s who dropped out of school have prison records.

“Mentors can help change the grim realities facing these young people,” Franklin said. “Mentors will be trained, matched with a youth and attend regular support meetings to learn how to coach them and partner with them to plan their path to success.”

UJCC is Part of the Positive Pathways Program, a multi-level strategy to reduce community violence and improve the prospects of juvenile offenders. For more information, call (323) 432-3976 or visit the organization’s website at http://www.unitedjobcreationcouncil.org/