Mayor Swearengin Praises Federal Grant to Help Lowell Neighborhood, Residents 
11/10/2010

Mayor Ashley Swearengin today said a $600,000 federal grant awarded to Fresno City College will add another layer of investment into the ongoing revitalization of the Lowell neighborhood.

Fresno City College received the grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the Hispanic-Serving Institutions Assisting Communities program to provide introductory training on construction techniques and job-readiness skills for low-income residents. The students also will work to rehabilitate houses in the Lowell neighborhood over the next three years.

“Revitalization is happening in the Lowell neighborhood because we have all of our partners working together to address the challenges that we’re facing,” Mayor Swearengin said. “This grant recognizes our partnerships and the commitment that we’ve all made to bringing long-lasting change.”

Mayor Swearengin announced the grant today in a news conference that also included representatives from Fresno City College, the Fresno Redevelopment Agency, the Housing Authority of the City and County of Fresno, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Under the grant program, 26 low-income residents will be enrolled in a six-and-a-half month training program in each of the next three years. Fresno City College will partner with the City of Fresno Downtown and Community Revitalization Department and the Housing Authority of the City and County of Fresno, which has committed to providing two vacant houses per year in need of rehabilitation.

“We are happy and honored to partner with the City of Fresno with this innovative program that will prepare students in the construction field and provide them with the skills they need to improve their lives,” said Dr. Cynthia E. Azari, Fresno City College President. For 100 years Fresno City College has been providing a quality education to thousands of students and we are excited to start this new venture with local, state and national agencies who have the same goals.”

The students will work under the direction of a qualified general contractor/qualified instructor for 20 hours per week to complete the rehabilitation work.

After students complete the practicum, they will continue into a career readiness course where they will upgrade their resumes, practice interview skills, conduct job searches and complete applications. Students who are interested in starting their own businesses in the trades will be enrolled in further college training and referred for assistance to Fresno City College’s Entrepreneurship Center.

Mayor Swearengin said the grant is yet another sign of the federal government’s commitment to working with the City. Fresno has been selected by the Federal Regional Council, a consortium of 19 separate federal departments and agencies in a four-state region that includes California, for a pilot program to focus funding and technical assistance on a particular community.

More information on the program will be available soon on the Fresno City College website at www.fresnocitycollege.edu.

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