Los Angeles County announced Friday the launch of a free lifeguard training program for teenagers and young adults with an emphasis on recruiting Black and Latino residents to become Los Angeles County Swimming Pools lifeguards.

People between 16 and 24 years old are eligible for the Lifeguard Ready Training program, which was created by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and recreation in collaboration with L.A. County Supervisors Holly Mitchell and Hilda Solis. The program will take place in their districts at the Belvedere Aquatic Center in East Los Angeles and the Jesse Owens Park and Roosevelt Park pools in South Los Angeles.

“The Lifeguard Ready Training program will increase diversity in Los Angeles County’s lifeguard workforce while providing meaningful job opportunities for BIPOC youth, including those who are system-involved, inspiring them to explore careers in aquatics or with the County,” Solis said.

“Programs like these open up career paths that our young people may not have considered before. To that end, I am proud of our ongoing efforts to at provide opportunities for inclusive education and training to youth in communities of color.”

The first of three phases of the program will begin on Sept. 27. During each phase, up to 40 participants will receive 24 hours of training over 12 sessions. Training will include instruction in swim stroke, water rescue, first aid, CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators. In order to be eligible for the program, people must be able to swim 500 yards in less than nine minutes and 30 seconds and have 20/30 vision with correction or 20/200 with both eyes open without correction. People who are successful during the program will have the opportunity to transition into a paid Lifeguard Cadet position.

During the program participants will receive all the necessary equipment, including swimsuits, towels and a duffel bag.

“I’m proud to join with the Department of Parks and Recreation in engaging our school and community partners to make this enriching program more accessible to communities throughout the Second District. In addition to inspiring more Black and Brown youth to see themselves as lifeguards, this program helps equip them with the skills and resources to make it happen,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell. “We’re working intentionally with community partners to increase diversity in the field of aquatics, provide lifesaving swim skills to communities of color and to strengthen the talent pipeline of lifeguards so all residents can enjoy their county pool.”

Participants will have a mentor to provide support during the process and evaluate performance. Those who don’t successfully complete training can automatically enroll during the next session or explore other recreation career opportunities offered by the county.

People can register for the program and learn more information by going to parks.lacounty.gov/lifeguard-ready-training.

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