The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to approve the creation of a truck driving academy at Lopez Canyon. The Council’s action will allow a Class “A” driver career training program sited on 1.4 acres in the 600-acre closed landfill. Classes will be provided at no cost to the applicants who are approved for the program.
“The Lopez Canyon Truck Driving Academy will provide training and job placement for over one hundred residents of the Northeast Valley in the first year alone, helping a community that is struggling with high unemployment and economic distress and ensuring a brighter future for their families,” said Councilmember Richard Alarcón. “Lopez Canyon, a location that was once a dirty landfill, can now be used to help train people for well paying jobs and is the perfect short-term use of land that will ultimately be green space for the local community.”
The truck driving academy will be run by Transportation Opportunities Program (TOP). TOP is a tax-exempt non-profit community based organization that was specifically established to provide no-cost Class “A” driver career training. Funding is from employers, other non-profits such as United Way, and local, state and federal grants including ARRA funding. The truck driving academy will use 8 tractor- trailers for the lessons, donated by local businesses.
Councilmember Alarcón closed down the Lopez Canyon landfill when he was a Councilmember in the 1990s and has dedicated the space for park and recreational purposes. Once the landfill is declared safe for public use, which is expected by 2030, it will be opened to the public. Currently, numerous operations take place at the Lopez Canyon site such as methane gas extraction, horse manure treatment, soil stabilization, brush clearance and general maintenance. These operations will continue until the site is declared safe for use as an open space.
Supporters of using Lopez Canyon for the training site include the Pacoima Chamber of Commerce, the Pacoima Neighborhood Council, the NAACP – LA Chapter, Los Angeles Mission College, the Los Angeles Community Colleges, the LA Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Economic Alliance, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County, Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice (CLUE-LA), Pacoima Beautiful, VICA, ICON – CDC, SEIU Local 1877, SOULA 2006, Local 24/7, Local 2007, Teamsters, LAANE and El Proyecto del Barrio.
Those interested in finding more information about the program and about how to apply should call 1-800-FOR-A-JOB (1-800-367-2562).