The Los Angeles Painting and Finishing Contractors Association (LAP&FCA) announced that their organization will provide labor support to paint and do minor fix-up of a homeless shelter in the LA-area on October 7 - 8 as part of the national Benjamin Moore "Color Across America" initiative. Project Achieve Emergency Shelter, a homeless shelter in Long Beach, has been selected as the site to receive painting and fix-up for the two-day event. The emergency shelter is located at 123 E. 14th Street, Long Beach, Calif. About 15 volunteer apprentice painters, finishers, and drywall apprentices will provide the labor.

Greg Quinn, Executive Director of LAP&FCA said, "This is an excellent demonstration of the way private companies like our contractors work hand-in-hand with labor to help improve their communities. Our apprentices consistently work on public service projects to give back to the communities they serve." Quinn added, "The economic downtown has affected us all and many, who thought they would not have to access community-based services, find themselves accessing these services. This is also a way we can respond to President Obama's 'Call to Service' initiatives." As Benjamin Moore director Carl Minchew pointed out, "it reflects the importance of forging partnerships between private enterprise and public service for community outreach."

Jesus Hernandez, Training Director for the Southern California Paint and Drywall Industry, said that volunteer labor will be provided through LAP&FCA's Apprenticeship Program, which is a 7,200 hour or 3 1/2 year training program certified by the Department of Labor and the State of California Apprenticeship Standard's. "This is only one of many many community service projects we undertake over a year's time. We donate hundreds of hours of time to help paint parks, community service facilities, remove graffiti, and other area public service projects," he said.

"These are young men and women who want to give back to their communities in a positive way and are volunteering to provide their expertise, time, and effort to do so. The way we look at it, we're called to service on an on-going basis. Our apprentices get the training, but the community benefits from volunteer skilled union labor without cost," he noted. On the list of the many projects for which Hernandez' apprentices provided support was for Katrina disaster victims. The apprentices furnished an all-volunteer labor crew to paint, finish, and drywall an entire facility to house Katrina victims. Other labor unions furnished carpet installation in support. One of the five Southern California apprenticeship training centers is housed in the Kern County Museum, Bakersfield. In return for the classroom space, the apprentices provide the upkeep and maintenance for the County's museum. "Our goal is train and get people a high-level set of skills for which they're equipped for a lifetime," said Hernandez. Hernandez currently has almost 700 apprentices in training.