Campus: CSU, Los Angeles -- December 11, 2000

First Youth and Gang Violence Intervention Specialist Program in the Nation

Professors and gang workers, scholarship and street smarts, classrooms and turf or barrio venues are being paired under a first-in-the-nation Youth and Gang Violence Intervention Specialist Program launched this month at Cal State L.A. under auspices of the University's Pat Brown Institute, Department of Criminal Justice and Division of Extended Education.

Funded by a one-year $200,000 grant from the Los Angeles City Community Development Department, the certificate program is designed to improve the quality of services provided by violence intervention and prevention workers by increasing their level of expertise in gang intervention strategies.

Open to anyone in the City of Los Angeles involved in youth violence prevention, gang intervention or other related fields, the certificate program consists of fifteen sessions held on consecutive Fridays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on the Cal State L.A. campus. Upon completion, participants will be awarded a Certificate of Completion by the Cal State L.A. Department of Criminal Justice through the University's Division of Extended Education.

Classes will be offered in the theory and historical analysis of youth violence, leadership/empowerment techniques, crisis intervention, peace agreements and truce strategies, and field research. The latter course will give participants the opportunity to reflect, integrate and respond on what they have learned in other sessions by designing a project that will fit the needs of their specific community.

"This is a first-of-its-kind certificate program that I am aware of," said Community Development Department general manager Lillian Kawasaki. "This training will better equip individuals working to curb violence in our communities."

Hailing the program as seeking "to establish professional standards for gang intervention workers," Los Angeles City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas, a strong supporter of efforts to establish it, stressed that "gang intervention workers play a critical role in combating gang violence and in crime reduction efforts throughout the city. This certificate program aims to enhance and maximize the gifts, skills, and talents of those who work on the front lines. Although they have worked hard and long for many years to maintain the peace in our neighborhoods, they have not always been valued for their accomplishments. Our expectation is that this certificate program will help to further the recognition and importance of this career."

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