Orientation offered for vocational training, business programs

Wave Staff Report

WATTS — The Entrepreneur Educational Center is hosting orientation events to kick off its 2024 vocational training and small business development programs. 

The first orientation was held March 16 at Ted Watkins Memorial Park in Watts. Additional orientation sessions will be held March 23 and March 30 at the organization’s office at 555 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Gardena. 

The purpose of the orientation is to introduce the attendees to the experts who will conduct courses and the program benefits of starting a small business or nonprofit, gaming, animation or a certification as an open water diver. 

EECI is a nonprofit organization that provides entrepreneurship assistance to minorities to enhance diversity in industries where minorities are underrepresented. All the courses and training materials are completely free, and diving equipment such as wetsuits and oxygen tanks will be provided to all enrollees at no additional cost. 

The March 16 event included speeches by state Sen. Steven Bradford, D-Inglewood; Los Angeles City Councilmen Tim McOsker and Curren Price, and Compton City Councilman Jonathan Bowers. Additionally, Ed Rice, EECI chairman of the Board and a Popeyes Famous Chicken franchise owner; Commissioner Ozie B. Gonzaque, former chair of the Housing Authority for the city of Los Angeles and a trailblazing activist from Watts; and ECCI Founder and Executive Director Barbara J. Stanton, shared some words with the group.

“It’s important to expose our young people to opportunities in business and careers,” Price said. “This is an exciting chance to give people a hands-on experience to meet some people and make some contacts to expand their dreams.”

Wallesha Bedford, 32, aspires to own a bakery. The confectionery enthusiast attended the event to learn how she can next level her baking business from her home.  

“I did make cakes for a living, but now I do it on the side because I transitioned into another career,” Bedford said. “But baking cakes is my first passion. I want to have a large clientele.”

Stanton said EECI is committed to enrolling as many students as possible to help empower their dreams. “We love South Los Angeles and believe there are a lot of people who have dreams of business ownership or who want to transition into an exciting career in gaming, animation and our newest open water diving program,” Stanton said. “We’re here to help turn those dream into a reality.”

People wanting to attend one of the next two orientations can reserve their spot by calling 323-757-7506 or emailing eeci2017@aol.com.

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