learn / 2015

Wheels of Hope LA Welding School

Wheels of Hope LA Welding School

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Wheels of Hope LA, Fred Jordan Mission

Wheels of Hope LA trains and certifies hard to employ people in Los Angeles and then certifies them through the American Welding Society. The AWS certification is good in all 50 states and once our students pass we then place them in jobs. The end of term project is welding motorcycle ambulances, which once completed we send to villages in Africa.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • 412 Boyd St, Los Angeles CA 90013

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • Percent of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years
  • Youth unemployment and underemployment
  • Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

Wheels of Hope LA puts on 16 weeks welding courses. These courses are free of charge for our students. Once our students complete our training program, they then take the American Welding Society test. In our five year history all 150 students have passed this test. Once our students have passed the AWS exam, we help to place them in jobs.

The Department of Labor says there is a shortage of 300,000 welders in the US and this statistic will continue to grow into the future.

The end of term project is welding together a motorcycle ambulance. Wheels of Hope LA then sends these ambulances to Angola, Uganda or Congo. The ambulances save lives on a weekly basis in Africa.

It is a huge paradigm switch for a former gang member or ex-convict to get certified as a welder, make an ambulance that is saving lives in Africa and get a job.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

On the surface, the easiest way to measure success is counting the amount of students we train, get certified through the AWS and place in jobs. We have had incredible success, especially when considering our students’ past.

At the end of each term we invite the families to our school so they can see the ambulances their parents built as well as see them in action. It is always a incredible feeling to know that these children will now be able to be provided for because their parents have a career.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Community outreach