Assemblymember Warren T. Furutani was honored Nov. 7 with the dedication of the Los Angeles Harbor College YouthSource Center in his name.
Presiding over the ceremony was Harbor College President Marvin Martinez, and Furutani’s long-time friend Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took part.
A host of elected officials and VIPs from both education and the political world were on hand to congratulate Furutani for a lifetime dedicated to empowering young people to succeed. Among the dignitaries were Los Angeles City Councilmember Joe Buscaino, Los Angeles Community College District Chancellor Dr. Daniel J. Lavista, and Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees President Steve Veres.
Students from the college were also present to witness the dedication and learn about Furutani’s many legislative efforts, such as AB 37, which helped Japanese Americans to obtain college diplomas decades after their education was interrupted by their relocation to concentration camps at the start of World War II.
“This center shows we can break down the ‘silos’ of education and training resources that exist in a host of different agencies and levels of government, and bring them together to provide the education and training we need to produce a 21st-century workforce,” explained Furutani. “Everyone is talking about it now — and this shows it can be done. It is a great start.”
The Warren T. Furutani YouthSource Center is one of 13 centers for high school dropouts and other struggling students that opened July 1 throughout Los Angeles. The centers are funded by a Workforce Investment Act grant won by the city. This center is the only one currently located on a college campus. The center’s staff of tutors and counselors helps high school dropouts and recent graduates who lack basic academic skills, ages 14 to 21, get back on track.
Furutani, who served on both the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education and the Community College District Board of Trustees, is leaving the California Assembly after five years of service to the 55th Assembly District, which includes the city of Carson, portions of the cities of Lakewood and Long Beach, and the Los Angeles communities of Wilmington, Harbor City and Harbor Gateway.