Century Center for Economic Opportunity (CCEO) was established in 1979 by pioneering community developers who were passionate about equal employment opportunity and workforce development. From 1979-1994, CCEO monitored the hiring practices of all projects related to the construction of the I-105 century freeway. CCEO enforced state mandates requiring that a certain percentage of workers were women and minorities who lived in the surrounding communities of the freeway project. This created a large grassroots effort to recruit eligible workers from the local communities.
After the completion of the I-105 Century Freeway, CCEO continued its community development work with a new focus, working with local communities and construction projects. CCEO applied to the Department of Labor’s (DOL) YouthBuild grant to continue their mission. YouthBuild is a program that enables high school dropouts a second chance to earn their high school diploma or G.E.D. while simultaneously offering construction training. As one of the original grantees of the DOL YouthBuild grant, CCEO became one of the first YouthBuild programs in the country.
CCEO YouthBuild operated for 14 years in Gardena and moved to Lennox in 2010. Through the years, CCEO received various grants and established new partnerships. One of these partnerships, for nearly 30 years, was with the South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB), providing services from 1995-2017. During that time the program constructed 98 new affordable homes in the Los Angeles area, remodeled 116 homes, and constructed 35 wheelchair ramps, all for low-income homes. It also completed 185 community service projects, totaling more than 389,500 hours of community service.
In late 2018, the YouthBuild program merged under the SBWIB, Inc., while still maintaining the long standing national Department of Labor model, which aims to empower underserved young adults ages 16-24, allowing them to rebuild their lives and communities through leadership, education and technical training. Special thanks and credit goes to CCEO for their many years of exceptional services to the region.
Now managed solely by the South Bay Workforce Investment Board, SBWIB YouthBuild, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, continues to service low-income areas with building and remodeling programs while providing educational, occupational skills training and leadership skills to disadvantaged youth residing in targeted communities.