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L.A. Trade Tech College – The Perfect Resource for Homeschoolers

400 W. Washington Boulevard, Los
Angeles, CA 90015
213-763-7000 •

by Michael Leppert

We homeschoolers understand the value of practical skills as part of raising a well-rounded individual. While they certainly respect and strive for academic excellence, homeschoolers also know that achieving a college degree is not the be-all of being knowledgeable and “well-educated.” Many are the stories of homeschoolers starting businesses with practical skills that spring from a true interest. We oft en chuckle at the idea of a person possessing a PhD who has no clue how to change a fl at tire, cook a simple meal or perform some other practical activity. The solution for such “top heaviness” is to learn reallife skills as well as academics – and downtown Los Angeles is home to the top resource for such learning in the Southwest – possibly the entire United States! It is Los Angeles Trade Tech College, a cozy, safe, tranquil, 25-acre campus, located amid the bustle of the City of the Angels, at Washington Boulevard and Grand Avenue, immediately off of the Grand Avenue exit on Interstate10 East.

L.A. Trade Tech has been training people of all ages and backgrounds for 82 years and is one of the most important economic resources in all of Southern California, providing skilled workers in the region’s industries, including Welders, Electricians, Carpenters, Plumbers and Architectural Assistants for the heavy construction fields; Bakers, Chefs and Managers for hotels and restaurants; Fashion Designers, Fashion Merchandisers and Tailors for our busy textile world; Sign Graphics artists; Cosmetologists; Child Development for future daycare operators or young-child teachers; Cabinetmaking and Millwork; Machinists, Maintenance Engineering technicians; Refrigeration and
Air Conditioning mechanics; Street Maintenance Techs and a complete Automotive Technology department, which teaches body-work as well as internal mechanical skills.

Because L.A. Trade Tech’s administrators and teachers understand the full significance of knowing how to function in the “real” world, all of these courses include business operations instruction as well as the actual technical instruction of the trade or craft , so the student fi nishes the program knowing how to function as a businessperson as well as a skilled tradesman or
technician. Trade unions provide on-campus guidance for students to go right
from their studies (in Welding, for instance) into union apprentice programs and
steady employment in the ever-growing environment of the second-largest city in the country.

Many of the ski l ls taught at L.A.T.T.C. are in high demand, even as the training may be dying out elsewhere. A case in point is that Disneyland has a number of signs and painted lettering on doors and windows that must be hand-lettered as the need arises. Trade Tech is one of the only places that still teaches this art – today many graphic artists are only familiar with computer-generated lettering. Disneyland found the large number of artists it needed at L.A.T.T.C. and these students now enjoy lucrative, steady employment, using their rare skills and training!

Another ironic example of the value of practical versus theoretical knowledge, occurred recently when a group of engineering students from Penn State broke an axle on their original design “green” car that was entered in a contest in L.A. Crestfallen, they were preparing to have their crippled entry shipped back to Pennsylvania, when some students at Trade Tech came to the rescue by off ering to machine a new axle right there in the campus machine shop! The surprised Penn State students, who had no idea how to perform the feat, gratefully accepted. Th e L.A.T.T.C. students performed the task quickly and Penn State was able to compete in the contest, proving the point that practical knowledge is ndispensable to successful living!

Since L.A.T.T.C. is also a regular community college, students can earn an A.A. as well, offering the opportunity for your homeschooled child to learn a valuable trade, and also complete the Undergrad general education requirements to then transfer to a four-year school for a bachelor’s degree.

For U.S. residents, cost is not an issue at Trade Tech, as each unit is only $20! By comparison, private instruction -- at a culinary school -- for instance, is astronomical. For International students, the cost is much higher, but that does not present an obstacle to students from other countries who attend the college for its excellent training and the world-class cultural activity that Los Angeles provides.

Any student over 18 can attend L.A.T.T.C. by providing documented proof that he is 18 -- a driver’s license or birth certifi cate -- for instance. The parents of a child under 18 simply have to grant permission by completing a form provided by the college.

If you want to provide your childwith pract ical hands-on training that truly empowers him/her in the “real” world, do him or her a favor: Please visit L.A.T.T.C.’s website,, view the catalog and class descriptions, and give strong consideration to a complete trade program or a course here and there, in order to raise up a self-reliant person with a broad and deep inventory of skills to draw upon. MjL

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