Building on Success LBUSD campus improvements
FALL 2021
Lakewood graduate Isiah Bradford part of LBUSD's Inaugural Workforce

Lakewood High Graduate Building Bright Future at Jordan

Isiah Bradford may have the most enviable commute in Long Beach. After donning a hard hat and steel toe boots, he makes the five-minute drive to his job at Jordan High School.

Bradford is part of the construction team demolishing the aging structures along Jordan's western perimeter to make way for the school's new two-story classroom building, tree-lined corridor and outdoor lunch shelter.

He graduated from Lakewood High School just one year ago.

"I live near Jordan, but we're a Lakewood high family," said Bradford. "My uncles went to Lakewood, and so did my older brother. I graduated from Lakewood in 2020, and my sister is a senior there now."

The latest phase of Jordan's transformation is the inaugural project in the District's workforce development agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council, making Bradford one of the first LBUSD graduates and one of the first local residents to benefit from the partnership. The agreement paves the way for students to land well-paying jobs in the building trades, and aims to fill 40% of labor positions with residents of Long Beach and other nearby cities.

Bradford attended LBUSD schools most of his life, beginning his journey through District classrooms as a third grader at Birney Elementary School. He completed his middle school years at Hughes before continuing his family’s Lakewood High School tradition. At Lakewood, Bradford joined the boys’ water polo and football teams and helped stage the school's theater productions. He enrolled in the Successful Training and Apprenticeship Recruiting (STAR) program in February 2020, weeks before COVID-19 shut down in-person instruction at Lakewood and all District schools. Created by McCarthy Building Companies in collaboration with Laborers' International Union of North America (LIUNA) and LBUSD, the STAR program provides students an up-close view of construction and prepares them for the rigorous physical tests required to join local unions.

The pandemic curtailed his time in the program, but the experience helped Bradford secure a spot in LIUNA Local 1309. Bradford started a LIUNA apprenticeship in August, a three-year program that combines on-the-job training with classroom-based instruction. His first assignment, completed under the supervision of a skilled LIUNA craftsperson, was installing new basketball rims at his old middle school.

Like Jordan's modernization, the campus-wide upgrades underway at Hughes are funded by the District's bond program.

"Being on the playground at Hughes was like a homecoming; it was definitely emotional," Bradford said. "This project at Jordan is cool because it’s a school I’ve seen all of my life. I want to learn to operate the heavy equipment we're using at Jordan; I want to continue to grow in my new career."

Jordan's new building will open in 2023, and renovations to the 27-acre campus will continue through 2026.