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Alim Washington - In the Community Profile

Alim WashingtonAlim Washington has been invested in the Crenshaw community for years – long before he was hired to work as Journeyman Laborer on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project.

"I’m not just at a job, or on a job," said Washington, 44. "I am a part of this job."

Washington grew up in the Crenshaw District and was raised in a tough neighborhood known for its gang activity. Crack was in the streets and Washington witnessed his first killing when he was 15. Three years later, he was arrested for his "hustling" activities.

Despite those circumstances, Washington vowed to graduate high school on time with his classmates. After that accomplishment, he attended Grambling State University in Louisiana, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Communications. When he moved back to Los Angeles, Washington started a promotional/product placement company with old friends who had connections to the entertainment industry. Later, he started a landscaping company. Then the recession hit and business slowed to a trickle.

Washington happened to read an "Our Weekly" newspaper article about plans for the Expo Line. He attended one of the first community meetings held at Dorsey High School in 2005, when Metro was planning the project. He put his name on an interest list and prayed daily for a job on the huge development.

Those prayers were answered when Washington began work as a local hire flagman on Expo Phase I on July 17, 2007 – his son’s birthday.  His employer later sponsored him as a Journeyman in the Local 300 laborers union.

"I was on the job from the day they removed the palm trees along Exposition Boulevard at USC, to the grand opening on April 29, 2013," Washington said.

For Washington, the project changed his life, giving him a career with benefits including health insurance and a pension. Today, he works for Walsh/Shea Corridor Constructors in traffic control and manages the discharge ponds for the construction vacuum trucks at night.  He also serves on the safety committee and assists the Community Diversity Director with community awareness activities. Washington was at the groundbreaking for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project in January 2014, and makes it a point to network on behalf of his community.

"I went from tearing down L.A. to building it up," he said. "Now I’m a community advocate. My goal is to show our youth the way out of the neighborhood with prayer, patience, perseverance and a plan."