Anitra Eddington is a young woman with a strong sense of purpose, and with definite goals for her life. She recently completed the Dental Assistant training program at Venice Skills Center, a campus that is part of Los Angeles Unified School District’s Division of Adult and Continuing Education. After graduating, she will be joining the US Army, utilizing her dental training to treat soldiers, and where she plans to pursue further training toward her long-term goal of becoming an oral surgeon.
But not that long ago, Anitra was struggling. Growing up she faced many challenges having lasting impacts on her. Anitra’s mother passed away when she was a freshman in high school. She was forced to quit school to care for her younger brother and she began selling drugs to help make ends meet. Through her connection to Los Angeles Job Corps, a government-funded service for disadvantaged young adults, Anitra learned about the Venice Skills Center.
Venice Skills Center provides adult education job training classes in many locations throughout west LA. Classes are offered at a much lower rate than at private schools, and for concurrently enrolled high school students, enrollment is free. Venice Skills Center schools are part of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Division of Adult and Career Education (DACE). DACE provides learning opportunities and employment training to adults and in-and out-of-school teens. DACE schools and career training centers throughout the Los Angeles area help community members reach their personal and professional goals by offering convenient access to high-quality instruction at affordable prices.
She decided to enroll, and was accepted one month after the Dental Assistant Training cohort had already started. Anitra was determined to make it work and make the best of the situation, so she studied hard and caught up to the rest of the class within two weeks. The commute from her home in downtown LA to Venice was two hours each way, but she was usually waiting at the Skills Center gate before it opened most mornings! She was very proud of making straight A’s all the way through her coursework – for the first time in her life.
Anitra gets a little choked up when she tells her story. But she also expresses her deep gratitude to the instructors and staff at Venice Skills Center for the excellent education that they have provided that has given her a bright pathway forward.