With the cost of attending a four-year college or university soaring in the United States, greater investment is being made to expand access to two-year community colleges for students as a launch point to higher education and careers.

In Los Angeles County, the largest county by population in the U.S., voters approved $6 billion in public spending to modernize its nine college campuses serving more than 225,000 students in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD). This Sustainable Building Program, known as Build LACCD, is the largest community college construction bond program in the country.

Build LACCD is transforming the nine campuses into state-of-the-art educational institutions and is setting the standard for helping graduates succeed in fields such as healthcare, public safety, manufacturing, automotive, technology, construction, and entertainment.

“With 80 percent of LACCD students coming from underserved populations, the Build LACCD program is helping to create an avenue for students from lower income communities to successfully compete in the 21st century economy,” said Scott Svonkin, president of the Los Angeles Community College District and a member of the National Advisory Board of the College Promise Campaign.

Since taking over as the principal administrator of Build LACCD in 2013, AECOM has managed the construction and renovations at all nine campuses, building environmentally responsible and award-winning facilities such as the Harbor College Library & Learning Center, Los Angeles City College Life Science/Chemistry Building, and Mission College’s Culinary Arts Institute.

But students aren’t the only beneficiaries of the program. Small businesses and local contractors are also being positively impacted. Through workshops managed by AECOM, local companies are taught proper safety and project management skills that can help them become AECOM’s construction partners on Build LACCD projects, creating hundreds of local jobs. More than 200 firms are participating in Build LACCD assignments.

To date, AECOM has completed 594 construction projects that include more than 60-LEED certified academic and administrative buildings, laboratories, libraries, sports facilities, arts complexes, child development centers, parking structures and central energy plants. AECOM expects to complete a total of 830 projects by 2020.

Through effective program and construction management oversight and a concern for the needs of students and businesses in the greater Los Angeles area, AECOM and its partners are helping to deliver a better world to LACCD and its students.

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