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From the Florence Maintenance yard, Art Dominguez and Linda Fodor represent Caltrans well at the Citrus College Career and Wellness  Fair.

PUBLIC OUTREACH IS EVERYONE'S JOB AT CALTRANS
by  Jeanne Bonfilio
Issue Date: 04/2008

Caltrans staff participate in community partnerships to share knowledge, skills, employment opportunities and messages about public safety.

Caltrans is often invited to participate with other agencies, schools or communities at public events which encourage education, employment outreach and public safety -- Caltrans number one priority. Two such events occurred recently. Caltrans Maintenance and Public Affairs staff were happy to take time from their other important duties to help staff these events – and to share their knowledge and skills to help inform and educate the public.

One such event took place on March 15, when District 7's East Region Tree Crew and Covert Inspection Program staff participated in 66th Street Elementary School's "Careers on Wheels" Day. The annual event emphasizes the importance of education and the many future career opportunities available to students. Along with members of the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the United States Army and Federal Express. District 7 East Region Tree Crew and their supervisor, Greg Flores, were on hand to explain their job functions. Those participating Caltrans crewmembers were Gonzalo Anzu, Mario Chairez, Brent Comeaux, Benjamin Garcia, Francisco Hernandez, Joseph Hernandez, Albert Pena and Octaviano Perez-Hernandez.

The tree crew showed off some of their heavy-duty mechanical brush cutters and chain saws. They answered questions on teamwork and explained the importance of work safety and their role in caring for the health and beauty of trees. The Covert Inspection Program team, consisting of Ed Castro, Antonio Garcia and Luis Monterrubio, was present, along with "Lola" their famous robot, to talk about the litter and debris found inside stormwater drains. They emphasized the importance of not littering, and encouraged students to attain a higher education in order to find careers that they truly enjoy.

The day ended with the tree crew's demonstration of equipment and maintenance techniques. "These crews are great with the kids, said Yessica Jovel of Public Affairs. "I'm impressed with the effort that they make to represent the District in such a positive light, and the fact that they take time out of their busy schedules to attend this sort of event."

A school administrator commented, "The kids can't stop talking about how impressed they were with you. Thank you for taking time out of your busy work schedule to come out."

Also earlier this year, Maintenance staff from East Region's Florence Maintenance yard in Downey were on hand at another public event to provide agency information and career opportunities at Caltrans. Maintenance Leadworkers Art Dominguez and Linda Fodor represented Caltrans well at the Sunflower Alternative Schools and Citrus College Career and Wellness Fair January 16 in the City of Glendora. The goals were to help students access higher education, job opportunities and attain a healthy lifestyle.

"Opportunities like these are so important – and they educate students and the public about Caltrans," said Dominguez. "We can let them know that we are out there on the road for their safety – and also educate them about the importance of the safety of Caltrans workers."

The Tree Crew from East Region Maintenance demonstrate their expert training on equipment used to perform their highly-skilled jobs.  This one is called a cherry picker -- a favorite to watch among school children; a special bucket used to elevate staff high into trees to cut and trim branches. Maintenance Supervisor Linda Fodor greets visitors at the Caltrans exhibit. Students collect important information about Caltrans.