Friendship Campus breaks ground on $55 million facility in Redondo Beach The 64,000-square-foot facility will house a culinary school, arts studio and vocational training center to help those with special needs.
The $55 million Friendship Campus, a first-of-its-kind center to assist those with special needs with job training and placement, celebrated its groundbreaking in Redondo Beach Aug. 10. Pictured are benefactor Harris Toibb; Friendship Foundation founder Yossi Mintz; and benefactors Mike Kaplan, Anita Bhatia, Michael Greenberg, Ted Schwartz, Jon Hirshberg and Yosef Gorowitz. (photo by Michael Hixon)
The $55 million Friendship Campus, a first-of-its-kind center to assist those with special needs with job training and placement, celebrated its groundbreaking in Redondo Beach this week.
The 64,000-square-foot facility, on 3.25 acres, is being developed on land owned by the Redondo Beach Unified School District. It will house a culinary school, arts studio and vocational training center.
About 1,000 people attended the Wednesday, Aug. 10, event, according to organizers, including representatives from the Friendship Foundation, which is spearheading the project, local government officials, benefactors and other supporters.
There are nearly 200,000 children in Los Angeles County schools who are on the autism spectrum, foundation Executive Director Yossi Mintz said during his remarks at the groundbreaking. About 83% of those students will be unemployed once they graduate high school, he said.
“We all know a child or young adult who is on the spectrum,” Mintz said. “They deserve to live a beautiful life.”
Approximately $42 million has been raised for the Friendship Campus, which is expected to be completed in 2024.
Parents of young adults with special needs are apprehensive as they leave behind school district services and other programs, Mintz said.
“I will tell you they (parents) don’t know what the future is going to be,” Mintz said. “I do see them trembling with tears running down.”
The Friendship Campus, Mintz said, will give young adults a place to learn how to be independent and gain the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace — while easing the fears of parents.