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Morning Brief: Chefs Embrace Apprenticeships, Teen Vaccinations, And Paramount Ranch

Culinary apprentice Nicole Rios, in a white chef's outfit with a black facemask, stands in a kitchen cutting a piece of rosemary on a blue cutting board next to a pile of shrimp skewered on rosemary twigs while another chef grills vegetables nearby.
Culinary apprentice Nicole Rios skewers shrimp with rosemary twigs. She says she's wanted to be a chef since high school.
(Jill Replogle
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Good morning, L.A. It’s Oct. 8.

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And now, back to the news...

For kitchen whizzes interested in making their passion their profession, the cost of culinary school can be a barrier. That means people from low-income families, immigrants, or people of color are frequently priced out of the business, no matter their level of skill.

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To close that gap, the industry — and others in the U.S. — is embracing apprenticeships.

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In the programs, students are paid while learning on the job. It’s an idea that could help the U.S. catch up to other countries, where the income gap isn’t as monstrous. Switzerland, for instance, ranks high on per-capita income and relatively low on income inequality, and about two-thirds of students there are graduates of apprenticeships or other forms of vocational training.

Nicole Rios, 29, is a student at an apprentice program sponsored by UNITE HERE Local 11, the union that represents more than 32,000 restaurant and hospitality workers in Southern California and Arizona. She couldn’t be happier with the program.

“[It’s] perfect,” she said. “It's everything I want to learn, and it's free.'"

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A., and stay safe out there.

What Else You Need To Know Today

Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, here’s what you may have missed:

Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco shared his story of once belonging to the Oath Keepers, an extremist group. Bianco was a member for a year in 2014, and continues to defend the group. (LAist)

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A major oil spill in Orange County closed beaches and endangered wildlife. Clean-up is expected to take years. (LAist)

Melvin Van Peebles, the pioneering African-American filmmaker, has passed away. His 1971 film, Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, tells the story of an African-American man fleeing white police officers, and was independently funded after studios refused to finance it. (L.A. Sentinel)

The stunning thunderstorm that hit L.A. this week was a once-in-a-decade event. (LAist)

Chavez Ravine, now home to Dodger Stadium, has an ugly past. (LAist)

L.A. is poised to lead the country in converting empty office space into residential spaces in the wake of the pandemic. (Urbanize L.A.)

Unhoused people and activists are worried that the upcoming clearing of MacArthur Park will be a repeat of Echo Park. (LAist)

West Covina could be getting an Amazon delivery center. (San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Need to have a good cry but don’t want to be alone? Here are the seven best places to weep in public in L.A. (LAist)

Before You Go ... This Week's Outdoor Pick: Paramount Ranch

A few small, purple flowers grow in the grass. Far in the background is a one-story, white ranch house.
Take an easy hike through Paramount Ranch in Agoura Hills.
(Courtesy of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area)

Located in the Santa Monica Mountains, the National Park Service's Paramount Ranch is dedicated to American film history while still functioning as a working movie ranch. Perfect for hiking, picnicking, mountain biking and horseback riding, there are several short trails that allow visitors to hike a few miles and explore the old filming grounds.

Or, you could: View a Día de los Muertos art show. Ride around DTLA at CicLAvia. Watch spooky screenings. Try a Seoul street food legend. And more.

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