Recycling Lives helps break the cycle of homelessness, poverty, and incarceration

March 4, 2022 /

Recycling Lives is a non-profit organization that helps break the cycle of homelessness, poverty and incarceration. This program is designed to help increase access for opportunities of employment, education, training, and support services.

The course is partnered with Bakersfield Adult School, BARC, County of Kern, and Kern Alliance of Business. The partnership helps participants explore the entire workforce development system.

“It is a collaborative effort between our non-profit organizations. Bakersfield Adult School is providing curriculum and training for the program, Kern Alliance of Business has provided infrastructure which is the facility and equipment, and our workforce development board is paying participants while they get trained,” said Teresa Hitchcock, County of Kern Economic Development.

Participants will learn the principles of the recycling process, and participants will also be able to learn entrepreneurship and business fundamentals. Additionally, participants will be able to obtain a forklift driving, standing forklift, walk-behind forklift, and safety certificate. 

The program offers a total of 13 weeks of classroom training with 32 hours of paid work experience, and eight hours of classroom training per week. After completing the program, participants will have recycling, warehouse, and logistic industry experience.

“The workforce development board is the administrative arm and we have work counselors here that help palace the participants after they finish their training. So far it has been really good because there are a lot of warehouse types of companies in Kern County so we have had nearly 100 percent placement so far,” said Hitchcock.

To sign up, participants must have a high school diploma or GED, complete a WorkKeys assessment, and pass a drug screening. A WESTEC Passport Certificate is also preferred but not required.

Classes will start soon and they are currently taking applications at the moment. Applicants can apply at or they call 325-HIRE to be part of Recycling Lives.

Erica Murillo

Erica Murillo is a project coordinator and reporter at South Kern Sol. She was born in Bakersfield, California, and her origin is from Guanajuato, Mexico. She is a first-generation graduate from California State University, Bakersfield where she earned a degree in Liberal Studies with a minor in English. Murillo's first job was working in the fields picking grapes. She has been able to evolve and continue to grow within her career. She can be reached at