Ed Roche's first crop of students received their certification
Ex-Marine is Making a Difference Within The Community
Ed Roche is taking gang members off the street and giving them a new start on life.
By Brian W Carter
Sentinel Staff Writer
There aren't many people who are willing to work with gangsters...there aren't many people willing to hire from off the street! Max Velez, a film producer, brought my attention to one man who is recruiting from off the streets and into success.
Ed Roche, a former Marine, decided he was going to help the young men he saw within his neighborhood. Roche got his contracting license after the advisement of a local, fast food restaurant owner. He works for AC Quality, a corporation that trains contractors to repair heating and cooling systems. Roche also owns his own business, Natric an air-conditioning and heating company.
Living in gang territory within the Inglewood district, Roche took an interest. He posted wants ads in the neighborhood stating "Gang Members Wanted for Opportunity." He began to recruit gang members off the street and offering to teach them a trade. "I said, 'Hey... you guys want to learn something,'" said Roche, "I started teaching a class in my backyard," he continued. He started his class with almost 30 Black and Mexican men. Roche ended up hiring four Black trainees and one Mexican trainee. "That was 10 years ago...today those four Black guys and that Mexican guy still work for me."
Roche has committed himself to teaching men sought after skills. These men, who would otherwise remain jobless because of their criminal backgrounds, are attaining good jobs because of Roche. "I have about 30 students right now and out of those 30...21 one of them now have Federal EPA licenses," said Roche "They're allowed to work on any refrigeration system in the world."
The first 4 weeks Roche teaches the trainees to get their EPA certification and license. The 5th week is welding, schematics, principle and theory. The following weeks, up to 10 weeks, he teaches on hands training with an actual unit. Roche teaches them how to troubleshoot and solve technical problems. "Out of my 21 students...20 of them...have the highest classification you can get which is universal," said Roche. Graduates go on to work for other companies or Roche's company Natric. Graduates have gone to work for Roche and major companies such as Costco, El Pollo Loco, Target and many more.
What makes Ed Roche even more admirable is that the funds for books and supplies are coming out of his own pocket. Roche makes the sacrifice with a happy heart but if you would like to help or contact Ed Roche, you can contact him at