Breaking the Cycle

By January 27, 2020WDACS News

Tents, makeshift shelters, and vehicles lined in between streets and under large overpasses are an all too common sight in Los Angeles County. On any given night, approximately 59,000 men, women, and children are experiencing some form of homelessness according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).

In response to this crisis, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a set of strategies to combat homelessness. The connection between lack of employment and homelessness is evident, prompting a need to increasing employment opportunities for homeless adults that provides a chance for self-sufficiency.

In light of these recommendations, the Los Angeles County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) newly launched HireUP, a high-road training program that places job-ready adults who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness into a career pathway in high growth sectors such as construction, hospitality and civil service with the goal of helping them gain union employment and receive unsubsidized wages.

The HireUP program is the first of its kind in the nation. It is an initiative aimed at solely creating high-road pathways to union jobs. While there isn’t a formal definition of “high-road” yet, it is commonly accepted as employment that pays family sustaining wages, opportunities for career advancement, and worker protections such as benefits.

Rapidly re-housed individuals, LA Rise graduates, and other homeless individuals working their way through the coordinated entry system are sourced from referral agencies and screened by partnering training providers to determine enrollment into the intensive employment program. To assist participants with any potential barriers or obstacles that may prevent them from being successful in the program, HireUP provides robust intensive support services such as case management, weekly stipends up to $300 and flex cash assistance up to $1000.

The Measure H funded program aims to train 218 participants during the next year and place them in a high road union job within 2 months of the program completion. Through HireUP, the County will facilitate a more effective coordination of employer-driven work-readiness to best ensure that individuals preparing for employment gain the skills and experience that employers require. To learn more about this program, visit here