LOS ANGELES, CA – Last week, Los Angeles Southwest College (LASC) hosted its fifth Careers for a Cause (C4C) graduation. Expanded by Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell and the LA County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS), C4C is an eight-week “earn and learn” program where all participants have lived homelessness experience, justice system involvement, or other experiences of marginalization. Participants are provided with paid training experience that will help them compete for jobs that provide homelessness and other social services.

On Friday, June 3, 27 C4C participants graduated from their training program at LASC. Since C4C was launched in October 2019, the program has celebrated 144 graduates. 36% of previous graduates have already secured employment, with the remaining participants to access ongoing employment services to help them secure a job.  

“With over 48,000 Angelinos living without shelter on any given night, it is critical that everyone is part of the solution to this crisis,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor Chair, Holly J. Mitchell, representing the Second Supervisorial District. “We started the Careers for a Cause program in South Los Angeles as a way for those with lived experience to find meaningful careers in our County’s homeless services agencies. I am proud to support the Countywide expansion of this groundbreaking program so that we can train and employ our next generation of social services workers throughout Los Angeles County.”

“Meaningfully addressing our housing affordability and homelessness crises for our most vulnerable neighbors requires a skilled and empathetic workforce. C4C does just that,” said Kelly LoBianco, Executive Director of Economic and Workforce Development for LA County. “We are proud of this innovative model that values lived experience and builds a talent pipeline for the homelessness and social services sector. I’m grateful for the support and vision of the Board of Supervisors, and we are excited to announce our expansion and scaling of this program throughout LA County.

“I’m so grateful for the C4C program, which has taught me how to turn my personal experience into something that can help people in similar positions,” said Mitchell A. Mitchell A. has lived homelessness experience and is interviewing to become a Case Manager, hoping to engage in outreach and case management for people experiencing homelessness. “I can’t wait to help those who are living on the streets find the support and care that I have found through this program.”

C4C began as a pilot by the Second Supervisorial District. Along with WDACS and its network of America’s Job Centers of California, the LA County Department of Mental Health, Department of Human Relations, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, LASC, and St. Joseph Center collaborated to design, plan, and implement the unique C4C program. The success of the pilot resulted in a recommendation by the County’s Care First/Community Investment (CFCI) Committee to expand Countywide.

With the unanimous support of the Board of Supervisors in July 2021, $2.6 million of American Recovery Plan (ARP) Act funding was allocated to C4C to serve 220 new participants through June 2023. As a result of the ARP funding, C4C is expanding throughout all five Supervisorial Districts in LA County. To date, C4C has already launched at East Los Angeles College, Compton College, and LA Pierce College, as well as community-based organizations for outreach and supportive services including the St. Joseph’s Center, Amity Foundation, and Fathers and Mothers Who Care. Both Compton College and East Los Angeles College will host their first C4C graduations on June 9.

“Los Angeles Southwest College is truly honored to be a part of the Careers For A Cause program because of the life-changing opportunities that it provides all students who complete the program and who have had their entry way cleared to be hired for jobs in the homeless services sector,” said Dr. Seher Awan, Ed. D, President of Los Angeles Southwest College. “We have clearly seen that this program has played a critical role in increasing the workforce for these jobs and has also directly addressed the homelessness issue that our local community is facing.” 

For more information regarding the C4C Program, please click here.

CONTACT:  Michael Kapp, Director of Public Affairs 

LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the Los Angeles County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) and its Economic and Workforce Development Branch announced the re-opening of its 19 LA County America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC) system, the region’s one-stop resource for all employment, training, and business needs. Since March 2020, AJCC services had been offered virtually or by appointment-only. As of today, all AJCCs are now accepting walk-in visitors. Additionally, they continue to offer services virtually or by appointment.

“By enhancing virtual access and providing critical services and resources online, the AJCCs helped keep communities afloat during the pandemic,” said Otto Solórzano, Acting Director of WDACS. “As we re-open the AJCCs to walk-in visitors, today marks an important milestone on our road to an equitable recovery. These multiple entry points represent our commitment to serve everyone in our County.”

“With the leadership of the Board of Supervisors, we are developing and supporting a skilled and diverse workforce ready for competitive careers in high-demand industries,” said Kelly LoBianco, WDACS Executive Director for Economic and Workforce Development. “The re-opening of our AJCCs to walk-in service allows us to shift to a truly hybrid model, providing jobseekers and businesses with a wide range of options to access our services – one step closer to ensuring that our economic recovery is both equitable and inclusive.”

Find your closest AJCC by clicking here. All AJCC services are accessible through this website, by phone at (888) 226-6300, and via email at AJCCJobs@wdacs.lacounty.gov (for job seekers) or BizDev@wdacs.lacounty.gov (for businesses).

AJCCs offer a wide variety of services, including job search assistance, career counseling, and referrals to community resources such as housing. The AJCCs can also pay for job training for workers looking to advance their careers or shift to a new one, including opportunities for both in-class and on-the-job training with paid wages. In addition, residents who need help with rent, utilities, transportation, or work-related expenses if eligible, can receive financial help while searching for a new job or enrolled in job training. All AJCC services are available for LA County residents ages 14 and older, including special programs and initiatives for laid off workers, for probation, CalWORKs and current/former foster youth, for justice-involved individuals, for individuals experiencing homelessness, aging individuals, individuals with disabilities, and more. Businesses can also find skilled workers, information on the labor market, and access free PPE so employees can work safely.

The AJCC system has supported County residents and businesses through the pandemic. Since March 2020, nearly 29,000 people have been placed into paid jobs, and roughly 1,500 businesses were connected to the Employer Assistance Grant Fund, a first-of-its-kind business assistance grant. Additionally, $1.5 million in financial assistance was provided to over 1,000 people, reaching underserved populations including people experiencing homelessness and displaced workers. The AJCCs were instrumental in supporting the fight against COVID-19, placing over 1,200 individuals in paid work initiatives related to contact tracing, meal distribution, temporary housing, and PPE manufacturing.

During the pandemic, WDACS expanded the AJCC’s online presence, which now will serve as a complement to the reopened physical locations. In September 2021, the new AJCC website was launched, providing LA County residents with a central online location to access all AJCC services and resources. Located at ajcc.lacounty.gov, the website enables job seekers and businesses to access AJCC services with an easy-to-navigate design and quick linkages to important information. Other features include a mobile-friendly interface, a digital AJCC locator map, a service request portal, and a Virtual AJCC Resource Room.

Contact: Michael Kapp, Director of Public Affairs mkapp@wdacs.lacounty.gov

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