California Workforce Association WorkCon 2017
The City of Los Angeles EWDD made a strong showing at last week’s California Workforce Association (CWA) WorkCon 2017, delivering presentations about two of its nationally recognized programs: Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE) and the Los Angeles Reconnections Career Academy (LARCA).

An estimated 450 partners from the workforce development field attended WorkCon May 10 to 12 in Anaheim, CA, a convention that showcases best practices in workforce development strategies, innovation and collaboration among government, non-profit community based organizations, educational institutions and industry sector partnerships.

On Wednesday May 10, EWDD Senior Project Coordinator Donny Brooks along with REDF Initiatives Manager Ashley Cordero and Social Policy Research Associates (SPR) Senior Associate Christian Geckeler LA:RISE logopresented their findings and lessons learned from the implementation of LA:RISE, a five-year, $6 million program designed to serve the populations hardest to place in jobs, including the homeless, those with histories of past incarcerations and disconnected youth. Initially funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Workforce Innovation Fund, the program began with 1,000 participants. In 2016, the City of Los Angeles provided an additional $2 million to serve an additional 275 people.

Approximately 40 people attended the workshop, which presented lessons in building partnerships between private social enterprises, public workforce system agencies, non-profit service providers and employers.

On Thursday May 11, EWDD Program Manager Kendra Madrid, along with SPR Senior Associate Christian Geckeler delivered a standing-room only presentation to more than 50 people about the process of creating LARCA, a large-scale effort that transformed the City of LA’s youth centers into a one-stop shop for youth to gain access to education and work resources.

The LARCA program enables participants to speak on-site with Los Angeles Unified School District counselors about educational planning, sort out previous academic records and hear about work readiness certificate programs and pathways to healthcare careers. With nearly 1,100 youth receiving services since 2015, this innovative all-in-one approach has been very successful in producing big changes in the lives of youth that it serves.Los Angeles Reconnections Career Academy

Ms. Madrid’s presentation also covered findings from a random assignment impact study conducted on LARCA, which showed that within 2 years of enrollment: 64 percent re-enrolled in secondary education; 25 percent graduated with a diploma or earned a high school equivalency degree; 40 percent enrolled in an Los Angeles Community College District college with the likelihood of post-secondary education training much higher, and 73 percent were employed.

In addition, the outcomes for participants in secondary and postsecondary education were greater and more impressive than those observed in the study’s control group, leading to the conclusion that youth who participated in the program fared better than those who had not participated in the program.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES Newsletter from the week of 5/15/2017. Read this issue and more.