EWDD General Manager Jan Perry with Charles Bailey, an LA:RISE Success Story
More than 1,000 people have found work through the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE), a five-year program designed to serve the populations hardest to place in jobs, including the homeless, those with histories of past incarcerations and disconnected youth.

On Thursday, August 24, 2017, LA:RISE partners, supporters and participants celebrated the program’s early successes and the expansion of the program into the County of Los Angeles with an event at the historic Kim Sing Theatre in LA’s Chinatown. LA:RISE is administered by the City of Los Angeles EWDD, in partnership with REDF, a venture philanthropy that supports employment social enterprise and the County of Los Angeles Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) Department. REDF sponsored the event, which was attended by more than 50 people.

LA:RISE participant Charles Bailey shared his story at the event. Released from jail last year with few prospects, LA:RISE gave him the opportunity to become self-sufficient and a meaningful part of the community. Through the program, Charles was able to take job classes, learn about writing a resume and prepare for interviews. LA:RISE partner Chrysalis gave him a transition job on a highway maintenance crew. He has since moved on to a full-time job at a warehouse.

"I’m making my own money and feeling confident about myself,” he said. He also thanked LA:RISE partners Chrysalis and Goodwill SoCal for giving him the opportunity to move on beyond his past. "Thank you for believing in me and being part of LA:RISE."

EWDD General Manager Jan Perry emphasized how the partnership between social enterprises and the City’s workforce development strategy allows partners, “to strengthen the breadth and depth of what we do in addressing the needs of so many people who historically have been left out of the system.”

Launched in 2015, the innovative LA:RISE program integrates employment, social enterprise and specialized homeless service providers within the City’s Workforce System. Participants are placed in entry level jobs with potential for growth, such as food service, janitorial, street maintenance and office work. Participants also receive personal support services to stabilize their lives to help them maintain employment, such as financial literacy training and healthcare, along with career training services.
Representatives from more than 40 partners gathered last week to celebrate LA:RISE achievements and the expansion of the program to LA County
LA:RISE partner representatives celebrated program achievements and the LA County program expansion

Initially funded through a $6 million U.S. Department of Labor Workforce Innovation Fund Grant, thanks to its early successes the LA:RISE model is now a $15 million initiative funded locally by the City of Los Angeles General Fund and Los Angeles County Measure H.

Successes to date include nearly 800 individuals in transitional employment and more than 200 individuals in competitive employment. Ten additional social enterprises also recently joined LA:RISE, expanding the model’s reach to Venice, South Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES Newsletter from the week of 8/28/2017. Read this issue and more.