flanked by dignitaries from LA City, County and the LA Community College District, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (center) cuts the ribbon at the grand opening of the South LA YouthSource Center at Los Angeles Southwest College
EWDD partner Archdiocesan Youth Employment (AYE) recently celebrated the grand opening of the South Los Angeles YouthSource Center at Southwest College, launching the first YouthSource site to be co-located with an America’s Job Center of California (AJCC) at a community college.

“This is an antidote to poverty. This is an antidote to homelessness,” said Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez. “All residents of South LA have an opportunity. This is what cooperation looks like. This is what collaboration is, coming together for a common cause to lift our community.”

The grand opening of the center represents a partnership between EWDD, the Los Angeles County Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) and the LACCD as part of a larger effort to create a centralized location for youth and job seekers to find services and provide easier access to higher education.

“They’re now able to find everything they need to be successful for their educational goals,” said Rosa Penaloza, program director of the South LA YSC for AYE.

At 5,000 square-feet, the new center is double the size of the previous AYE YouthSource Center that was located near Exposition Park in South LA.

“We are now incorporating more resources and services to be able to impact the community,” Rosa said.

Held Friday June 22, 2018, the event also featured youth participants who benefited from the YSC services. Francisma Molina, 20, emigrated from Guatemala to LA last year and the South LA YSC provided her first work experience, a two-month internship at the center where she performed clerical and office work. The experience taught her that she enjoys working in an office setting and hopes to someday attain an administrative job within law enforcement.

“Thanks for the opportunities and helping me figure out what I want to do in life and my career,” she said.

Learn more about EWDD Youth Services and the YouthSource Centers

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of 7/2/2018. Read this issue and more.