Brian (center, standing) and Christopher (left, seated) pictured with their Creek Wildfire restoration crew funded through the National Dislocated Worker Grant
The City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department received a National Dislocated Worker Grant (NDWG) in 2018 to employ crews of workers to help with the cleanup of areas affected by the December 2017 wildfires in Sunland-Tujunga, Sylmar and Sun Valley.

The grant provides temporary employment to workers and residents impacted by the wildfires, and also gives an opportunity for long-term unemployed individuals, including ex-offenders, to get back on their feet.

The Hollywood WorkSource Center, run by EWDD contractor MCS, assembled six active crews with four employer partners and is currently working at sites affected by the 2017 Creek Fire.

Below are the stories of two participants whose lives have been positively impacted by the grant.


Brian on the job as part of the Creek wildfire clean-up crew
Brian working on one of the Creek wildfire clean-up crews

BRIAN

Brian was unemployed more than a year when he followed through on a referral to work in the wildfires clean-up effort.

After completing OSHA 10 training and receiving supportive services toward a bus pass for public transportation in August 2018, Brian started work in Tujunga at the McGroarty Arts Center, a property of the City of LA Department of Cultural Affairs.

The job helped improve his planning and leadership skills and gave Brian a sense of accomplishment because his crew’s work directly helped areas and lives affected by fires, he said.

By October 2018, Brian realized he wanted a career in public service or government. Brian was soon hired by a new employer and is now working in restoration and landscaping.

CHRISTOPHER

Christopher (left) operating a chainsaw on his Creek wildfire clean-up crew
Christopher (left) operating a chainsaw
In summer 2018, Christopher was working at a low-wage job when after witnessing the heroic work of firefighters in Griffith Park, he felt inspired to change direction. Christopher received an email referral to join a wildfire clean-up crew and jumped on the opportunity.

Christopher enrolled at the Hollywood WorkSource Center, where he received WIOA supportive services and OSHA training to begin work at the McGroarty Arts Center in August 2018. He took an interest in the different power tools used on the job and shadowed his supervisors to gain enough experience and confidence to become one of the principle chainsaw operators in his crew.

After working with the clean-up crew, Christopher was hired as a
sawyer
by a new employer where he now works as a supervisor. The experience taught Christopher that he eventually wants to take more classes to become a wildland firefighter, he said.


Employment opportunities with the Creek wildfire crews are ongoing. For more information, please contact Noel Khoshabou at the Hollywood WorkSource Center at 213-355-5304 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of November 26, 2018. Read this issue and more.