LA:RISE participant Robbie
Before enrolling in the LA:RISE Youth Academy, Robbie was homeless, unemployed, unhappy and confused.

“I felt depressed, overwhelmed and frustrated,” she said. “My family was worried about me. They wondered what I was going to do next. I was stressed out and losing weight.”

Her sister knew that Robbie, 23, needed to work and find a steady job, so she introduced her to LA:RISE. Robbie was referred to LA:RISE social enterprise partner Goodwill Industries of Southern California, where she learned valuable interpersonal skills to help her excel in a workplace environment.

“I've learned so much about communication. For one, my tone of voice can determine how a conversation will go,” she said. “I have developed skills to diffuse critical situations and observe situations before responding.”

Robbie said that the training she received from the LA:RISE Youth Academy prepared her for employment and made her more optimistic about her future. She now has her own apartment. She is currently completing her work experience training as a security guard in a newly built apartment complex.

“For me, a job is so much more than a paycheck. A job has helped me gain my confidence, see the world as a brighter place, and understand that life is what you make it.”

The Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE) is a collaborative partnership that unites the City’s Workforce Development System (WDS) with employment Social Enterprises to move individuals with employment barriers into the workforce. LA:RISE provides job training, paid work experience, and other services to individuals with significant barriers to obtaining employment.

In 2021, Mayor Eric Garcetti and the LA City Council allocated $2 million in funding to establish the LA:RISE Youth Academy, a new program focused on improving housing, education and workforce outcomes for the more than 3,000 identified homeless youth in Los Angeles. The program provides young adults with education, job placement and subsidized employment services, along with assistance in finding housing to move them to a future of self-sufficiency and economic mobility.

Learn more about the many programs and benefits offered to the young people of Los Angeles through EWDD Youth Services and their YouthSource Centers.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of April 11, 2021. Read this issue and more.