L.A. stories of inspiration and success

L.A. stories of inspiration and success

Jaquan (top row, second from left) pictured with 24 members of the 2020 Bobcat Fire restoration crew in the central San Gabriel Mountains, part of the Angeles National Forest
Jaquan began his temporary employment experience as a Bobcat fire restoration crew member in May 2022, after struggling to find and maintain employment since the start of COVID-19. Considered one of the largest wildfires in LA County to date, the 2020 Bobcat Fire burned 115,796 acres in the central San Gabriel Mountains, in and around the Angeles National Forest.

Jaquan originally moved to California from Arkansas in search of better economic prospects. Unfortunately, he has struggled financially, especially without the social support of his family. Jacquan’s punctuality, respectfulness, and hard-working nature set him apart from other crew members. Recently, his supervisor and Managed Career Solutions (MSC) Program Administrators noted him as being fully capable of serving as a future supervisor when the next wildfire crew launches in Monrovia Canyon Park in fall 2022.

Jacquan said his work ethic and interest in wildfire clean-up come directly from his experience working on his family farm. His ultimate goal is to save enough money to return to Arkansas and take over his family business. This work experience will help him assist his aging family members who are unable to care for and maintain the farm, thereby allowing him to keep it running for another generation.

Funding for Jaquan's role was provided by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) National Dislocated Workers Grant (NDWG). The grant offers paid work experience for workers to assist with recovery efforts to residents and businesses that were severely impacted by the state’s megafires. The NDWG also funded temporary employment opportunities for individuals who lost their jobs during COVID-19. EWDD workforce partner Managed Career Solutions helped administer the NDWG, which has provided temporary employment to hundreds of Angelenos. This project is 100% federally-funded in the amount of $1.8 million.

NDWG restoration fire crew members get safety and operational training on the use of chainsaws

Fire Crew Receives Chainsaw Training

NDWG restoration fire crew members with demonstrated aptitude and interest recently received industry-recognized chainsaw certification. The training emphasized the importance of safety through the use of proper gear (i.e. safety face shields and chaps) and the maintenance and handling of bar chainsaws. After completing the required classroom training, the crew went outside for hands-on training felling and making cuts to large trees and limbs

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of August 1, 2022. Read this issue and more.

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