L.A. stories of inspiration and success

L.A. stories of inspiration and success


LA:RISE participant Zachary during his commercial kitchen internship at the Los Angeles LGBT Center's Liberation Cafe
Social Enterprise Solutions to Help At-Risk Individuals Join the Workforce

Zachary moved to Los Angeles from out-of-state seeking new opportunities; however, he experienced homelessness while trying to adapt to his new surroundings, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic did not help his goals and plans.

Fortunately, he sought support services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, where he immediately connected with the employment department. With the help of Youth Employment Coordinator David Solano, Zachary was enrolled in the LA:RISE Program. Through LA:RISE, Zachary was enrolled in a 300-hour culinary arts program to receive culinary training.

While in the program, Zachary learned commercial kitchen skills and received workforce readiness trainings, which helped boost his confidence and skills in the workplace. He also completed the last portion of his internship at the LA LGBT Center's Liberation Cafe.

"Being a part of the culinary arts program with LA:RISE, it was great. I learned a lot from the experience. Working in the kitchen was pretty cool,” Zachary said. “Joining the program definitely had a positive impact on me. My advice for anyone experiencing similar situations and wanting to seek change is to be open-minded, take it seriously, do the work but don't be hard on yourself either. Overall, trust yourself and the process."

Upon completion of the program, Zachary enrolled in school to complete his GED and found housing through a transitional living program, He also was recently hired for a job in the retail sector, an area where he welcomes taking on new challenges and opportunities to develop his professional skills.

EWDD is a leadership team partner of the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE), an innovative, collaborative partnership that unites the City and County of Los Angeles’ Workforce Development System with non-profit social enterprises and for-profit employers to help people with high barriers to employment get good jobs and stay employed.

The City’s WorkSource Centers and LA:RISE prioritize individuals recently released from prison, the unsheltered or those at risk of homelessness, and youth ages 18-24 who are neither in school nor employed. After working a transitional job at a social enterprise, leveraging WorkSource Center training and services, LA:RISE participants are placed in permanent jobs within the private or the public sector.


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This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of December 12, 2022. Read this issue and more.


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