Jason Piggue, COVID-19 National Dislocated Workers Grant (NDWG) recipient
After Jason Piggue was furloughed from his job during COVID-19, the Southeast Los Angeles WorkSource Center (WSC) connected him to temporary employment with Meals on Wheels, where he applied his culinary experience to feed hundreds of seniors during the pandemic.

Funding for Jason's job was provided by the COVID-19 National Dislocated Workers Grant (NDWG).

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) awarded the City of Los Angeles NDWG funding to provide transitional employment to Angelenos who lost their jobs during the pandemic. This project is 100 percent federally funded in the amount of $1.8M.

The Southeast LA WSC, managed by EWDD contractor Watts Labor Community Action Committee (WLCAC), was one of several WorkSource Centers contracted under the COVID-19 NDWG program to provide eligible dislocated workers with transitional jobs related to COVID-19 relief efforts, including sanitizing public spaces; supporting community-based organizations in the provision of social and emergency services to individuals impacted by COVID-19, and distribution of food and crisis support.

Through the grant, the Southeast LA WSC received funding to provide subsidized employment to 10 individuals. Ultimately, the center enrolled 27 individuals and placed 19 into temporary employment, exceeding their goal by 90 percent. Seven participants have established permanent employment in the private sector utilizing the training and skills gained during temporary work.

Jason was one of their stand-out participants, according to staff. Jason, now 42, is a long-term WLCAC client. He first enrolled in the Southeast LA Watts YouthSource Center program, also overseen by WLCAC, sixteen years ago. Since then, Jason completed culinary school and was thriving in the hospitality industry. He was on track to become a housekeeping staff supervisor at a premier luxury hotel in Long Beach.

When COVID-19 happened, Jason was furloughed. The hospitality industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic's devastating economic impacts.

Jason was one of the hundreds of people that rushed to EWDD's WorkSource Centers for EDD unemployment insurance assistance. Excited to learn about the opportunities afforded by the NDWG program, Jason was the first of WLCAC's participants to complete the 40-hour OSHA-10 training, an eligibility requirement to begin temporary employment.

He was placed in the WLCAC Meals on Wheels program, where he became a distinguished member of a team charged with providing services to more than 800 local seniors, which increased to 1,100 during the pandemic. As an essential service provider, Jason took the position very seriously, showing up on time and staying late if needed.

The 500 hours of temporary employment provided by the program allowed Jason to support himself during the pandemic. He has since returned to his previous hotel position and is also under consideration for a managerial position with the WLCAC Meals on Wheels program. Jason personally thanked Southeast LA WSC Director Elton Blake and the WLCAC staff for providing him with a job during the pandemic, an opportunity that helped him keep food on the table and pay his rent on time.

Learn about the various programs and benefits offered through EWDD Employment Services and WorkSource Centers.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of September 20, 2021. Read this issue and more.