On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to expand access to workforce development services, in the hope of reaching the county’s job seekers who face the biggest barriers to employment.
Speaking to the board, Cynthia Banks, Director of the county’s Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS), presented the plan and gave examples of the groups who stand to benefit from the additional support, including people who speak little English, young people ages 16 to 24 who are neither in school nor working, the more than 500,000 people in LA County who qualify for Proposition 47 relief, and people exiting the county’s criminal justice system.
“We want to get them jobs in industries that provide real career paths,” Banks said.
The motion, authored by Supervisors Hilda Solis and Sheila Kuehl, directs the Probation Department, Dept. of Public Social Services, Military and Veteran Affairs and other interested county departments to set up a Memorandum of Understanding to share client data with WDACS when appropriate.
“Now is the time to come together to speak with one voice about what it takes to achieve career pathways for those we serve,” said Supervisor Solis. “Through sustained leadership and coordination among our County Departments, we will be able to provide training, opportunity, and job growth for those seeking a career.”
Newly sworn in Chief Probation Officer Terri McDonald praised the motion, and pointed to the need for (and current lack of) “living wage employment” for the men and women exiting county jails. “This is exactly the direction that I believe the county needs to move forward in to reduce our reliance on incarceration beds and actually improve outcomes for the people that we serve,” McDonald said.
Photo is of a California job fair for veterans – by Randy Gon, US Army.