LA County Board of Supervisors

Getting LA’s Vulnerable Populations Into County Careers

Taylor Walker
Written by Taylor Walker

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to create Countywide Career Pathways Plan, a strategy for bringing people who face the largest barriers to obtaining stable employment into LA County’s workforce. The plan will focus on recruiting, hiring, and training “clients of the county”—people who are involved in the criminal justice system, receiving homeless services or other county safety net services, transitioning out of foster care and/or the juvenile justice system, or are single mothers participating in the CalWORKs public assistance program or GAIN, the employment program for CalWORKs recipients.

“While County programs provide critical services and basic financial support, they are not, by themselves, sufficient to lift individuals and families out of poverty and homelessness,” Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Hilda Solis’s motion states. “It would be far better for County services and programs to include and be coupled with a strategy to ensure that our most vulnerable residents have meaningful opportunities for quality employment.”

Just under 75 percent of formerly incarcerated people are still unemployed one year after their release, according to a 2017 ACLU report on the benefits of hiring people exiting lockup. One in three American adults has a criminal record. And while employment has been proven to greatly reduce recidivism, and hiring people with criminal histories improves businesses’ retention rates, stigma often shuts the door to employment before formerly incarcerated job seekers have a chance to prove their worth.

“By expanding the hiring pool to include people with criminal histories, companies can improve their bottom line, reduce recidivism and incarceration costs, avoid discriminatory practices, and increase public safety,” the report says.

Employment is “the great equalizer,” Supervisor Janice Hahn said in support of Tuesday’s motion. “Father Greg Boyle loves to famously say that nothing stops a bullet better than a job.”

Young adults who have transitioned out of foster care similarly face alarming rates of homelessness and unemployment.

“LA County is the largest employer in the region — providing good quality, family-supporting wage jobs that offer a ladder to the middle class,” Supervisor Kuehl said. “This Board has worked to increase economic opportunity and advance employment equity for all residents of Los Angeles County. By implementing the Countywide Career Pathways Program, we’ll provide even more realistic opportunities for life-changing careers — empowering and uplifting some of our most vulnerable residents.”

The motion directs LA County CEO Sachi Hamai to partner with the Department of Human Resources and other relevant county departments to determine the best ways to develop goals to recruit, hire, and train members of the targeted groups. The CEO and DHR are also tasked with identifying the county’s entry-level positions that can build into careers.

Then, the CEO will come back to the board within 120 days with a report on these tasks, in addition to a list of recommendations for how the county can implement the Career Pathways Plan in a way that will “deliver quantifiable gains in the hiring of individuals with barriers to employment.”

The county has already made some progress toward lifting vulnerable populations out of poverty and into county jobs over the past few years.

Just last week, the supes approved a new policy that will require contractors and subcontractors that work with the county to certify that they comply with fair chance hiring standards, in an effort to remove barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated individuals.

Tuesday’s motion turns these smaller steps into a larger coordinated effort.

“This is what it means to think outside of the box and do things that bring value,” Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “I’m really, really stoked by this motion, and am glad to support it.”


  • your photograph shows Los Angeles City Hall.

    It is a unique and unmistakeable edifice located in the core civic center of DTLA;
    however, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors conduct meetings in a different facility which is part of the building complex maintained by Los Angeles County for their own departments and administrative offices.

    If this error in choosing a photo is an any indication of what L.A. County’s new hiring approach may deliver, then let’s play it safe and just continue to fill positions using objective testing to select the most qualified from a list of those who apply of their own initiative.

  • So which is it Taylor?? The County or the City. Do you even realize how clueless you are. God, you are so in above your head.

  • So let me understand this. People who victimize others, steal, assault, rob, rape, etc., should get rewarded for their bad behavior. The words, formerly incarcerated job seekers, kills me. There are plenty of good people who would love an opportunity to work for the county. I say we start another program. Each of the BOS members take one recently released, formerly incarcerated job seekers, home to be their housekeeper or gardener for a month. Let them live with them, cook, clean, and shop. Hell, let them drive you around town. I hate that everybody is a victim, except for the TRUE VICTIMS OF CRIME. Please stop rewarding bad behavior, we created these laws in order to set acceptable boundary levels.

  • I thought this was made up BS when someone told me about this. Then I read this article on this blog. Unbelievable. This state and now county BOS has truely lost its mind. County workers are already known to be some of the laziest workers around. Dumb as well. Now this!

  • Sure Fire, What do you mean? There are plenty of criminals with City and County jobs, some in the LAPD and some with the LASD. You guys whine and cry so much, yet you have a cushy city or county job. You were able to get it. BTW, Is there not a requirement that if you are a police officer you have to be able to run 100 feet without stopping and panting? It so cushy you guys let yourselves go.

    Ownership, you are correct, the picture is soooo misleading. Nothing get’s by you. I’m sure you are a detective. You calling anyone clueless, is the pot calling the kettle black. Let us be frank, your writing may be above average in the Fox & Friends blog, but, as is the case with your crime reports, it leaves much to be desired.

    Paco, I agree with you, the county hires too many criminals already. There are quite a few in the Sheriff’s department. If only we could get the list from the DA or LASD to show how many they consider “untrustworthy” due to misconduct and flat out lying (perjury is a crime-thats lying under oath, in case you were wondering). If you can’t trust a portly man with a badge, who can you trust.

    Even more, you did not understand. You are not rewarding people who victimize others. That is why they were incarcerated. Not quite a reward. And, “let them live with them?” Please, who asking anyone to take anyone home. I thought once released they paid their price to society? And, there is a program for “good people” to apply for the county. That is the hiring process that you and anyone else can apply through. The problem that folks who have been incarcerated have is that the mere fact that they have been incarcerated is enough for many not to even allow them to apply for a job. Im not sure you get how this works. Maybe your moniker should be Even Less.

  • Silly little cf, hey cf ,see if Celeste will let you post a picture of yourself on your last “slut walk”. Just cause, you know ,we’d all like to see you marching for gender equality and all.

  • It’s a step in the right direction for those who truly want a second chance with the ability to prove it by working.

  • CF has it all figured out. You should run for office, maybe the BOS and fix all these issues.

  • Maj. Kong, sounds like you are a homophobe. I do support gay rights, gender equality and a woman’s right to chose. Contrary to your backwards redneck thinking (I know ma and pa taught you right), one does not have to be gay to support gay rights or a woman to support gender equality or like abortions to be pro choice. The way you talk, I suspect you may be a self-hating homosexual in denial, perhaps married. I suspect you get angry at yourself when to take pleasure in watching over the black inmates shower. And, perhaps that is why you search black kids for “weapons.” Accept it, Major Kong. We will accept you as is. And, perhaps Celeste will like you more.

    Sure fire, I guess that makes you a dick. You know what they say, you are what you eat. And, who is this Reggie you hold in such contempt? Did he touch in a nasty place? Or, make you do something you didn’t want to? Please share.

    Maybe we should move on. This exchange is not very productive. Thank you.

  • Whoa cf, I thought it has been made clear that accusing people of being gay is a homophobic act within itself. Better check your privilege (probably a white girl) All those years in gender studies, and you’re spouting homophobic slurs like that, tisk tisk. P.S.we all know your a girl, so stop trying to act so hard ,sweetie.

  • CF: Every one of us has stooped to the name calling and insults. But more often than not, we all give a serious commentary on what we feel would be productive solutions. Granted, the are only our opinions, but they’re based on our life’s experiences.

    We all do this except you. Look in the mirror, and just for 1 second, realize you are truly worthless to any productive conversation and to this society. Truly, unequivocally worthless.

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