Pilot program in Glendale will help train, place homeless candidates into workforce

A new pilot program in Glendale is designed to provide adults experiencing homelessness with training, mentorship and job placement to create a path toward long-term employment.

The Los Angeles County Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Service Department granted $100,000 in Measure H funds for Glendale’s Regional Immediate Intervention Service to Employment program, or RIISE.The program, developed by the Glendale Community Services and Parks Department’s Workforce Development Section, will rely on partners such as the homelessness agency Ascencia and Glendale’s Continuum of Care to identify candidates for the program who are considered foster youth, those with disabilities, victims of domestic violence or collecting government assistance, according to Judith Velasco, a workforce development administrator with the city of Glendale.

RIISE will then select 13 participants — deemed ready to transition into a work environment by the participating partners — for paid work experience at Glendale’s park facilities starting early next year.

Those selected will start with simple cleanup and gradually increase their workload into more technical assignments such as landscaping, Velasco said.

Velasco, who has had a career in workforce development for more than 15 years, said she is excited about the pilot program and confident it will be successful.

“For me, [RIISE] goes to the heart of what workforce does with individuals who need our services the most by providing them with meaningful services and helping them rebuild their lives through employment,” she said.

The participants will be provided with basic meals and supportive services, such as uniforms, work materials and transportation to their workplace.

Concurrent with the paid work, the Verdugo Jobs Center will train the participants in “soft” work skills that will ease them into work life, such as resume writing, interview skills and coaching.

“While they are in paid work experience, they are going to have an assigned Verdugo Jobs staff member to mentor and help coach them to find full-time employment as they are in the program,” Valasco said. “Our goal is to get at least 80% of these individuals placed in full-time employment.”

Services will continue after placement, including follow-up visits with participants for at least a year to make sure they are successful and meet their employment goals.


“At the end of the day, we want them to be successful, we want to help them with their first job, second and third, and make sure that they continue to grow into a career,” Velasco said.


Article Date: 
Tuesday, November 7, 2017