Partner Spotlight: UNITE-LA Overcoming Obstacles

Pathways to STEAM Careers is a partnership with the Department of Economic Opportunity, Los Angeles County (DEO). The program, made possible by funding from CA AB 628–the Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative–helps increase employment outcomes for opportunity youth, systems-involved individuals and economically disadvantaged young people by connecting them to STEAM career education, training and paid work experience in high-growth, high-mobility occupations in health care, tech and cleantech.

Led by Kelly LoBianco, the first director of the L.A. County Department of Economic Opportunity, DEO works to unlock L.A. County’s economic potential and build thriving, inclusive local communities. UNITE-LA’s Overcoming Obstacles project complements the work of DEO’s L.A. County Workforce Development Board (WDB) and America’s Job Centers of California (AJCCs) by enrolling eligible applicants served by AB 628 funded programs in formal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 and California Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (AB 1270) workforce development and job placement programs. UNITE-LA has worked closely with the L.A. County Workforce Development Board for many years as a regional thought leader identifying programmatic, policy and systems change level solutions leading to workforce development reforms.

Through its partnership with UNITE-LA and the Opportunity Youth Collaborative Foster Youth at Work campaign, DEO has enhanced the Youth@Work program, which provides paid work experience to 10,000 youth each year, including: expanded Youth@Work slots for foster youth from $2,650 to $3873 slots for FY 2022-23, and expanded youth hours from 120 to 160 hours. In 2018, UNITE-LA, in partnership with DEO and the L.A. County Workforce Development Board, developed the C.O.R.E. Internship pilot program in support of a countywide Fair Chance Hiring campaign that connected systems-involved youth to job training and competitive employment.

WDB’s vision for L.A. County’s diverse four million residents is to ensure every business has access to skilled workers and other resources needed to succeed in a global economy, and every resident has equitable access to upward mobility and prosperity through targeted workforce programs including Elevate, INVEST, Youth@Work and The Countywide Youth Bridges Program (CYBP). WDB oversees 19 America’s Job Centers of California (AJCCs). As the second largest Local Workforce Development Area in the state, they provide services to 58 of the 88 cities and more than 150 unincorporated areas.

Additionally, DEO is excited to announce their release of the Los Angeles County AJCC Modernization Request for Proposals (AJCC Modernization RFP). This RFP seeks nonprofit organizations, for-profit organizations, public agencies, social enterprises, public or private higher education institutions and/or similar organizations to administer services as an AJCC through the implementation of key modernization strategies and north star principles. Proposals are due June 22; for more information about the RFP, click here.

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