1000 Strong: Curtis Scott

02/22/2020

Curtis Scott is an Administrative Clerk for the City of Los Angeles Sanitation Department. But not long ago, he was homeless.

Curtis gave up everything to take care of his ailing mother in her time of need. She had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and told she needed to be placed into a care facility, as she would no longer be able to live in her home on her own. He decided to become her caretaker, requiring him to stop working but allowed him to spend quality time with her in her final years.

“I told her “Mom, as long as you can remember my name, I’m not going to let anybody take you out of your home. I’m going to be here for you and I got you.”

Curtis Scott to his mother

For six years, he cared for her until she passed away. Soon after, he was then told he needed to vacate his mother’s home, as he was not on the official lease paperwork. Without a job and source of income, Curtis became homeless.

Throughout this time, Curtis never lost faith. He continued to attend services at his church, where one day someone came to educate the congregation about the City of Los Angeles’ Targeted Local Hire program. It was then that Curtis learned the city has a program to help under-served and under-employed populations find an alternative pathway to Civil Service careers with the City of Los Angeles.

He applied for the program at a work source center. He was accepted and completed the program. Just two weeks later, he was contacted by Los Angeles Sanitation about a job opening and was hired on October 29, 2018, by the City of Los Angeles. He is now a full-time Civil Service employee represented by AFSCME Local 3090 and no longer homeless.

Curtis Scott is just one example of success through the Targeted Local Hire program and the importance of access to Public Sector jobs to those who may face barriers to employment.

As there is a growing homelessness crisis in Los Angeles, of which Black people are disproportionately affected, public sector union jobs are an answer to this crisis. Public sector employment has been part of civil and labor organizing for generations. The public sector reflects the only sector of Los Angeles’ economy in which Black workers are equitably represented in quality work. 

A report by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, L.A. Black Worker Center, and Advancement Project found that there is a correlation between Public Sector jobs and increased middle-class families in Black communities.

Click here to read the report, ‘An Ongoing Demand for Los Angeles: A Bright Future Requires Organizing More Black Public Sector Union Workers’