Giving the formerly incarcerated the tools they need—literally

08/10/2016

Los Angeles is home to the largest formerly incarcerated population in California, with tens of thousands of individuals released in the County each year. Formerly incarcerated individuals experience severe barriers to employment and finding good jobs for these Angelenos is absolutely critical.

Without opportunity, the chances of returning to jail or prison are significantly higher.

Which is why, working with labor and nonprofit allies, we launched the Los Angeles Reentry Workforce Collaborative to help train and place these workers in good union jobs.

Our program provides mentorship for 30 individuals at a time, with the goal of over half being placed into union apprenticeships. These aren’t odd jobs—they are careers. Union apprenticeships provide paid job training, good middle class wages and benefits, and clear pathways for career advancement. These apprenticeships are established based on agreements between labor and employers, and apprentices earn certifications, employment experience, and transferable skills. In other words, it’s a game changer for our candidates.

We’re well aware that there are thousands more who can benefit from such a program. Everything we learn, and everything our apprentices achieve, will go a long way toward replicating our success for other formerly incarcerated workers.

This is only possible because of great partnerships. The Los Angeles Reentry Workforce Collaborative is a joint undertaking between four core partners: the LA Fed, the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, Los Angeles Trade Technical College, and the Anti-Recidivism Coalition. Each partner plays a key role in the program. As a result, the Collaborative is uniquely positioned to help reduce recidivism by creating real and lasting career opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals.

For more information, contact Frank Alvarez at frank@thelafed.org.