Valley Glen - - Representatives from the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) traveled from Washington D.C. to Valley College to observe the graduation of the fifth cohort of the LA Fellows Program. LA Fellows was recently selected at the national level as a UI Workforce Connectivity Promising Practice and was one of six organizations from across the country to earn this esteemed recognition.
The NASWA representatives not only met and congratulated the 30 LA Fellows graduates who had successfully completed the program, but also interacted with the many community leaders who both support the program and sit on the LA Fellows Advisory Board.
Representatives from Councilmember Paul Krekorian's Office (2nd District) presented the Fellows with gorgeous certificates and Robert Sainz (Assistant General Manager, City of Los Angeles Community Development Department) congratulated the graduates.
Each LA Fellows Advisory Board member addressed the graduates, offering words of encouragement about the next steps in their job search. The speakers included Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) dignitaries Dr. Sue Carleo (President), Raul Castillo (LAVC Foundation), and Dr. Deborah diCesare (Dean of Economic Development). Also speaking were Michael Dolphin and Lili Galoussian, Employment Development Department; Fran Inman, Majestic Realty; Gloria Moore, Community Career Development, Inc. (CCD); and Kenn Phillips, The Valley Economic Alliance.
Cohort 5 was funded through multiple sources including four WorkSource Centers: CCD, Wilshire Metro, Goodwill Metro North, and Rescare Workforce Services (Canoga Park and Van Nuys). Also contributing was the Green Pilot Project, funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration.
Over two thirds of the LA Fellows participated in the Green Pilot Project environmental studies class providing students with a better understanding of challenges facing their communities. The objective of the class was to enhance the knowledge of job seekers interested in gaining employment in the evolving green economy.
One graduate said the class helped give her the edge in landing a full-time paid position prior to completing the LA Fellows training. Alla Feldman, who begins work as the resident services coordinator at West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation on May 16th said, “I impressed my future supervisor at the first job interview by mentioning that I would like to use my newly acquired knowledge from the Environmental Studies class. We discussed how I could potentially translate some parts of the book we used in the class into Russian. I plan on doing so, as soon as I start working there!”
The LA Fellows selected two representatives to speak at graduation on behalf of their class about their experiences in the program. The first speaker, Arturo Olivas, talked about how the instructors had impacted them. “These instructors have given us new tools to add to our toolbox to keep up with the demands of the ever-changing job market. They have prepared us not just for our next job but also other opportunities that follow.”
The second speaker, André Campbell, talked about how much he appreciated the program. “I want to thank my instructors who re-motivated and instilled hope in me. They taught me to be proud of who I am, because I am in charge of my own destiny. I also want to thank my fellow Fellows for giving me back my smile.”
Now in its third year, LA Fellows was created in an effort to combine workforce development and volunteerism as a meaningful pathway to employment. It provides unemployed individuals with skills training and volunteer opportunities while they seek full-time employment. More information is available at their website, www.lafellows.org.
LA Fellows Cohort 5 are joined by their instructors, Advisory Board
and LA city representatives.