Valley Glen - - Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian (District ) was on hand to honor 32 LA Fellows at their recent graduation ceremony at Los Angeles Valley College following an intense seven-week course.
Krekorian, who serves as vice-chair of the Jobs & Business Development Committee (and a strong supporter of the Fellows program), told the group, “The LA Fellows Program is an innovative solution to our City’s unemployment problem. I am a proud supporter of the program and of the motivated group of hard working individuals looking to make a difference in their lives and in our community."
Funded through a one-year grant by the City of Los Angeles Community Development Department and the City of Los Angeles Workforce Investment Board (WIB), the LA Fellows Program is helping unemployed men and women in the greater Los Angeles area find their next career opportunity through a unique combination of skills training and volunteerism.
By allowing transitioning professionals the opportunity to refine their employability skills for today’s economy, develop career advancement skills, acquire computer applications, and immediately put their upgraded skills to work by volunteering at a nonprofit organization, this unique program is helping participants achieve tangible results. Gail Soffer, an LA Fellows graduate from Cohort Four, was hired at a local nonprofit while she was just halfway through her seven weeks of training.
“It was a very bittersweet experience for me to take "early graduation" to accept the position of Development Director at The Soldiers Project,” Soffer said. “My first day at work was exactly one month after our classes began, and it was surprising to find how strong a bond I had formed with 31 people in those 30 days.”
LA Fellows Program Coordinator Allison Silver spoke about the commitment displayed by the class. “The men and women of Cohort Four didn’t just show up and didn’t just complete the training portion of the program. They have gone above and beyond every step of the way and have exceeded every possible hope and expectation that has been placed upon them. They have remained motivated and professional, have dedicated themselves to their job search, and supported one another both inside and outside of the classroom. In short, they have become a true team.”
Also honoring the graduates was college president Sue Carleo, who applauded both the graduates and the program, citing both the success of the current class and the three that preceded it. The school's president has been an ardent supporter of LA Fellows.
Graduates Cara Eichorn and Victor Beauchamp were selected by their fellow cohort members to give speeches at the ceremony. Both detailed how the experience of becoming an LA Fellow had altered them for the better and helped with their job search. “As each classroom module was learned, we each gained more confidence and the knowledge that we could do 'it', whatever the 'it' was,” said Eichorn.
Beauchamp echoed this sentiment as he addressed the crowd. “What I’m going to remember is the spirit of community that we had together, the reward that I felt from volunteering, and the sense of community that we all had when we helped each other," he said.
To honor the graduates, Krekorian and members of his staff handed out special certificates from the City of Los Angeles in recognition of the hard work and commitment to the community that Cohort Four so aptly displayed throughout their training.
The fourth cohort is the final class in the pilot year of the LA Fellows Program. For more information, visit the LA Fellows Program’s official website.
The Cohort Four Graduating Class