The County of Los Angeles has launched the Youth@Work Program to prepare the County’s at-risk youth ages 14-24 for 21st century careers in our regional economy.

“Together with the City of Los Angeles, I am pleased to announce a commitment of 20,000 jobs for at-risk youth” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis. “Amidst persistently high youth unemployment rates and increasing youth homelessness, it is essential that we do everything possible, in collaboration with the private sector and other partners, to provide career pathways to youth facing barriers to employment throughout the County.”

Effective July 1, Youth@Work builds on the Earn and Learn model established by the current Los Angeles County Youth Jobs Program (LACYJ) by pairing paid work experience for youth with a comprehensive and strategic set of employment, training, and other support services provided through a network of America’s Job Centers of California (AJCCs).

Youth@Work services are targeted to priority populations with the highest need, including foster youth, probation youth, homeless youth, and CalWORKS youth. Activities are implemented through a regional partnership that includes the County and City of Los Angeles, Workforce Development Boards, businesses, educational entities, community organizations, and other partners.

“Connecting young people to employment helps lift them up today, and unlocks a wave of potential and opportunities that will drive the job market of tomorrow,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Partnerships matter when it comes to helping vulnerable young people go after their dreams — and that’s why I’m grateful to be working closely with the Board of Supervisors, business leaders, and community organizations to help put Angelenos on a pathway to careers.”

A Youth@Work Career and Resource Fair coordinated by County of Los Angeles Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) will take place on Saturday, June 10, at Los Angeles Southwest College. This event will be the first of several held to connect youth to the new program.

“My Department is honored to lead the Youth@Work Program,” said Cynthia D. Banks, Director of WDACS. “We stand ready to execute the Board of Supervisors’ vision of ensuring employment and career opportunities for our youth.”

While the launch of Youth@Work represents a significant milestone, additional steps are needed to fully leverage the County’s own public sector workforce needs to advance countywide youth employment goals. Accordingly, Supervisor Solis announced her introduction yesterday of a Board motion that would boost what County departments are doing themselves to employ and train at-risk youth. The Youth Bridges Program would align existing Departmental pilot programs and streamline them under a single umbrella to set and achieve County goals comparable to what the private sector is doing through the Youth@Work program itself. The motion, if passed, would require County Departments to use the Youth@Work system as their primary source as they implement career pathways for at-risk youth.

For more information, visit http://lacoworkforce.css.lacounty.gov/youth-services/.

  • Submitted by Kerjon Lee