Los Angeles Daily News, October 27, 2013. After more than 20 years of traveling around the country helping set up offices for customers, Ed Vega found himself out of work.
And as he tried to find another job, it didn’t take the 59-year-old Santa Clarita man long to realize the modern workplace had passed him by. Even the very definition of his job had changed.
“Things get outdated and the work I was doing, I didn’t realize it, was (now called) project management,” Vega said.
He learned about that and other changes in business through a placement by the Chatsworth-Northridge WorkSource Center operated by the city through federal grants.
“They sent me to this course at AAA University and it has been tremendous,” Vega said. “The people there are all top-notch and the other students were like me. They had been working and were laid off. There are engineers and people with masters’ degrees who are being retrained.”
The workforce training centers are one of the prime elements of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s plans to boost employment and the economy with the city’s new Economic Workforce Development Department.
The agency is taking over much of the work of the now closed Community Redevelopment Agency and the Community Development Department.
Garcetti wants to see WorkSource Center re-examined to make sure it is offering training for the jobs out in the workforce today.
As he has with other agencies, Garcetti said he wants to see a Web-based system developed to show training that is available.
“Realigning our city’s WorkSource program is a big part of my ‘back to basics’ agenda to turn our economy around,” Garcetti said. “This will help us align job training programs with jobs and create direct pipelines that connect Angelenos with training.”
The agency is now headed by former Councilwoman Jan Perry, who made workforce development a priority in her years on the council and who is overseeing a new effort to remake how the 18 workforce centers in the city operate.
Perry said there are new requests for proposals out for new operators to revamp the existing centers.
“This is the first time in 13 years that we are looking at our workforce centers,” Perry said. “We want to make sure that people are being offered training for the well-paying jobs that are out there. We are looking at health care, technology, entertainment, fashion, construction and the hospitality industry from cooks to waiters.
“This is the biggest transition we have ever had. We are looking to finally have training that is in sync with the job opportunities out there so people can make higher wages.”
Even without change, the program has had successes — graduating some 150,000 people a year.
To fund the new RFPs, the department is receiving federal grants of $18 million a year for the next five years.
Information on the RFPs is available at the department’s website: ewdd.lacity.org. The proposals are due on Dec. 19.
San Fernando Valley-area workforce centers are at ResCare Workforce Services, 21010 Vanowen Street, Canoga Park; Build Rehabilitation Industries, 9207 Eton Ave., Chatsworth; Goodwill Industries of Southern California, 342 San Fernando Road., Los Angeles; El Proyecto Del Barrio Inc., 9024 Laurel Canyon Blvd., Sun Valley, and ResCare Workforce Services, 15400 Sherman Way, No. 140, Van Nuys.