Los Angeles gets a federal grant for jobs

Get LA Back to Work campaignJenny Cobb finished teaching her spring semester class with a pang of fear. She felt she had taught her class the best she could, but her performance had nothing to do with future.

“In the summer of the 2011, I was no longer employed due to lay-offs,” said Cobb

LAUSD had laid off another round of teachers that year and she along with hundreds of other teachers were left to spend their summer in search of work. Cobb could not find a job for nearly a year with no luck. She says she was at the end of her rope until she received help from the Workforce Development Program.

“Being lost and uncertain of the future, I felt like life was going nowhere,” said Cobb. “Today I feel like I’m going somewhere.”

The program helps unemployed residents by providing on-the-job training at companies that will eventually hire them. Program coordinators accept everyone who applies for help but rigorously prepares people for jobs.

“It helped me create a brand new Jenny Cobb. A Jenny who has morphed into a beautiful butterfly and wings are soaring higher than ever,” said Cobb.

Mayor Villaraigosa praised the program at news conference Tuesday for its successes in the two years since it started. There are 20 work source locations throughout L-A that will not only train but connect workers to companies

Mayor Villaraigosa announcing jobs program

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announcing new federal grant for job creation at Expo Center.

“The numbers don’t lie. We have been able in this period of time to create 76,191 summer jobs and 200,198 living wage jobs,” said Mayor Villaraigosa.

The mayor says the program’s success rate helped the city received a multi-million dollar federal grant which would create 2,000 more living wage jobs.

“Thanks to a generous $13.7 million grant, our work source centers will be training displaced Angelenos,” said Villaraigosa.

The program’s success in the city made it the perfect candidate to receive the grant, but at the expense of other California communities. Workforce Development Board member Charlie Woo said the city received the funds because other areas could not manage their programs.

“Many jurisdictions could not manage their funds,” said Woo. “Over $13 million  that is left over from other regions will be coming here because of what we have done. Because of our outstanding record.”

However, the city’s record unemployment rate still isn’t stellar at around 10% compared to the national average at 7.6%.

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