LA Jobs Program Creates Opportunities for Employment, Stability After Incarceration – Next City

by | May 16, 2022 | Jobs

More than a quarter of formerly incarcerated adults are unemployed. One California program is working to change that.

In the early months of COVID-19, unemployment in the U.S. soared to over 14%, and some experts feared it would grow even closer to Great Depression highs of about 25%. While the latest figures from January show a return to pre-pandemic levels of 4%, for those recently incarcerated, those Great Depression statistics remain the norm. According to a report from the Prison Policy Initiative, formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of over 27%.

Playa Vista Jobs (PVJobs), a Los Angeles construction-focused jobs training program, has been helping those recently released from custody have a smooth reentry and find stable employment since long before the pandemic. They’ve been well-positioned — after shutdowns early in the pandemic, construction has been ongoing, with spending rising by 1.3% in January to an annual rate of $1.67 trillion.

PV Jobs’ signature initiative is the Hatch Program, a three-phased program aimed at preparing participants for a job in the construction industry or elsewhere. The program starts with a three-week incubator stage which runs Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

“That period helps re-center and open their minds to learning new things while healing past traumas,” explains Mary Taylor, the executive director of PVJobs.

The majority of trainees come to PVJobs after prison release, and many participants never graduated from high school. The program provides decompression time and job skills in a stable environment, including regular meals.

“It’s a family environment we create by serving meals — chocolate chip pancakes, breakfast burritos, BBQ and all sorts of filling meals,” Taylor says. “It creates a sense of trust. They put their careers in our hands and expect us to provide proper training and real outcomes for sustainable employment, and that’s what we …

Article Attribution | Read More at Article Source

Share This