2015 INDIVIDUAL SUCCESS STORIES
Meet Aka Brown - CARSON
Workforce Challenge: Aka Brown, resident of Carson and mother of two young children, was at a crossroad in her life, as she found herself unemployed and struggling with her career choices. Ms. Brown had worked in sales but wanted to make a career change to better support her family. She was uncertain about her future and how to get assistance to find new opportunities.
Workforce Solution: Ms. Brown visited the Carson One-Stop and was thrilled at all the services that were available. She was also impressed by the professionalism and job market knowledge exhibited by the staff. Ms. Brown took a certification course for Human Resources Management, which she successfully completed. She also completed her California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) and was attending University of Phoenix working towards a Master’s Degree in Education, which she completed.
Outcome and Benefits: As a result of her updated job searching skills, which she acquired at the Carson One-Stop, Ms. Brown began attending job fairs and was receiving emails regarding new employment opportunities. Having access to the Center’s free resources, as well as completing her new educational certifications, Ms. Brown was able to begin a new career in education through the Los Angeles Unified School District. She is now earning approximately $58,000, which is expected to increase due to her advanced degree.“If you’re looking for a job or a career change, take advantage of the career center. My career goal was unclear until I started to receive services from the Center.”
Meet Larry Finley - CARSON
Workforce Challenge: Throughout his professional career, US Army Veteran and Carson resident, Larry Finley had obtained safety experience and discovered that he had a passion for it. After his military service, Mr. Finley worked for the Drug Enforcement Agency for six years in Honduras and Nicaragua until an injury led to him being medically discharged. Visiting a friend overseas led him to pursue his education at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and obtain his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology. Mr. Finley worked for a protective services agency in Torrance for 20 years until the business suddenly shut down. He found himself unemployed and not really sure which direction to take. He worked some temporary and consultant jobs but there were no solid leads for permanent employment.
Workforce Solution: Mr. Finley became very concerned about how he would support his family of five. During a
job search he discovered the South Bay Workforce Investment Board and Inglewood One-Stop. With the help of the Inglewood One Stop staff, Larry was able to learn about the Advanced Safety Training Program offered by the Occupational Safety Councils of America (OSCA). His previous work experience could translate into a career in occupational safety.
Outcome and Benefits: Mr. Finley was able to attend the Advanced Safety Attendant Program offered by OSCA at Chabot-Las Positas Community College District. He also obtained additional Occupational Safety and Health Administration certifications. With all the additional training, Mr. Finley secured a full-time, permanent position as an Environmental Health & Safety Supervisor with a local transportation company this past July, with an annual salary of approximately $75,000.
Meet Ruben Calvillo - GARDENA
Workforce Challenge: Ruben Calvillo worked for a car rental company, where he was a manager in training. He subsequently lost his job when he did not pass his training course. Mr. Calvillo had difficulty finding work and needed to enhance his skills. Realizing that he needed to find a job that would enable him to take care of his family, which included both of his parents and younger siblings, he realized that he needed to go back to the Employment Development Department. He was then referred to the Gardena One-Stop where he received information on vocational training.
Workforce Solution: Once Ruben found out he was eligible to receive funding under the WIA Adult Program, he enrolled in the American Career College in Los Angeles. Now he was on track to pursue the career he truly desired as a Pharmacy Technician.
Outcome and Benefits: Upon completion of his training and externship as a Pharmacy Technician, Ruben was offered a position as the Lead Pharmacy Technician with Biofusion Pharmacy in Torrance. He is now earning more than $43,000 annually and is extremely satisfied with his new career path.
Meet Gabriela Cerpa - GARDENA
Workforce Challenge: The South Bay Workforce Investment Board’s (SBWIB), Transitional Subsidized Employment Program (TSE) has been continually utilized by the United States Veterans Initiative of Los Angeles (U.S. Vets). U.S. VETS programs provide candidates with valuable on-the-job training and other services to homeless and at-risk veterans and their families.
Workforce Solution: Gabriela Cerpa, Gardena resident, was a recent TSE participant assigned to U.S. VETS. In 2014, after fifteen (15) years of working for a local car rental company, Gabriela was laid off. After months of unsuccessful job searches, her unemployment insurance benefits expired. Reluctantly, this single mother of three boys had no other choice but to apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF) at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS).
Outcome and Benefits: Initially feeling defeated, Gabriela continued going on several interviews, improved her interviewing skills and attended workshops. Working closely with the program staff, her confidence, and options increased. Motivated by the support of the staff, she utilized all the services provided to her, was placed at US VETS as a participant and subsequently hired full time, as a Program Assistant. Gabriela told her TSE staff, “My advice to other participants is, don’t give up. I now have a job that allows me to take care of my family and work in my field of study. I would never have thought I would be here today from walking in the One-Stop office that day.”
Meet Debra Jackson - GARDENA
Workforce Challenge: Debra Jackson, 52, had been employed with Canon Business Solutions, as a Contract Supervisor for 19 years. Suddenly she was laid off due to the Company moving its administrative staffing to another state.
Workforce Solution: Ms. Jackson maintained her optimism and decided this would be the perfect time to attend school for office management, to increase her computer skills and streamline her work aptitude. Debra arrived at the Gardena One-Stop seeking assistance for employment. After being unemployed for more than six months, Debra enrolled into the Dislocated Worker Program and began vocational training at PCI College in Gardena. She successfully completed the course with flying colors and renewed her job searching efforts, but this time with the support of the Gardena One-Stop.
Outcome and Benefits: As a result of coming in weekly to pick up job leads and fill out applications, Ms. Jackson called and informed her advisor that she was hired at Waste Management in February 2015 as a Customer Experience Supervisor and is presently earning more than $60,000 per year.
Meet Katrina Augustine - HAWTHORNE
Workforce Challenge: Hawthorne resident Katrina Augustine lives in a multi-generational household with her three siblings, mother and two grandparents. Katrina wanted to help her single-parent mother by working and contributing to the household. Katrina attended one of the Fit for Gold presentations at her school, and quickly made an appointment in the hopes of finding a job.
Workforce Solution: During her evaluation session, Katrina was informed that she was eligible to participate in the Fit for Gold Program. Katrina began the 30-hour mandatory training in the following weeks along with other cadets. Katrina stood out among other cadets due to her attitude and demonstrated leadership. Upon completion of her training, Katrina was placed at Ramona Elementary School, where she worked from February to June 2015. Katrina quickly became a role model to the young children she tutored and was praised for her hard work, reliability and responsibility.
Outcome and Benefits: Upon completing her work experience at Ramona Elementary Katrina graduated from Hawthorne High School and enlisted into the California Army National Guard and began basic training last November. The Fit for Gold program was so inspirational to Katrina that she now plans to pursue a career in teaching.
Meet Guillermo Madrid - HERMOSA BEACH
Workforce Challenge: Forty-one-year-old, Navy Veteran, Guillermo Madrid, was a Senior Account Executive and Outside Technical Sales Representative for a technology service provider. Unfortunately, he was laid off in October of 2014. His confidence shaken from the layoff, Mr. Madrid felt that he needed additional training if he was going to gain a competitive edge and rejoin the workforce.
Workforce Solution: While attending an Employment Development Department workshop, he was informed of the programs available to Veterans. A Veteran Affairs Counselor referred Mr. Madrid to the Beach Cities One-Stop. He enrolled in classes at New Horizons Computer Center in Culver City to receive formal training and certification in Cisco Networking Administration.
Outcome and Benefits: Once adding the newly-acquired certifications to his resume, he found that he was
receivingmore employment opportunities when he applied for positions. Ultimately he interviewed with Dell for a position that had been vacant for eight months. Mr. Madrid was hired at Dell Computer as an Outside Sales Representative for the Southern California Region with an annual salary of more than $125,000.
Meet Paul Jones - INGLEWOOD
Workforce Challenge: Paul Jones, 54, of Inglewood diligently worked for KAI-TEZ Inc. as a Personal Care Assistant for several years before he was let go in early 2014. Run-ins with the law during his youth came back to haunt Mr. Jones, making it difficult to find new employment. This challenge was augmented by the fact that Mr. Jones also did not have his high school diploma. Fortunately, Mr. Jones was informed by a Career Advisor at the Inglewood One-Stop about the New Opportunities Charter School and subsequently earned his diploma. Determined to turn his life around, Mr. Jones received additional training and employment services through the Inglewood One-Stop.
Workforce Solution: As his fortunes continued to turn, Mr. Jones was informed that he was eligible to receive funding for training under the Adult program. While attending the New Opportunities Charter School he began volunteering his time there and found fulfillment in helping people overcome obstacles. Looking to give back, Mr. Jones based his training goal around helping others and went through the Addiction Treatment Counseling training through an I-Train-Approved provider.
Outcome and Benefits: Upon completion of his classroom training and externship, Mr. Jones was hired as a counselor helping individuals struggling with alcohol and drug abuse and now enjoys offering assistance to those similarly in need of life- and career-altering programs.
Meet Jenny Victorio - INGLEWOOD
Workforce Challenge: Jenny Victorio is a 19-year-old, Inglewood resident who is constantly trying to improve herself. Upon first learning about the Inglewood Teen Center and the various enrichment programs, academic assistance and employment workshops offered, she asked the Center’s staff for assistance.
Workforce Solution: She enrolled in the Blueprint Program, which is a 30-hour, introductory course that focuses on the qualities and skills necessary to prepare youth to begin the job searching process. Upon completing the training, she immediately put the skills she learned to use at the 2014 Blueprint for Workplace Success Youth Job Fair. She interviewed at the event and was hired by Party City. William Vasquez, District General Manager for Party City, said that he hired Jenny because he was impressed with how well she interviewed at the 2014 job fair. He noted her professionalism and positive disposition. “Jenny is a very positive person. She just gets it,” he said. It was that positive attitude and professionalism that led Mr. Vasquez to make Jenny the Senior Recruiter at this year’s Blueprint Job Fair. Jenny went from being an interviewee one year to interviewing new candidates about Party City’s employment opportunities the following year at the same event.
Outcome and Benefits: Now a first-year student at California State University Dominguez Hills, she is quick to point out the turning point to her success. “Without the (Blueprint) program, I wouldn’t have been confident enough during the interview process,” Jenny said. “My main goal right now is to continue school and get my degree. I am so grateful to the Inglewood Teen Center and Party City for giving me an opportunity to improve myself.”
Meet Salvador Tapia - LAWNDALE
Workforce Challenge: Salvador Tapia, 46, of Lawndale, was facing extreme financial hardship after he was laid off from his job as a warehouse worker for a packing company in Gardena for more than two years. With a wife and son to support, Mr. Tapia was desperate to get back on his feet and through the recommendation of the Employment Development Department, sought the assistance of the Inglewood One-Stop. There he attended an information session that helped him evaluate his career and business aspirations. Mr. Tapia determined that he wanted to work towards owning his own trucking business.
Workforce Solution: Inglewood One-Stop staff assisted Mr. Tapia in determining the training necessary to attain his dream job. He attended and completed all program requirements needed to obtain his commercial driver’s license and during his one-on-one appointment with his case manager was determined eligible to receive funding for training under the dislocated worker program. Mr. Tapia navigated the list of approved vocational schools on the I-Train information network, enrolled in a California Truck Driving Academy and was on the road to realizing his goal.
Outcome and Benefits: Upon completion of his classroom training, and utilizing the skills obtained through the various workshops he attended at Inglewood One Stop, Mr. Tapia’s job search quickly resulted in numerous job offers. Mr. Tapia interviewed with Northern Refrigeration and was offered immediate employment as a driver. Mr. Tapia is now earning more than $40,000 annually and is very grateful for the programs and services provided by Inglewood One Stop in assisting him with re-entering the workforce. He is now one step closer to the realization of one day owning his own trucking business.
Meet Marlene Grosch - REDONDO BEACH
Workforce Challenge: Marlene Grosch was laid off from a large aerospace company after 29 years. She had worked her way up from an administrative assistant to a position in Design Engineering. As a result of this large layoff all the employees attended a two-day career transition workshop conducted by a representative from Beach Cities One-Stop. During the workshop, the presenter assisted them in; building a resume, searching for employment and how to better market themselves through networking and social media.
Workforce Solution: Seeing little future in the aerospace industry without a college degree, Marlene and her counselor developed a plan for her to transition into healthcare. She learned that this industry offered excellent employment and job growth opportunities. Marlene enrolled in the Vocational Nursing program at Pacific College in Costa Mesa, completed training, subsequently passed the state exam as a Licensed Vocational Nurse.
Outcome and Benefits: In late 2014, Marlene was hired by Molina Healthcare in Long Beach as a Clinical Review Clinician LVN doing Prior Authorization for Medicare. She was recently promoted to Supervisor of Utilization Management II and is earning more than $70,000 annually.
Meet Destiny Williams - REDONDO BEACH
Workforce Challenge: Destiny Williams, 21, of Redondo Beach, came to the Beach Cities One-Stop looking for assistance in looking for work and hoping for a fresh start. As a single parent to a two-year-old daughter, Ms. Williams was juggling those responsibilities with looking for employment, all while also attending Los Angeles Southwest College part-time. Given all the time and responsibility commitments, Ms. Williams did not have the depth in her work experience to secure full-time employment.
Workforce Solution: Ms. Williams was a CalWORKs participant and met with the Beach Cities One-Stop staff which placed her at The Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce where she was able to assist with the update and maintenance of the Chamber’s Mobile Application, among other duties. After reviewing Ms. Williams’ obstacles, assessing her skills and determining her goals, it was determined that Ms. Williams was a perfect match for the Summer Youth Employment Program.
Outcome and Benefits: Ms. Williams worked on data entry and promotion, particularly for the annual Redondo Beach Lobster Festival. She successfully completed her 20 hours of Pre-Employment Training and 100 hours of Paid Work Experience with flying colors. Her Supervisor stated “She (Destiny) is a joy to have and wonderful help to us!” As of October 1st Ms. Williams will begin as a full-time Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce Data employee giving her the economic stability that her family needs.
Meet Sean Paine- TORRANCE
Workforce Challenge: Sean Paine moved back to the South Bay Area, where he is originally from, after living in Idaho with his mother for almost a year. Sean was in dire need of a new career to support his wife and their one-year-old twins. Unfortunately, after several unsuccessful months of job searching, he decided that he would go to the Beach Cities One-Stop Business and Career Center, for assistance. Upon arrival, he attended informational sessions, took aptitude and career assessment tests, to evaluate his skill and knowledge levels.
Workforce Solution: During Sean’s evaluation session, he was informed that he was eligible to receive training under the, Workforce Investment Act Adult Program. He was interested in starting a career in Information Technology. Given Sean’s previous experience, as an Apple Technical Advisor, Sean and the One-Stop staff, decided that the best possible option would be to enroll in the MCSA SQL Database training. This training was offered by SBWIB through New Horizons Computer Learning Center in Culver City and would enable him to increase his technical skills and knowledge.
Outcome and Benefits: Upon completion of the training, Sean was hired by Chevron in July 2015, as an Instrument and Electrical Mechanic, making more than $60,000 per year. This change has lifted the financial burden and enabled him to support himself and his young family.