JVS Los Angeles, Local Non Profits Join Labor and Manufacturing To Pass Critical Jobs Training Bill

JVS Los Angeles and a diverse coalition of co-sponsors have come together to bridge their differences in support of a critical California Jobs Bill, authored by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord), that was approved last week by both the Assembly and Senate and is currently on Governor Brown’s desk for his consideration. The measure prioritizes the spending of Workforce Investment Act (WIA) money for quality job training programs and services for unemployed workers.

SB 734 is co-sponsored by JVS Los Angeles, Chicana Service Action Center, California Labor Federation, California Manufacturers and Technology Association, and State Building and Construction Trades Council.

“This new bill will appropriately refocus the public workforce development system in California on upgrading the skills of workers to qualify them for jobs that will materialize when the economy recovers from its current morass,” according to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

“The passage of SB 734 is a significant step forward for California job seekers and union members and a powerful recognition of the critical work being done on the front lines of this economic downturn,” said Art Pulaski, Chief Officer of the California Labor Federation.

California receives almost $500 million annually in WIA dollars for job training and employment services for youth, disadvantaged adults, and dislocated workers. Despite the need for targeted and effective training, local WIBs in California spend very little WIA funds on skills training. Faced with a similar problem, other states, including Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, have all adopted policies that require more local WIA funds to be dedicated to training.

SB 734 requires local WIBs to increase spending of their Adult and Dislocated Workers Fund on quality programs and services that provide workers with job training. Under this bill, spending would increase annually to a minimum of 30% of the Fund in 2016 and thereafter.

JVS Los Angeles has been providing comprehensive employment services to Angelenos since 1931 and has witnessed the tremendous shifts in the job market and the increased pressures on job seekers trying to compete in this economic environment.

“We have always sought meaningful partnerships to increase our effectiveness, leverage and maximize our resources for the benefit of our clients,” said JVS CEO Vivian Seigel. “This legislation will open the door to greater opportunities for the long term unemployed and other job seekers struggling to overcome multiple barriers to employment.”

“Workers in California face the toughest job crisis since the Great Depression,” said DeSaulnier (D-Concord). “With declining state revenues and pressure on public resources, it is crucial that every dollar of federal workforce funds is invested in high quality job training that connects workers to good jobs.”

The Governor has until October 9th to act on this bill.

Latest Analysis of California Unemployment Figures and the Impact on our Community

California's unemployment rate remains the second-highest in the nation – 12 percent in July – but among some demographic groups, joblessness is even higher.
The unemployment rate among 16- to 19-year-olds in California was 34.2 percent last month, according to the state's analysis of federal data.That's down from 34.5 percent a month earlier and 34.8 percent a year ago.

For non-white workers, unemployment over the past year has increased, from 12.4 percent to 13.4 percent. Whereas 11.6 percent of whites were out of work in July, 14.3 percent of Hispanics and 20.3 percent of blacks were unemployed. While the unemployment rate in California is higher among men than women, over the past year, it has improved more for men than it has for women: Between July 2010 and July 2011, the unemployment rate among men fell from 13 percent to 12.5 percent. Among women, unemployment rose from 11 to 11.4 percent during the same time.

Many of the jobless Californians counted a year ago still are unemployed today: Slightly more than 1 in 3 – 727,000 people in all – have been out of work 52 weeks or more. Over the past year, the number of people unemployed a year or more grew 18.8 percent.

Unemployed workers are eligible for up to 99 weeks of jobless benefits. As of Aug. 16, the number of Californians who had exhausted all their benefits is more than 497,000, according to the state Employment Development Department.

It's unknown how many of these "99ers" have gone on to find work. Since last year, however, the number of people no longer in the labor force in California increased by 377,000 to nearly 10.4 million in July. That figure includes 947,000 who want a job and 157,000 who are not looking for work because they are discouraged about their prospects.

Among workers with jobs, many have fewer hours than they would like: Nearly 1.5 million are working part time for economic reasons. Since last year, that number has decreased by 54,000.
Jobless rates in California, not seasonally adjusted, ranged from 8.1 percent in Marin County to 30.8 percent in Imperial County. Nationally, the unemployment rate in July was 9.1 percent. Nevada registered the highest jobless rate at 12.9 percent.

Joanna Lin
Health and Welfare Reporter

WoMentoring Celebrates Empower Hour at the home of WLN Co-Founder Debbie Powell

WoMentoring recently celebrated an Empower Hour at the home of WoMentoring Leadership Network Co- Founder Debbie Powell and her husband Rick. In addition to recognizing the Spring 2011 participants who have just completed the six-month mentoring experience, Program Manager Jamie Thompson and WLN Co-Chair Eileen Coskey Fracchia welcomed the new group of mentors and mentees for Fall 2011.

Featured speaker Victoria Halsey, PhD, inspired the entire group with her remarkable insights and ideas. Empower Hours are part of the newly revamped and enriched program, which expanded this year from one session per year to three, offering more women the opportunity to benefit from the mentoring experience.

Jewish Vocational Service Donors Step Up to Help Fund More Scholarships for Jewish Students in Need



(LOS ANGELES) On July 14, the JVS Scholarship Program awarded 160 scholarships to local Jewish students in financial need at a special ceremony held at Sinai Temple in front of families, alumni donors, JVS board members and friends.

Student speaker Amos Nadler nearly dropped out of his PhD program when his funding ran out. Thanks to the JVS Scholarship Program, he will be graduating in 2012 with a degree in Neuroeconomics from Claremont College. “The path has not yet come full circle,” said Amos. “Winston Churchill said that we ‘make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.’ Therefore, only when I am able to give back to the parents who helped raise me, the friends who supported me along the way, and the organizations like JVS that funded me, will I feel that the circle is complete.”

Longtime JVS Scholarship donor Gloria Baran fully understands that concept. She wanted to do something to illustrate the meaning of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and make it possible for the students, alumni and other first time donors to begin giving back, no matter the size of the gift. So she initiated the Tzedakah Box Project, utilizing an old tradition in an innovative way. Tzedakah is translated to mean righteous and just action and it was her hope that enough money would be raised in small, first time gifts, to fund one or possibly two $1800 annual scholarships. A stunning $18,835 was placed in the Tzedakah Box that night, including checks and pledges, as well as $135 in small cash gifts.

“When people work together - each doing their own small part to achieve something - truly wonderful things can happen,” said JVS CEO Vivian Seigel. “I am also delighted to announce that a deeply committed donor stepped up to offer a match that doubles the impact of these generous and meaningful gifts to $37,670. The Tzedakah Box Project allowed everyone to participate together in this mitzvah (act of kindness), creating a significant impact. As a result, we will be able to expand our reach next year and award 20 Tikkun Olam Scholarships to deserving Jewish students in the amount of $1800 each.”

JVS also presented its first annual Innovative Fundraiser Award to JVS Scholarship Committee member Scott Diamond, who conducted an email-based fundraising campaign among his friends and family last spring and raised $9,000. Abby Hess, one of the recipients of the brand new Diamond Family & Friends Scholarship said, “A year ago my father succumbed after a long battle with cancer, six weeks before I entered law school. My dad’s final gift to me was to pay for my first year of textbooks. This year, your scholarship will cover my books and transportation and allow me to have more balanced meals. It was very exciting for me to put a donor name to a face and learn about all the people who supported you in putting together this scholarship. I operate on a ‘people are basically good and want to help each other’ assumption, and to both see it in action and be a recipient of such kindness just means the world to me.”

In addition, inspired by the spirit of the evening, three previous JVS Scholarship Endowment donors renewed their gifts with an additional $25,000 each.

This year marks JVS’ 80th Anniversary, a milestone for any agency, and a remarkable achievement for an organization that was founded during the Great Depression to fight workplace discrimination and help the unemployed. Since the 1940s, JVS has maintained innovative youth programs and in the 1960s, fought against legislation that would have cut funding to California colleges. This led to the founding of the JVS Scholarship Program in 1972.

Since its founding, the program has awarded over $5 million to more than 3,500 deserving Jewish students. Of the total scholarships awarded for the 2011 academic year, 56% were for graduate students working towards advanced degrees in a variety of areas including medicine, law, and dentistry. Thanks to the generosity of the agency’s donors, JVS was able to increase the amount awarded, with most students receiving over $2,500.

JVS Los Angeles has been helping people overcome barriers to employment since 1931. With more than 30 programs throughout Southern California targeting a diverse range of clients, including the long term unemployed, people with disabilities, at risk, foster and probation youth, refugees and immigrants, and women in transition, JVS is empowering people to become economically self-sufficient and enhancing the quality of life for individuals and families in our community. For more information, please visit www.jvsla.org.

JVS Scholarship Alumni Bingo Night Wins All ‘Round

JVS Scholarship Alumni Bingo Night Wins All ‘Round

JVS’ newly formed Scholarship Alumni group gathered for the inaugural JVS Alumni Bingo event at the famous Hamburger Mary’s in West Hollywood.

Nan Kalish Goodman, chair of the JVS Scholarship Alumni committee and Melissa Tillman, the Scholarship Alumni Chair, helped make it even a more memorable night to remember, raising over $2,200 that night alone.

This will be used to establish the Alumni Scholarship Grant, giving our alumni a chance to help other students the same way they were helped.

JVS Congratulates Our 2010-2011 Literacy*AmeriCorps Members

JVS recognized the stellar accomplishments of its 14 Literacy*AmeriCorps members at a luncheon this past Friday, featuring remarks by Elizabeth Rivera, the National Program Coordinator, who is based in Pennsylvania.

Rivera highlighted the tremendous personal commitment made by each member and the immeasurable positive impact they have in the community.

In addition to lifelong friendships, many former AmeriCorps members go on to make their careers in public and community service.

JVS' Veterans First Program Participates in the "ServiceNation: Mission Serve Hiring Our Heroes"

JVS' Veterans First Program participated in the "ServiceNation: Mission Serve Hiring Our Heroes" job fair Sunday June 10 in Culver City. Nearly 2,000 veterans and their families were in attendance.

It was also the last stop of Prince William and Kate's tour of Southern California. Said Prince William, "Mission Serve is about something more than just men and women in uniform. It is about our other halves. The half that makes the loved one's duty and sacrifices possible and worthwhile. It is about you: families, partners and friends."

JVS' Veterans First program helps returning veterans transition to the civilian workplace, and was recently awarded a $435,000 grant from the Governor's 15% discretionary funds. JVS was one of only 13 agencies in the state chosen by Governor Brown to assist thousands more veterans.

JVS Receives $465,000 Grant From State To Help Veterans

JVS’ Veterans First Program was founded to help veterans make the transition from the military to the civilian job market. The State of California has recognized the vital need for these services, which is why JVS was among 13 organizations to receive a total of nearly $6 million in new grants to assist 1,200 returning veterans.

Said Pam Harris, Chief Deputy Director of the Employment Development Department, “The men and women of our armed forces leave the safety of civilian life and go in harm’s way to keep all of us free. Now, as they come home, we have a chance to say ‘thank you.’”

JVS, which received $465,000 of the total grant , already works with veterans to find new career paths that utilize the skills they learned in the military, and will also put some of the funding towards expanding training programs in a variety of fields, including computer security, security, finance, healthcare and engineering.

Funding for these grants comes from the Governor’s Discretionary 15 percent Workforce Investment Act funds.

JVS Up For 2 Awards From The Los Angeles Business Journal

JVS’ is a finalist in two categories in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s prestigious Nonprofit & Corporate Citizenship Awards.

JVS BankWork$™ program is one of three finalists in the Project Collaboration Category, which recognizes community and business partnerships like the ones that led to the creation of BankWork$™, which boasts an aveage 85% placement rates for its graduates in the banking industry.

CEO Vivian Seigel is a finalist in the Leadership Excellence Category. An over 30-year veteran of the agency, she began her career at JVS in 1977 as a counselor, and has led the agency to where it is today, a $15 million organization that helps more than 30,000 people annually from over 30 locations around Southern California

Not only will JVS receive special recognition at the event, but also an exclusive write-up in the Los Angeles Business Journal’s awards feature published on June 27th which will be distributed to all attendees as well as the paper’s entire circulation.
The Los Angeles Business Journal is the top business paper in the city, and competition for these awards was fierce. It is a testament to the excellence of JVS staff, programs and the support of our board and donors that JVS is being recognized for its outstanding work.

The award ceremony is being held Wednesday, June 29, 2011 from 11:00am-1:30pm at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles.

Wells Fargo supports JVS' BankWork$™ with gift of $75,000

Jonathan Weedman, Senior VP of the Wells Fargo Foundation was the featured speaker at JVS' 22nd BankWork$™ graduation, sharing the inspiring story of his own career trajectory in banking, including his very first job as a teller. He encouraged the graduates to think big and explore all of the myriad opportunities for growth and professional development within the industry as they began their new careers.

Pictured left to right:
Sterling Financial Corp. Chairman and BankWork$™ founder Les Biller, BankWork$™ Employment Specialist and Program Manager Maria Zuniga and Lisa Meadows, JVS COO Claudia Finkel, JVS CEO Vivian Seigel and Weedman at The Expo Center, site of the training program and graduation ceremony.

JVS BankWorks™ Program Grads Interview for New Careers

Union Bank Senior Vice President and Market President John Stephan made keynote remarks today at the 16th BankWorks™ Graduation ceremony at The Expo Center downtown, where the training program is held throughout the year.

Immediately following the event, recruiters from the 8 participating bank partners interviewed each of the graduates for entry level bank teller positions.

Several of the students in this class transitioned from the downsized mortgage industry and have the opportunity to move quickly into personal banker and loan officer positions. Everyone in the class is looking forward to launching their new careers in the financial services industry, one of the sectors still seeing growth.

JVS Summer Youth Employment Program Celebrates Successes

In an economy where highly skilled workers are competing for traditional summer jobs, teens all over the country have found it difficult to find employment. For the students in JVS’ Summer Youth Employment program, a summer job isn’t just about saving up for a car or a new pair of jeans, it often means the difference between being able to stay in school, help their families buy groceries, or even provide for their own children.

On August 20, JVS celebrated the successes of the 50 teens who participated in the program with a special graduation at its main office at 6505 Wilshire Boulevard.

Funded by the County of Los Angeles, youth ranging in age from 14-21 were placed in internships in a variety of industries, with their salaries paid by the program.

Tina Hoang, Los Angeles County Manager for the Workforce Investment Act made keynote remarks and especially thanked all of the employers who have participated in the program by providing internship opportunities. William Berry and Ragan Carlile from The Ford Theatre and Foundation spoke about their efforts to expand access to the arts to youth throughout the city and announced that The Ford Theatre has hired the two 2009 SYEP interns and is looking forward to doing the same for this year's students. 

The audience also heard from 15-year old Bianca Mardarenko, who interned at The Memorial Library and Eric Leon, who graduated the SYEP program ten years ago and is now attending the USC Gould School of Law.

Said Jon Lamirault, JVS’ Youth Programs Supervisor, “Not only does this program give these youth a chance to work and earn money to help themselves and their families, it teaches them a valuable work ethic that many carry with them when they go back to school. Our program participants have faced a lot of barriers in their lives, such as gang involvement, teen pregnancy, and poverty.This program is a chance for a new beginning.”

Career Mentoring Program for Women Recruiting for Fall Session

VS' WoMentoring program is recruiting mentees and mentors for its new fall session.

For women who are looking for a change, a chance to start over, or a chance to begin, WoMentoring pairs them with professional career women in their field of choice.

And for the mentors involved, not only is it a chance to be somebody's heroine, but a chance to form a life-changing bond.

Hundreds of women have found success and fulfillment through the program.

To take a look at how this program can impact your life, please click on the link below to a recent article in the Jewish Journal, or check out the WoMentoring section of our website.

Jewish Journal WoMentoring Coverage