JVS’ 17th Annual Strictly Business L.A. Awards Luncheon Highlights Successful Efforts to Bridge the “Skills Gap” in Los Angeles

I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.
— President Obama, State of the Union, January 2014

JVS’ 17th Annual Strictly Business L.A. Awards Luncheon Highlights Successful Efforts to Bridge the “Skills Gap” in Los Angeles

Los Angeles- April 17, 2014 -- As the nation moves through the economic recovery and the overhaul of its job training programs, friends and supporters of JVS LA will celebrate the agency, its award-winning training initiatives and efforts to close the “skills gap” one client, one job at a time.

A veteran who is no longer homeless, a foster child who beat the odds and a onetime salesman in the construction industry who learned new skills in a new field will all be honored for their personal achievements during the 17th Annual Strictly Business L.A. Awards luncheon hosted by JVS. At the luncheon, JVS will celebrate the success of the agency’s customized training programs, which help people overcame substantial barriers to employment and reach new professional heights.

The popular gathering, to be held on Thursday, May 8, 2013, 12 Noon at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, will feature a keynote address by Steven A. Sugarman, President and CEO of Banc of California.  NBC 4 Weatherman Fritz Coleman will again serve as Master of Ceremonies.

Sugarman, who is a successful entrepreneur and banking executive, calls Strictly Business “one of the region's ‘must attend’ events.”

“I am honored to have been asked to offer this year's keynote address,” Sugarman said. “I look forward to sharing the dais with JVS' Inspiration Award recipients, people who are turning their lives around and who serve as an inspiriting example to all of us.  I encourage everyone to help support JVS in its worthwhile mission of providing job training, mentoring and education services throughout Los Angeles County."

The three recipients of the 2014 JVS Inspiration Award are:

  • Edward Webster, a U.S. veteran who went from living in transitional housing to a well-paying job helping to manage a Playa del Rey homeowners association;
  • Felicia Cates, a former foster child who launched her career as a Certified Nurse Assistant through the JVS HealthWorks™ training program; and
  • James Harmer, a one-time construction worker who changed his life, mid-career, through JVS’ BankWork$™.

BankWork$ and HealthWorks are award-winning centerpieces of JVS efforts to train individuals with substantial barriers to employment for new careers in high growth industries. The two programs have graduated nearly 1,150 trainees and placed them in more than 850 jobs with partnering financial and healthcare organizations.

Strictly Business attendees will hear directly from Webster, Cates and Harmer as well as watch the premier of a video that brings their stories to life illustrating the agency’s success at bridging the “skills gap.”

 “When they hear about how far these men and women have journeyed and the types of situations they have overcome, I have no doubt that our guests will be tremendously moved, and will recognize the vital importance of our agency’s work,” said JVS Board President Jim Hausberg.

Coleman returns to host Strictly Business L.A. for a second consecutive year. Coleman is NBC4′s weathercaster on the weekday editions of Channel 4 News.  Coleman devotes much of his free time to charitable activities and frequently organizes evenings of entertainment for local service and civic organizations, as well as serving as master of ceremonies for dozens of Southern California community events.

“It’s hard to calculate the value of an agency like JVS which does such an amazing job of making connections and helping its clients break down barriers to employment,” said Coleman. “The success stories we hear at Strictly Business L.A. are always so inspirational.”

As President and Chief Executive Officer of Banc of California, Sugarman is responsible for building the executive team at Banc of California by bringing together entrepreneurs and recognized leaders in the financial industry to create a clear and achievable plan for the bank’s growth in California and the West. Sugarman is also Chief Executive Officer and Director of COR Securities Holding Inc., the parent company of COR Clearing LLC, a national securities clearing firm.

He was the founder and CEO of COR Capital, LLC., and a founding Partner of GPS Partners LLC, a $2 billion private investment fund specializing in high yield equity securities. Sugarman began his career as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company and worked at Lehman Brothers.

 A graduate of Yale Law School and the Dartmouth College, he is the co-author of “The Forewarned Investor: Don’t Get Fooled Again by Corporate Fraud,” published by Career Press.

For more information about Strictly Business L.A., contact Randy H. Lapin at (323) 761-8598, rlapin@jvsla.org.

About JVS: Serving the widely diverse Southern California community, JVS Los Angeles helps people of all faiths and backgrounds overcome barriers to employment so they can become self-sufficient. From recently released veterans to at risk, foster and probation youth, the long term unemployed and people with disabilities, our goal is to provide individuals with the tools, resources and support they need through job training, mentoring, expert career coaching, job placement and retention support. Leaders in the workforce development field and advocates for the underserved, JVS Los Angeles was founded in 1931 to fight workplace discrimination and help Jewish refugees fleeing the political upheaval in Europe to find jobs and begin new lives. Over eight decades later we are going strong – serving nearly 30,000 people each year.


April 17, 2014