LA:RISE - Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise

The Challenge
Despite a strong economy and historically low unemployment rates, thousands of Angeleno’s are shut out of the workforce. People with high employment barriers including histories of homelessness, incarceration, and opportunity youth, have a lot to offer, but they need specialized support in order to succeed. Just like you and me, these striving men and women want to be valued and contribute to our communities.

So where do they go for that support?

Their first stop is likely a workforce development agency (e.g. WorkSource Center, YouthSource Center, America’s Job Center of California, etc.) – part of the local workforce development system that exists to help people get into the workforce. If you’ve got a college degree, plenty of in-demand skills, and a robust network, you probably haven’t visited a workforce development agency, but for many people, these centers provide one-stop shopping for job development and job searching.

Trouble is, in order to get into the workforce, stay there and progress, people with high employment barriers need more support than these centers are set up to provide.

What kind of support? Exactly the type of support an employment social enterprise provides.

A Collaborative Solution: LA:RISE
Employment Social enterprises are purpose-driven businesses that provide transitional jobs and wraparound services that help people stabilize their lives and succeed.

LA:RISE connects these unique businesses to workforce development agencies, supportive services, and employers-thereby creating an integrated network that allows all partners to bring their expertise and resources to the table. LA:RISE is demonstrating that the public and private sectors can come together to help solve some of society’s biggest challenges.

To date, over 1,700 LA:RISE participants have secured subsidized employment, and over 570 participants have secured permanent employment. This initial success as led to an expansion – previously serving only Los Angeles City in July 2018, LA:RISE expanded to serve all of Los Angeles County, allowing REDF and its partners to serve 268 additional LA County residents facing multiple barriers to employment.

REDF's Role
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), requires government-contracted workforce development agencies to serve populations with barriers to employment. Given this legislation, REDF saw a catalyzing opportunity to foster collaboration between the social enterprise field, the workforce system, and employers to improve the long-term success of this population. And that’s how LA:RISE came to be. Funded initially by the Department of Labor through a Workforce Innovation Fund Grant, thanks to its early success, LA:RISE is now funded locally by a City of LA General Fund allocation, LA County Measure H, and workforce funding.

REDF functions as the lead program manager for LA:RISE and provides technical assistance to the myriad of partners that are part of this initiative.

LA:RISE - How It Works