LA:RISE logo

LA:RISE is an innovative, collaborative partnership that unites the City and County of Los Angeles’ Workforce Development System (WDS) with non-profit social enterprises and for-profit employers in order to help men and women with high barriers to employment get good jobs and stay employed.

LA:RISE is building a pathway from unemployment, to transitional employment, to permanent work for youth or individuals who have been previously homeless or incarcerated. 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.

Social enterprises and workforce agencies work together to better prepare individuals both professionally and personally by providing paid work experience and personal supports such as housing, transportation, and legal services. By co-enrolling individuals into WIOA (which provides workforce services using federal funding), LA:RISE is able to leverage funds and work more efficiently.

How It Works

After working in a transitional job at a social enterprise and leveraging training and services from the WorkSource Center, individuals are placed at jobs in the private sector, in public-sector jobs in the City of LA, or in vocational training programs. Upon placement, they work with a retention partner for up to one year, who acts as a safety net in case barriers emerge on their path to self-sufficiency.



Victoria came to the Downtown Women's Center seeking housing, health services, and social support. She enrolled in LA:RISE after graduating from DWC's training program and worked in the Social Enterprise Cafe.

“I was unable to find employment elsewhere. I had been searching for a long time...I was excited about working again and getting my feet wet in the workforce world," Victoria shared at a DWC event.

The LA:RISE program enabled her to be self-sufficient, “I am worth something. I feel productive and no longer feel like I'm wasting my life away.”

Recently, Victoria toured CRCD WorkSource Center and Los Angeles Trade Technical College with her LA:RISE cohort. Inspired by the experience, she enrolled in a computer course in order to expand her skills and improve in her role as an Inventory and Production Associate.

An Innovative Approach to Job Creation

LA:RISE utilizes modern features to overcome barriers to employment.

Job Readiness Assessment
A standard tool implemented across all social enterprise sites to ensure that all referred candidates are job ready. The use of this assessment tool creates consistency and provides assurance to employers that no matter which social enterprise they source from, they will receive a quality referral from the LA:RISE program.

Job search platforms that host data tracking systems allowing all LA:RISE partners to communicate efficiently with each other. By integrating social enterprises and personal support providers, these portals have significantly improved communication and case management across multiple sites.

Beyond Co-Location
WorkSource Center partners are not just physically co-located at the social enterprise site — they are integrated into the program and organizations. Individuals from both of these agencies are seen as one seamless team, providing customer-centric case management to all LA:RISE participants.



Virgil was recruited by fellow LA:RISE participant and friend Jerry to work at Chrysalis in their transitional street maintenance program. After being released from prison, Virgil found it difficult to find a job and remain employed.

Chrysalis was the fresh start he needed to get back into the workforce. After excelling at Chrysalis, he was able to attend truck driving school funded through Goodwill WSC. He passed his Class C driver’s license exam and has been gainfully employed as a truck driver ever since.

He regularly checks in with his personal support provider for financial coaching and personal goal setting to continue to reach his employment goals

The Power of Social Enterprise

LA:RISE Social Enterprise Stats
Social enterprises are competitive, revenue-generating businesses with a clear social mission: to hire and train people who are striving to overcome employment barriers including homelessness, incarceration, substance abuse, mental illness, and limited education.

Social enterprises provide real, paying jobs and wraparound services that help employees stabilize their lives, build their skills, and succeed. When employees are ready, social enterprises help them find lasting, competitive jobs. And because social enterprises reinvest their profits back into their businesses so they can help more people, they require less outside funding and are more sustainable.

Independent research conducted among the social enterprises in REDF’s California portfolio confirms this impact.

Working Better Together

Traditional workforce development systems have not integrated social enterprises and personal supports as strategies to address the overwhelming needs of homeless and reentry populations. At the same time, businesses across the country are challenged with finding skilled workers.

With the passage of the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which requires government contracted workforce agencies to serve populations with barriers to employment, there was 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.

LA:RISE Program Providers (Social Enterprises)

Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO)

Center for Living and Learning

Chrysalis Enterprises

Coalition for Responsible Community Development

Digital Learning Academy

YWCA Greater Los Angeles
213-516-3557 or
1215 Lodi Place, Los Angeles 90038

Downtown Women's Center

Los Angeles Conservation Corps

LA:RISE Partners

LA:RISE is an employer-driven pathway with multiple partners that work together efficiently across the lifecycle of each participant’s engagement.


The Economic and Workforce Development Department and Workforce Development Aging and Community Services Department are responsible for workforce development and training in the City of LA and County of LA, respectively. They act as the project managers and provide administrative oversight for fiscal monitoring and program compliance.

REDF They are the lead program manager and provide technical assistance to individual partners.

Social enterprises in LA:RISE include Chrysalis, LA Conservation Corps, Coalition for Responsible Community Development, Homeboy Industries, Goodwill SoCal, Downtown Women’s Center, Digital Learning Academy, the Center for Living and Learning, New Earth, and the Center for Employment Opportunities.

Government contractors (WorkSource Center, America’s Job Centers, One-Stops) are organizations that provide workforce development and job readiness training. They work with individuals from the beginning of employment at the social enterprise through job placement, and follow up once someone is placed in employment. Workforce agencies include Goodwill SoCal, Coalition for Responsible Community Development, Jewish Vocational Services, Managed Career Services, and El Proyecto.

The sole focus of the retention provider is to help people remain employed by providing wrap-around resources to prevent job loss and lay the foundation for upward mobility. They assist with referrals to health, housing, and educational resources and coaching for personal development and financial capabilities. Personal Support Providers include LIFT, Friends Outside LA, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, and Restoration Law Center.

Creating employment pathways that fit the needs and interests of our target population is critical to the success of LA:RISE. In addition to leveraging workforce system connections to competitive employment, LA:RISE has identified bridge employers in the private sector who are mission-aligned, industry-relevant, and provide the potential for upward mobility. Individuals also have opportunities to pursue employment opportunities with the City of LA Targeted Hiring Program, which provides an alternate pathway to civil service jobs, and Fair Chance Hiring Fairs through the Mayor’s Office of Reentry.

LA:RISE is managed by EWDD and REDF, and supported by the City of LA and the US Department of Labor

Economic & Workforce Development Department logo     The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) logo     City of Los Angeles logo     Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti logo     US Department of Labor logo

A project funded by the US Department of Labor, Grant Agreement Number: IF-26348-14-60-A-6