Breaking the cycles of homelessness and unemployment
Workforce Development Program
Our Workforce Development Program aims to address the underlying causes of un/under-employment among women, in order to end homelessness for good. Program services include a Learning Center, career readiness workshop series, and a social enterprise, MADE by DWC.
Our services are designed to meet every woman’s current needs, regardless of her background or level of experience. For women who are formerly or currently homeless, barriers to employment can range from physical disabilities and mental health obstacles to a lack of formal work experience, long bouts of unemployment after job loss, or general stigmatization of homelessness. At DWC, we aim to prepare women for long-term, sustainable employment, by building on women’s existing skills and empowering them to realize personal and professional goals alike.
Our Learning Center provides classes in computer skills, financial literacy, math, resume building, and more. We also offer academic and vocational counseling sessions, job readiness workshop series, and employment placement services. During open lab hours, DWC participants can use computers to search and apply for jobs, write cover letters and resumes, or work on school assignments.
Women also receive help with basic necessities that most jobseekers take for granted, like a physical address, an email account, a quiet space to take a work-related phone call, interview-ready clothing, access to laundry, and assistance with transportation.
Through support from LA:RISE, a partnership between the City and County of Los Angeles’ Workforce Development System, non-profit social enterprises, and for-profit employers, we also provide paid transitional employment at MADE by DWC, as well as final job placement and one year of support to ensure retention. MADE by DWC’s signature line of gifts is made by formerly homeless women, with 100% of proceeds going towards DWC programs and services.
Our Employer Recognition Program presents a unique opportunity for employers to align themselves with DWC by hiring women presently and previously experiencing homelessness. Participating employers receive direct recognition on our website, on social media, at high-profile events, and even in our annual reports. All employers are also eligible for the DWC Seal of Distinction, which acknowledges employers who implement internal policies and practices that reflect their commitment to ending homelessness and hiring marginalized women.
To learn more about our Employer Recognition Program, please email Info@DowntownWomensCenter.org.
IMPACT IN 2019
“I’d always wanted to be artistic. No one ever knew that dream I had until I came to DWC and it was realized. Women can take a step forward in their lives here.”
PAMELA, A FORMER LA:RISE PARTICIPANT
In early 2020, our Workforce Development Program launched the “A Bridge Home” (ABH) Career Series, to provide mobile and in-house navigation employment services to women in Bridge Housing across Los Angeles County. Participants receive and are connected with employment coaching, transitional employment, resume- and cover letter-writing assistance, interview preparation, employment application assistance, and job readiness career series. In just three months, 31 women had enrolled in the ABH Career Series!