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New non-profit, 'Downtown Works,' launches job program for homeless

By Hayley Fox
Published: Friday, January 20, 2012, at 09:31AM
Hayley Fox

The Chrysalis center is teaming up with the CCA to form new non-profit, Downtown Works.

The Chrysalis center on Main Street is bustling at 10 a.m. on a Wednesday morning, as homeless and Downtown residents work to rebuild their lives and seek jobs.

Established in 1984, this non-profit that focuses on job skills training will team up with business advocacy group, the Central City Association of Los Angeles (CCA), and multiple business leaders for the launch of Downtown Works.

"There are people out there in the lobby who need you," said Gregory Price, to a room full of journalists and community pillars at a press conference in a back room of the Chrysalis building.

Price is a product of Chrysalis' job training program. He enrolled in July of 2010, just one month after being released from a 31-year prison sentence.

"The only ID I had was a prison ID," said Price. "From then on, it's been taillights."

Downtown Works plans to "enhance and expand" the existing curriculum at Chrysalis; including the creation of a two-year plan that includes training 450 students in a "Skills for Success" program. The nonprofit will spend $100,000 in the first year to teach specific skills like computer proficiency and customer service training.

The funds from Downtown Works will allow Chrysalis to expand their computer skills program from a four hour lesson to a four to five day course, said Carol Schatz, President and CEO of CCA. She added that they expect 60 percent of the students to find a job within six months of completing the course.

Chrysalis is only the first non-profit that Downtown Works plans to team up with. A representative from Downtown Works said they are not tied to one particular organization and will look to partner with different groups for future endeavors.

Big business companies and banks including AEG, U.S. Bank, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, have pledged financial contributions to the project. They have also said that they would be open to employing people who go through the Downtown Works system.

"We believe we need to serve the communities where we bank," said Sean Foley, chairman of CCA and regional chairman of U.S. Bank.

Chrysalis said they have helped over 35,000 people "change their lives through jobs," since their founding over 25 years ago. They are currently undergoing a $1.65 million expansion of their Downtown location to accommodate more people and larger classes.


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