Youth Workforce Services

Expanding our commitment to Workforce Development and Financial Stability for families, Para Los Niños provides Youth Workforce Services (YWS) in the East Los Angeles area and focuses on dropout recovery and prevention.

About YWS

Youth Workforce Services, funded by the City of Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department, serves close to 1,000 youth ages 14 to 24 in collaboration with AltaMed Health Services Corporation, East Los Angeles Skills Center, LAUSD and California State University Los Angeles. In addition we partner with other nonprofit, government, and business organizations, including area high schools, vocational schools, post-secondary institutions and alternative schools.

We provide seamless, integrated and comprehensive academic, workforce and post-secondary education preparation and training, including paid and unpaid work experience, basic skills training, computer literacy, mentoring, career counseling, job placement, case management, and other activities. Para Los Niños also provides paid work experience to hundreds of youth every year.

Our Goal

Our goal is to place young people on the path to living wage jobs with career ladders. Recognizing that the best path to higher lifelong earnings is a good education, Youth Workforce Services (YWS) reengages disconnected youth back in school and encourages and motivates high school students to stay in school.  We provide assistance to young people ages 14 to 24 in meeting graduation and admission requirements, as well as applying for financial aid and scholarships. YWS offers linkage to after-school tutoring, art workshops, music workshops, leadership building events, college visits, SAT preparation classes, peer and adult mentoring, and field trips — services provided by our center and other agency programs.

YWS Supportive Services

YWS supportive services include tuition and book reimbursement, bus tokens, gas reimbursement, food and clothing vouchers, childcare referrals, mental health referrals, and a variety of services to support the youth and their families. YWS provides placements in unsubsidized work experiences, paid internships, and opportunities to complete work-readiness training under qualified, caring, experienced professionals.

Furthermore, YWS partners with community employers to support youth in developing their confidence, skills and competencies for furthering their education and entering the workforce. Specific activities include (but are not limited to):

  • Paid internships
  • Job readiness training
  • Work Readiness Credential (WRC) - Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and East Los Angeles College
  • Mentorship opportunities
  • High School Graduation Advisement (A-G Requirements)
  • Leadership Development- volunteer opportunities, communication skills training,
  • Advocacy
  • Driver’s Education
  • Educational Cost Reimbursement
  • Fieldtrips
  • Tutoring/Remediation
  • Referrals to alternative secondary school
  • Job Placements
  • Occupational/Vocational skills training
  • Supportive services- bus pass, tokens, clothing for school, school supplies, etc.
  • Clothing resources
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Budgeting and financial literacy
  • Assistance and linkage for health care
  • Linkage to Substance abuse counseling
  • Community Resource Fairs
  • Family College Day
  • College Entrance Exam Reimbursements

Financial Literacy

Recognizing that many youth’s families are functionally financially illiterate, a key facet of the Youth Workforce Services program is instilling “financial literacy” in participants. Youth have received training in basic money management, in the use (and abuse) of credit, in budgeting, and in investing for the future. Youth are encouraged to develop personal budgets, to open savings accounts, to apply for financial aid for college, and to plan for their financial futures. Financial literacy activities are held throughout the year, in conjunction with participants’ internships. These services are provided in partnership with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and Operation Hope.

GED Preparation Class

The class is facilitated by a credentialed LAUSD instructor and is teacher directed. Participants also receive updated material and are linked to an LAUSD GED testing site. Class meets Monday to Friday from 10am-12pm and there is open enrollment. There are no zip code or age requirements to participate.

Academic Assessments

LAUSD PSA Counselors conduct student assessments, develop intervention plans, and provide guidance for youth ages 14-24 who are at risk or have already dropped out of school, or who might have behavioral, social or attendance issues.

Truancy Diversion Program

Historically, a student caught by police as truant would be issued a citation.  The youth and his/her family would be required to attend court.  This method is completely punitive and does not offer an opportunity for positive intervention.   Today, youth identified as truant by LAPD or LAUSD School Police are issued a referral to a Youth Source Center (Para Los Niños) where a PSA Counselor helps identify their obstacles to attending school and offers placement in a school environment where they may be successful.   This new alternative keeps students in school while engaging families to take advantages of resources.

Additionally, as we place young people in internships at schools, non-profit organizations, and small businesses, we are connecting them with our community and helping them gain experience in sectors identified by the U.S. Department of Labor as having high-growth, high-earnings potential. These sectors include advanced manufacturing, the automotive industry, construction, financial services, health care, homeland security, hospitality, information technology, retail, and transportation.

Please call (323) 275-9309 ext. 223 for more information or referrals. Organizations interested in participating in our internship program may contact Jorge Orozco, Director of Youth Workforce Services, at

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