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Job Fair in Boyle Heights Opens Doors to L.A. Youth

Collaboration between two Los Angeles City agencies produced a job fair for young people that brought a diverse range of employers to Boyle Heights on Tuesday afternoon. Officials estimated that over 70 people attended the job fair hosted at the Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center. The job fair, sponsored by Hire L.A.’s Youth and the Youth Opportunity Movement, featured over 15 different employers representing a wide range of fields from sales, labor and government jobs. Both agencies are part of the Community Development Department (CDD) run by City Hall.

David Ortiz of Boyle Heights, walked out of the fair with a job application from the California Conservation Corps. The 18-year-old said he was attracted by the opportunity to work outdoors. Monique Moncayo, 24, who said in addition to accompanying Ortiz, she was doing research for the students she works with at Legacy L.A., a Boyle Heights nonprofit organization.

Ruby A. Sotelo, a senior workforce development analyst with CDD, said the primary focus was to prepare young people to enter the workforce. In addition to coordinating job fairs, Sotelo works with Hire L.A.’s Youth, a project sponsored by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to encourage private, public and non-profit organizations to provide entry-level jobs to Los Angeles youths. The program is coordinated by the CDD.

Sotelo said the program targets residents between the ages of 18-24. The youths are prescreened after they attend workshops and complete a work readiness certificate. This certificate consists of a mock job interview, a basic math test and a customer service workshop.

Jasmine Alvarado, project coordinator for Youth Opportunity Movement, said Tuesday’s fair was the first fair the group has coordinated for the fiscal year, which started on Oct 1. The organization, which operates on three different locations in Boyle Heights, is also part of the CDD. She said they always have had a good relationship with several companies such as UPS, Starbucks and FedEx.

As the fair came to a close, Veronica Ortiz, a 22-year-old Boyle Heights resident spent time talking with the Los Angeles County Probations Department. She said she wanted to go home to read the application and see the requirements needed for qualification.

Employers at the job fair included UPS, Food 4 Less, Union Bank of California, the Los Angeles Fire Department and the Long Beach Police Department.

Sotelo said Hire L.A’s Youth next step is to coordinate a larger job fair in January that will include more community partners. For more information about this program and future hiring events visit www.layouththatwork.org