Large new Community Reinvestment Grant will see GRID and Homeboy bring training to communities affected by injustice

Read more from GO-Biz about their innovative approach to community change here.

Last month, GRID Alternatives Greater Los Angeles (GLA) and Homeboy Industries were awarded a $650,000 California Community Reinvestment Grant (CCRG), the largest workforce development grant to date for GLA initiatives. The funds, which were awarded through The Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), are designed to help local health departments and community-based nonprofits bring needed change to address the impact of the "War on Drugs."

Over a two-year period, this large investment will bring services to 150 reentry citizens, including paid training for thirty-six individuals. This joint grant will help to strengthen the existing partnership between GLA and Homeboy Industries while expanding Homeboy’s Solar Panel Installation Training staff. We could not feel more excited and honored to support the goals of the program, while simultaneously providing needed and valuable resources to our local community!

Over the grant period, CalCRG funds will help individuals who have previously experienced incarceration as they navigate barriers to reentry, leading them to gainful employment in the booming solar industry and other related occupations.

Additionally, next year GLA will also provide 50 to 60 paid internships for other underserved individuals from local communities who face high barriers to employment, people who can similarly benefit from access to training and 21st-century green jobs. This will be done through funding from three other primary sources: Watts Transformative Climate Communities funds, Pacoima TCC funds, and a Wells Fargo workforce grant. Combined, this will result in a direct investment of several hundred thousand dollars in paid training for individuals from local communities—resulting in millions of dollars in future earnings for those who complete their training and move on to solar and related industry careers.

These recent successes are due in large part to the efforts of GLA’s Workforce Development team and GLA’s Executive Director, who have placed a growing emphasis on expanding our workforce development program while increasing our overall profile. Since moving to the City of Los Angeles in 2015, GLA has increased its programmatic capacity for workforce development and become recognized as a major driver for an equitable solar workforce by providing training and industry job placement in the Greater Los Angeles region.

Today, our program is recognized for its Workforce Development efforts almost as much as it is for its solar installation program. We have forged partnerships with industry employers at all levels. We now sit on several advisory committees and boards for vocational programs and community colleges. We are part of the City of Los Angeles’ Blue Ribbon Commission on Employment Equity. We are recognized as a certified social enterprise by LA RISE and the City of Los Angeles respectively, and we have a Master Agreement with the County of Los Angeles Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services department. We are fully vested in the work of opening doors for those who need it most and are recognized for our work by the City and County of Los Angeles as Fair Chance Hiring Employers. We are also key community partners in LA’s Green New Deal. Just as important, we recently supassed 500 hires since 2012, a pledge that we made to Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2016. We have grown a lot since our humble beginnings in Carson—but we still have much more work to do.

As we move towards the last quarter of 2019, we are in the final stages of another major accomplishment and milestone for our organization (and more specifically, our Workforce Development department). By the end of this year, we will have provided close to 50 paid internships for individuals from local communities (75 over the last two years), including formerly incarcerated individuals, military veterans, opportunity youth, and women. 

We are proud of the work we’ve done and the value we’ve added to our local community. We are thankful to work for an organization that is committed to social and environmental justice, equity and access. GRID has given us a platform to uplift local communities like ours in truly meaningful and impactful ways. We want to continue to set in place the foundation needed so that others will carry on the work well after we have moved on!

There is so much more to the work that we all do day in and day out, than what people may see on the surface. Know that your work is valued and together we are impacting our local communities; the change in people’s lives is real. Let’s keep fighting the good fight together, and continue to be the change that we want to see.