L.A. stories of inspiration and success

L.A. stories of inspiration and success

Ebony Mckinney, LA:RISE Youth Academy participant, studying between her Central City Neighborhood Partners intern shifts
A balancing act between working and attending school is already difficult and can be impossible when facing housing insecurity. This was the situation that Ebony Mckinney found herself facing as she began aging out of the foster care system.

Mckinney learned about the LA:RISE Youth Academy through the UCLA Youthsource Center and joined with aspirations to gain work experience and make the most of the support services. At the time, Mckinney worked as an intern at the Central City Neighborhood Partners (CCNP), helping sort and package food for the weekly food distributions. During her employment, Mckinney enrolled in the GEM Academy at CCNP in hopes of obtaining a high school diploma while working. As she expressed, “Going to school at the same location has truly made her feel like her goals [are] attainable.”

Mckinney reflected upon the time spent at GEM Academy preparing for the future, stating, "It's never too late to start!" Mckinney aspires to graduate high school and then attend college to major in Nursing or Child Development.

EWDD is a leadership team partner of the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE), an innovative, collaborative partnership that unites the City and County of Los Angeles’ Workforce Development System with non-profit social enterprises and for-profit employers to help people with high barriers to employment get good jobs and stay employed.

The City’s WorkSource Centers and LA:RISE prioritize individuals recently released from prison, the unsheltered or those at risk of homelessness, and youth ages 18-24 who are neither in school nor employed. After working in a transitional job at a social enterprise, leveraging WorkSource Center training and services, LA:RISE participants are placed in permanent jobs within the private or the public sector.

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from December 2023. Read this issue and more.