Los Angeles, CA – On Thursday, January 26, Korean Churches for Community Development (KCCD) held a press conference to announce its API JOBS (Job Opportunities & Business Success) Initiative, through a grant funded by the City of Los Angeles Underserved RFP for Workforce Development. This initiative, in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, will be the first of its kind to serve the Asian Pacific Islander (API) community in providing and connecting vocational training, employment, career pathway, community and social services to linguistically isolated participants and their family members.
Hyepin Im, KCCD President and CEO stated, “We are pleased to announce this exciting and historic initiative and we are grateful to the City of Los Angeles and to all our partners for making this day possible. The API community is the second largest minority population in Los Angeles County and yet our communities continue to be underserved. In the City of Los Angeles, the API community represents 10% of those who are unemployed but only 6% are accessing services available in the City’s Worksource Centers. As a result of this alarming low statistic, a group of API organizations came together to advocate to the City of Los Angeles in identifying ways to serve the API population. A two-year effort, this is an initiative that has been a long time coming. We are thankful to all our partners who will be working together to make this a success.”
“The API community faces significant language barriers and at the same time have high rates of small business ownership. As an example, in Los Angeles County, Koreans have the highest rate of language barrier at 60%. Due to such barriers, it prevents the community, both job seekers and employers, from accessing resources and services available to the broader community. We are excited about addressing some of these barriers and creating connections and synergies between the job opportunities as well as empowering business owners in order to hire more employees,” added Hyepin Im.
Press conference speakers included officials within the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Community College District Board, and from community organizations. All praised the efforts in launching the API JOBS initiative, which has been in talks for the past two years with the City. “We haven’t done this in the scale it is now,” stated Charlie Woo, Chair of the Workforce Development Board for the City of Los Angeles. He commended the persistence of KCCD President/CEO Hyepin Im in pursuit of this City project.
“KCCD was selected because of its many years spent building their vision with providing a broad array of social services, with a very well thought out strategic positioning in reaching out to the community” stated Jan Perry, General Manager of the Economic and Workforce Development Department for the City of Los Angeles. She looked forward and was “glad to be here” in working together to assist the API community. The same sentiments were shared by Gregg Irish, Executive Director of the Workforce Development Board. “Our strength is our diversity” he states, where he wants everyone to “lend your voice to this effort.” Hyepin Im affirmed his statement – “Today is a celebration of all that effort.”
Betty Hung, Policy Director at the Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles, and one of the key organizations who helped to advocate to the City, applauded the City’s remarks on having diversity in workforce development. “This is historic,” she stated, “as the API JOBS initiative will provide opportunities for those in Los Angeles to access the workforce development system and access to good living wage jobs. Thank you KCCD for taking on this challenge.”
Mike Eng and Mike Fong, Trustees from the Los Angeles Community College District Board shared statistics, most notably from Mike Eng that “on any given day, there is an institution that educates the largest number of at-risk educational youth in higher education of 250,000 students.” Surprisingly, he also shared after disaggregation of API data, that API youth are dropping out at the same rate as other minorities, including Latino and African-American youth. But within the LA Community College District, “a billion dollars is in their accounts”, to support students to have the skills necessary to pursue careers. He shared how much of the institution is “almost, very inaccessible” for partnerships and collaborations. Both him and Mike Fong want to “re-establish partnerships with the community, particularly with businesses.”
“Jobs are critical at this time more than ever” stated Mike Fong. One such program is the LA Promise, where graduates of the LA Unified School District will be able to obtain one year free community college education. “Anything to support your efforts, we are here to help.”
KCCD will be working with Workforce Connections Inc. and Jan Tokumaru, from the California Labor Federation Workforce and Economic Development Program to implement the Initiative.
For those interested in the The API JOBS initiative program, KCCD will be holding orientations for prospective job-seekers. Please visit www.kccd.org to sign up for an orientation or call 213-985-1500.
Press conference attendees as well as KCCD API Partner Network members of the API JOBS initiative include:
Alberto Uribe, Executive Director, Community Career Development, Inc. (CCD)Annika Yeo, Board Member, KCCD / Korean Contractors AssociationAquilina Soriano Versoza, Executive Director, Pilipino Workers Center of Southern CaliforniaBen Pak, Deputy, Senator Kevin De LeonCelia Andrade, Administrative Officer-in-Charge, Energy & Environmental Services, Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment (PACE)Chancee Martorell, Executive Director, Thai CDCMark Masaoka, Policy Director, Asian Pacific Policy & Planning Council (A3PCON)Miriam Scott Long, Regional Manager, Strategic Business and Construction Career Resources, MetroNongyao Varanond, Executive Director, Thai Health and Information Services, Inc.Pastor Stephen McGlover, President, California Community Connection Corporation / Freewill Missionary Baptist churchPaul Jung, Executive Director, Project 4R