First trainees complete ‘GOOD + LIFE’ program

A homeless prevention strategy

OW Staff Writer | 7/31/2020, midnight

The GOOD+LIFE Manufacturing Training Program (GOOD+LIFE)— a Lost Angels Children’s Project (LACP) social enterprise, in partnership with the City of Lancaster, L.A. County Office of Education (LACOE), L.A. County Department of Public Social Services (DPSS), and the L.A. County Homeless Initiative —has announced the graduation of nine students. 

Similar to other recent graduations, the ceremony included a virtual and drive-through ceremony. Masks and social distancing measures were in place and, of course, a typical photo opportunity for each graduate. But, that is the only thing typical about this innovative program. 

GOOD+LIFE is a key homelessness prevention strategy in the City’s Homelessness Plan. It recognizes that many Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) attempting to progress into independent living and adulthood experience barriers associated with shelter and employment causing them to end up homeless. The program combats this by offering vocational training, professional skills, and paid apprenticeships for TAY, ages 18 to 25, who are currently experiencing or are at risk of homelessness and/or unemployment. 

The GOOD+LIFE Manufacturing Training Program was created as a direct response to the crisis at hand, providing TAY with life skills, workforce training, employment opportunities, and connections to supportive services and housing linkages to prevent experiences of homelessness. The City of Lancaster initiated the creation of the GOOD+LIFE program, providing $110,000 of its allocated L.A. County Measure H grants. 

In fall 2018, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved $9 million in Measure H funding to bolster the work of cities in implementing city-specific plans to combat and prevent homelessness and help cities enhance the effectiveness of County service systems for those experiencing and/or are at-risk of homelessness. 

“The innovative GOOD+LIFE program provides young adults in need with the necessary skills to obtain gainful employment and improve their quality of life. We applaud all the GOOD+LIFE graduates on learning new skills and wish them success in their future careers,” said City of Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris. “We trust that the experience of taking part in this program has had a positive and lasting impact on each graduate’s life, benefitting not only the students but their families and our community as a whole.” 

During this 12-week program, LACP teaches TAY how to develop a revenue-generating business operated by young adults, providing the students with an internship, apprenticeship, and a temporary paid position. Training includes instruction in industrial arts including welding, metal shaping, and woodworking, which are used in furniture design and fabrication applications, as well as instruction in forklift operation.

Simultaneously, LACOE provides job search activities and a job skills training course, “Bring Your ‘A Game’ to Work,” which is tailored and customized to identify and address participants’ professional/personal barriers to employment. LACOE also handles outreach and enrollment. Upon graduation, the City, LACOE, and LACP help the students find permanent employment. 

The funding dovetailed with one of the key findings from the City’s homelessness plan: the need for a greater focus on homelessness prevention specifically through workforce development training, job creation, and employment sustainability. Transitioning young adults into adulthood via a social enterprise is a proven approach that gives youth access to training that is relevant to the needs of the market, establishes links with businesses, and creates an effective route into employment. 

As such, in August 2019, the City Council accepted the award of the Measure H funding and approved a proposal to create a social enterprise in partnership with Lost Angels Children’s Project, resulting in the program which is now known as GOOD+LIFE Manufacturing Social Enterprise. 

For more information on the GOOD+LIFE Manufacturing Training Program, visit www.lostangelscp.org/goodlifemfg.