EWDD General Manager Jan Perry (back row, center) visited former American Apparel Workers at the Northeast Los Angeles WorkSource Center who are learning new skills to stay in the apparel industry (photo courtesy of @GoodwillSoCal)
EWDD General Manager Jan Perry visited the Northeast Los Angeles WorkSource Center on February 2, 2018 to address a class of students who lost their jobs at American Apparel and are now learning new skills to stay in the apparel industry.

“Our goal is to help them see the value of what we’re doing to equip them to be cross-trained,” said Clotee McAfee, founder of the Stitches Workforce Advisory Services (Stitches), an initiative designed to train skilled apparel makers to become experienced sample makers and line sewers at apparel companies.

In July 2017, the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) awarded $3 million in federal funds to EWDD and the County of LA Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services (WDACS) to retrain 600 workers that were laid off from clothing manufacturer American Apparel.

Stitches provides a 12-week course to help workers bring their skills to a higher level, training them to work for high-end designers and quality apparel makers, Clotee said.

At the Northeast LA WorkSource Center, run by EWDD partner Goodwill Industries of Southern California, students demonstrated their new training by showing samples of high-end letterman jackets that they had sown.

While many former American Apparel workers have transitioned to other careers, Stitches offers training to workers who want to continue working in the apparel industry.

“The ones that are in the industry have a passion for it,” Clotee said. “They want to stay in the industry.”

Learn more about EWDD Employment Services and WorkSource Centers

This story is part of the EWDD UPDATES from the week of 2/5/2018. Read this issue and more.