Dustin Kramer, LA:RISE participant
Dustin Kramer, 23, is part of the LGBTQIA community and has been navigating life alone since being impacted by the justice system. He does not have a close relationship with his family and after his charges, his family withdrew their support completely. He is currently on parole supervision.

LA:RISE partner Center for Employment Opportunity (CEO) helped connect Dustin with re-entry services, along with employment readiness training. He actively worked with his job coach and job developer, who have assisted him with resume building and job interview training.

Dustin has also received supportive services, including: Metro TAP cards for public transportation accessibility and weekly TAP reloads, assistance with DPSS Snap & Medical Enrollment, in-office interview clothing, LYFT transportation for urgent needs, housing navigation through LAHSA, legal assistance and therapy.

Dustin is currently employed at a cafe in Santa Monica. He recently married his partner Bella. LA:RISE has assisted Dustin with building a strong work ethic and ultimately achieving a feeling of financial security.

"Don't give up on trying to find a place, a job, or anything that you want to accomplish. It is hard to survive sometimes when you are homeless, but you have to look at the bright side. The word 'No' won't stop the next opportunity and just because one door closes doesn't mean another one will close. We have to keep knocking!"

Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE)
A Social Enterprise Solution to Help the At-Risk Join the Workforce

EWDD is a leadership team partner of 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 the week of December 20, 2021. Read this issue and more.