What Works


City of Los Angeles Targeted Local Hire Program

Los Angeles, CA

Presented at the WDC Board and Annual Winter Meeting — January 23-24, 2019

In December 2015, the City of Los Angeles signed a Letter of Agreement with the Los Angeles Coalition of City Unions to form a “Targeted Local Hire Working Group.” The Working Group was given the task of designing a Targeted Local Hire Program to provide underserved Los Angeles residents from vulnerable populations with meaningful job training and civil service career opportunities in City departments. To chair the Working Group, the City tapped Jackie Goldberg, a respected community member and public official who has served on the California legislature, Los Angeles City Council and the Los Angeles Unified District School Board (she was re-elected to the board in early 2019). Over the course of over 50 meetings and discussions, the Working Group, with voting members of equal number representing City management and labor, developed a program framework to be implemented by the City’s Personnel Department.

Applicants must initially be referred to the Targeted Local Hire Program by approved program partners, which consist of community based organizations (CBOs), agencies, and WorkSource Centers around the city. These “Referral Agencies” assess prospective applicants for basic job readiness and if appropriate, refer them to the program and assist the applicant with making an appointment to apply at an approved application site. Other than basic job readiness, there is no other minimum requirement to apply.

The program’s applicant pool is then split into two tiers of applicants. “Tier 1” targeted categories include citizens who were formerly homeless, incarcerated, or gang members, as well as veterans, transgender individuals, individuals with disabilities, older workers protected under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and foster, transition age, or disconnected youth. Tier 1 candidates may also include residents from designated zip codes “where the rate of unemployment is equal to or higher than the unemployment rate in the County of Los Angeles and/or where the median annual household income is less than the median poverty rate in the County of Los Angeles.” Candidates not identifying as any of the categories described above may still apply, but they are designated as Tier 2 candidates. Tier 1 applicants are provided with a higher chance to be randomly selected to be referred to City departments for hiring consideration for a program position. If an applicant is not accepted to the program within one year of applying, they have the option to renew their application every year.

Successful program applicants selected for hire by city departments begin as Vocational Workers or Office Trainees, where they receive on-the-job training in a specific career pathway (see Figure 1). Program candidates prove a minimum level of competency for the job pathway during this six month on-the-job training period, rather than through the traditional written civil service exam.

Upon satisfactory completion of the six-month training period, Vocational Workers and Office Trainees are eligible to be transitioned into probationary “Assistant” positions corresponding to their area of training, such as an Office Services Assistant, Assistant Gardener, or Maintenance Assistant. Program participants must successfully complete a six month probationary period before being able to transition into regular, full-time civil service positions, such as an Administrative Clerk, Gardener Caretaker, or Maintenance Laborer.


The Targeted Local Hire Program has proven to be effective at recruiting applicants from targeted categories and transitioning successful participants into regular, full-time positions at City departments. All Los Angeles City departments have been instructed to participate in the program, per an executive directive issued by Mayor Eric Garcetti in April 2016. Implementation of the program began with a soft launch in January 2017, followed by a Phase 1 launch in March 2017 and a full launch in July 2017.

As of June 30, 2019, the program had received a total of 9,356 applications, of which 5,386 applications were active (i.e. applications less than one year old or renewed from previous year/s). Ninety percent of active applications represented targeted Tier 1 categories: nearly two-thirds of applicants came from high unemployment and/or low income zip codes; over one-third of applicants identified themselves as older workers; over one-quarter of applicants identified themselves as homeless or formerly homeless; over ten percent were formerly incarcerated; and nearly ten percent of applicants were individuals with disabilities. In total, 605 applicants have been hired to the program, with a little over half who have now successfully completed the on-the-job training and probationary periods.

The Los Angeles Targeted Local Hire Program is an excellent example of “What Works” when labor unions, elected officials, and city management come together to ensure that vulnerable City residents from underserved populations are provided with meaningful opportunities for job training and careers in civil service.  If you would like to learn more about the Los Angeles Targeted Local Hire Program and introduce a similar program in your City, please visit https://lalocalhire.lacity.org/ or contact Vincent Cordero at (213) 473-9367 or vincent.cordero@lacity.org.

Using SNAP 50-50 to Expand Workforce Services, Generate Revenue & Sustain Programs – Worksystems Inc.

Portland, OR

Presented at the Mayors and Workforce Board Leaders Meeting — April 22-23, 2019

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 50-50 is a federal grant program that reimburses providers with 50% of certain costs of programs that use non-federal funds to improve existing services or create new services for SNAP recipients. States are required by law to operate a variety of SNAP programs, including Employment & Training (E&T) programs which provide SNAP participants with the skills and training they need to succeed in the workforce. In Oregon, the state Department of Health and Human Services is responsible for managing the SNAP grant program and determining SNAP recipients.

Worksystems Inc. is an organization in Portland, Oregon, that supports the regional Workforce Development Board and invests in workforce development activities for SNAP recipients under Portland’s SNAP E&T 50-50 “Career Boost” program. Worksystems plays an intermediary role by convening and coordinating service delivery partners within a consortium program. Service providers such as community colleges and nonprofits deliver program services for SNAP participants, including career coaching, vocational training opportunities, and job placement services. The consortium approach allows Worksystems to also provide services such as transportation assistance, childcare, or housing to SNAP 50/50 recipients – benefits that are not typically included under SNAP 50/50 but fall within Worksystems’ network of providers.

Over the last three years, Worksystems has been able to quadruple its federal match funding from $355,000 to an anticipated $1.5 million in the upcoming year, double the number of SNAP recipients served from 402 to an anticipated 910, and increase the number of partner organizations it works with from 12 to 14. Through its consortium approach, Worksystems is now better able to serve SNAP recipients and the larger community under a “One-Stop System” which provides workforce development resources for over 50,000 people on an annual basis. Rather than competing for federal funding, providers in the area are now able to cooperate as part of a single team and provide greater benefits to the community through a single point of contact.

Would you like to learn more about the consortium approach that Worksystems Inc. is using to implement SNAP 50-50 E&T Programs in Oregon? Please contact Andrew McGough at (503) 478-7371 or amcgough@worksystems.org.