Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Do You Know Someone Who's Been Laid Off From One of These Companies?

LA Fellows don't pay a dime for the training they receive through our program, thanks to grants and special funding through our WorkSource partners. The top notch instructors, the materials, the coaching and strategic matches with the nonprofit organizations, the cohort experience - all of that is taken care of financially so that the Fellows can put in their best effort and concentrate on the job search.

We have been asked to get the word out about a important grant, called New Directions, that has been set aside to assist workers from a select group of companies. Workers who have been laid off from the following companies, on or after the date listed, may be eligible for free training through LA Fellows.

If you or anyone you know worked for any company on this list and may be able to take advantage of this opportunity, please call us at the Job Training office at Los Angeles Valley College, (818) 947-2941 and ask to speak to Mary or Allison about New Directions for LA Fellows. We also encourage you to check our website,, and come to an orientation either December 5th or December 10th. Details are on the website, and classes begin on January 5, 2015.

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne - 03/31/14
  • Aircraft Service  International Group (ASIG) - 11/30/13
  • Allied Beverages, Inc. - 11/12/13
  • AMMEX Entertainment, Inc. -Las Palmas  Ballroom - 2/6/14
  • ARAMARK Sports & Entertainment Services, LLC.(c/o: L.A. Convention Center) - 12/31/13
  • Atlantic Express Transportation Corp. - 12/31/13
  • Buerge Ford  & Chrysler - 3/8/14
  • California Auto Mart Group, Inc. - 6/18/14
  • Cedars-Sinai Medical Center - 6/3/13
  • Coda Automobile - 7/15/13
  • Community Development Institute - 7/31/13
  • Delaware  North  Companies Travel Hospitality Services, Inc. (DNC) - 12/01/13
  • DTT Surveillance - 10/1/13
  • Electronic Arts, Inc. - 12/13/13
  • G2 Secure Staff, Inc. - 5/14/14
  • Gilly Hicks - 1/26/14
  • HemaCare Corp. - 12/8/13
  • Intuit - 9/9/13
  • JP Morgan  Chase - 10/11/13
  • Kaiser  Permanente - 12/31/13
  • Loehmans (La Cienega, Tarzana) - 2/28/14
  • McDonald's - 12/1/13
  • Menzies - 4/1/14
  • Motion Picture Television Fund  (Wasserman  Campus)  - 6/1/14
  • Natural Balance Pet Foods, Inc. - 12/31/13
  • NBC Universal - 11/11/13
  • Northridge Hospital Medical Center - 10/28/13
  • Omnicare - 5/23/13
  • Orchard Supply Hardware - 10/25/13
  • Paramount Pictures - 10/1/13
  • Ralphs Grocery Company - 1/17/14
  • - 12/13/13
  • Shriner's Hospital - 6/6/14
  • Siemens Healthcare - 6/1/14
  • Technicolor - 12/21/13
  • The Fat Cow, FCLA LP - 3/28/14
  • U.S. Aviation Services Corp -LA - 5/1/14
  • Wallenius Wilhelmsen  Logistics  Americus, Inc. (WWL) - 4/19/14
  • Walt Disney Pictures - 6/9/13
If you are interested in LA Fellows but have not worked at any of the listed companies, fear not - the New Directions grant is not the only source of funding available. We welcome anyone who is unemployed and in need of a boost to their job search to come to an orientation and see if LA Fellows might be the right next step for them.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Another Award for LA Fellows

We are proud to announce that The South Bay Workforce Investment Board presented an "Outstanding Achievement" award to Los Angeles Valley College Job Training for the LA Fellows program recently at their 19th annual Alumni Awards Breakfast. The ceremony was held October 23rd at the Ayres Hotel in Hawthorne. The annual event honors recent alumni who have completed technical training in a variety of fields as well as the corporations that provided jobs and a variety of institutions and agencies (like LAVC Job Training and LA Fellows) that provided the training that was funded by grants made possible by the SBWIB. More than 300 civic leaders, elected officials, job providers and training institution representatives were in attendance.

LAVC Job Training also garnered awards for its Microsoft Academy, Manufacturing Academy, Human Resources assistant Academy and Customer Service programs.

The South Bay Workforce Investment Board (SBWIB) oversees a nine city consortium through which over 100,000 youth, adults and dislocated workers annually receive a wide range of self-help and staff-assisted career services including labor market information, on-line career profiles, career interest inventories, supportive service referrals, vocational counseling, technical training and job placement assistance.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

New Orientation Dates and Location Added for Cohort 11


Free Workshop: Preventing Computer Viruses

On Tuesday October 28, 2014, Team Business Burbank and Los Angeles Valley College Job Training office (home of LA Fellows) is presenting another free 2-hour workshop: Preventing Computer Viruses. These free workshops are a great resource to share with your network and are relevant to business professionals across the board, regardless of their current employment status. Instructional workshops like this add value to a resume, give professionals a chance to network and meet new people, and are also a great talking point when an interviewer asks, "So what have you been doing since your last job?"
Everyone is welcome. Share this on your social media sites and be sure to register!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Opportunity... by LA Fellow Sara Lamog

Have you ever heard of the Thomas Edison quote, “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” If you have, well done! If not, no worries -- we’re one in the same. 

Before embarking on the LA Fellows journey I didn’t know a lot of things, this quote being one of the them. Or more accurately, maybe it was that I didn’t know how to do a lot of things. That all began to change when I attended an LA Fellows orientation.
It was last May when I first caught wind of the program. Recently returned from serving in the Peace Corps, unemployed, and living at home, I was deep in my job search. One late night, my mom told me she saw a story on the KTLA news about a career opportunity that might be a good fit for everything I’d been looking for. “It’s for non-profits,” she said. “You’d be good at that. It’s called LA Fellows.”

The next morning, I was glued to my computer screen--looking up the website, learning about the program’s mission, and reading the testimonials. When I saw that there were three upcoming orientation sessions scheduled within the next three Fridays, I thought the timing of it all was too good to pass up.

To be completely honest, the time spent between finding LA Fellows and attending the orientation was marked by doubt (“Am I ready for this?”) and insecurity (“What if I’m not what they’re looking for?”), but ultimately belief in the challenge (“Yes I am, I can do this”). There it was: an opportunity dressed in overalls and looking like work. I decided I was ready and I was going to make it work.  

When orientation finally arrived, I remember walking into the room feeling nervous but just as excited to get a glimpse of the program first-hand. For those two hours, I was hooked on the program’s mission to help individuals finding meaningful employment. I was transfixed by the excitement, dedication, and understanding each of the speakers showed the crowd as they spoke about their LA Fellows experience. But what really clinched it for me was how inspiring the Program Director’s enthusiasm was for both the program she led and the people she worked with.

As I left the orientation that day, not only did I feel even more excited and eager to become an LA Fellow, I felt different about myself. Instead of feeling like my career path was taking a step in a new direction, I felt as if my career path was becoming more focused, realigned, and reaffirmed. And that was only after attending the orientation! 
Fast-forward to present day. Here I am a proud LA Fellow. I am beyond happy to say that I am employed as part of the LA Valley College Job Training team and have gained a broader outlook on all of the things I’ve learned from the program, including the saying “Opportunity is missed by most people because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work” (thank you Lynnette Ward). Orientation proved to be just the beginning of an eye-opening journey to finding more focus, alignment, and affirmation for both my career goals and for myself. To any future Fellows reading this, I hope you’ll find it does that for you too.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How LA Fellows Helped Me Land My Next Job

A few weeks after the most recent training ended, the staff received the following email from LA Fellows Cohort 10 graduate Yoonsin Park. She has given us permission to post it in edited form.

I wanted to send this e-mail to notify everyone of my accepting a temporary position at Avanquest as an Order Processor. The position is set to last up until mid-to-late December.
The reason I'm sending this is because of how this job came about and how much it represents everything we have learned from LA Fellows.
I just happened to be home and on my computer when I received an e-mail from Mary (Program Assistant for LA Fellows, and an LA Fellow from Cohort 7), asking if this position would be something I would be interested in. Initially, due to the job title I didn't think I would be but when I read through the job description, I realized I would be using my Photoshop skills and would be gaining Photoshop 'work' experience which up to this point I don't have, though I use it personally on my own photographs.
Within minutes of responding back to Mary of my interest, I received an e-mail from my friend Pat Luc (LA Fellow from Cohort 8) who had been included in an outreach group e-mail by Daryl Salrin (Also from Cohort 8, whom Terry Proctor from Cohort 8 had mentioned in a talk he had with Cohort 10). Daryl was searching for candidates for this very same position. Daryl had recently gotten a position at Avanquest as a Recruiter, through her friend who is an HR Director there. Does the word 'networking' come to mind?
I immediately followed up with Daryl, introducing myself as an LA Fellows’ alumna and at her request sent my resume. Daryl then sent it to the "powers that be" and said she would be in touch. To my surprise, she contacted me the next day asking me to come in for an interview! I wasn't expecting it to be so quick.
To prepare for my interview, these are some of the things I did, remembering our teachers' advice and the many takeaways:
Keri: To calm myself for the interview, I remembered that if you are called in for an interview, they WANT to like you and are hoping you will be the solution to their problem.
Lynnette: I read each line of the job description and came up with examples of stories that utilized the skills they were asking for.
Kim: I wrote down answers that would overcome any objections they might have such as having my own company, no Photoshop work experience, long length of unemployment, etc.
Larry: Due to the exercises on "value" and being "clear", I knew I liked the company. The company is public but still currently small, creative with an easy going air and they are fine with people having their own independent side projects as long as it doesn't interfere with the job. The office is so colorful and artistically decorated. You know you are in a creative environment!
Nancy Alexander (LA Fellow Cohort 10): I wore the bracelet she made for our group so I would have Cohort 10's support with me for good luck! While waiting for the interview, I looked at it and was humming in my head Larry's LA Fellows theme song, not so much to rev me up but more to keep me calm and relaxed!
The interview went well, and the Manager I will be working with was very surprised at my preparedness.
The first interview question he asked me was NOT the dreaded, "Tell me about yourself". Instead, he first asked me what I knew about the company. Due to the research I had done, I was able to give him a general overview. It seems that alone impressed him and after that, the interview became a conversation. From Keri's class, I didn't forget that the goal was to stay focused, so in every instance, I gave him examples of what I have done and imparted my experience and knowledge.
He was surprised I knew he had an oil painting background and actually asked me how I knew. I told him I read his bio on LinkedIn. :)
The interview ended with him saying Daryl would be in touch with me.
The next day, before I had even sent out my thank you note, I was e-mailed a job offer letter.
In that letter, my pay rate was different from what I was originally told. When I pointed that out to Daryl thinking it was a typo, she told me that because I was so prepared, my manager had raised my starting rate even though the pay rate was locked. It reminded me of Lynnette's saying, "Be the shiny penny".
If you have read down this far, I appreciate your patience. This long-winded story is not in any way to self-congratulate. My pay rate is modest, and the position I have accepted is entry level. I believe this is why my manager was surprised at my knowledge and how prepared I was for his questions.
This story is more to showcase how well LA Fellows has prepared me as I continue to pursue job openings in the future.
Be assured, while in my temporary position I will be networking as much as possible to make connections as well as working hard to leave the best impression so I may be considered for any future job availability.
I know I would not have been as confident going into this interview as I was without the knowledge I have gained from being in the LA Fellows program.
THANK YOU to all the teachers in this program, you have left me with such a profound impression for which I am truly grateful!
Yoonsin Park

Friday, October 10, 2014

Orientation Dates Announced for Cohort 11


Free Training for Job Seekers

Who are the LA Fellows?

LA Fellows are motivated, hard-working, enthusiastic individuals, with solid work experience, who are looking for their next career opportunity. Visit or call 818.947.2941 for more information.

Make a Difference in Your Career

LA Fellows receive free professional training covering executive level topics including advanced job search techniques, critical thinking, negotiating, and advanced computer skills. Training begins January 5, 2015.

Be the Difference in Your Community

LA Fellows volunteer their time and talents by sharing their professional expertise at local nonprofit organizations through meaningful project based roles. Throughout the program, LA Fellows will gain invaluable career growth skills, job search assistance, and receive the opportunity to give back to the community while they seek full-time employment.

Become an LA Fellow

Attend an informational session to learn more about the program and application process.    Job Seekers only need to attend one informational session. Be prepared to stay two hours.

When:          Friday, October 17th, 10:00am
                        Friday, November 14th, 10:00am
                        Friday, November 21st, 10:00am

Where:         Los Angeles Valley College
5800 Fulton Avenue
Valley Glen, CA 91401-4096

Located in the Library building, Second Floor, Room 201

Parking:      Free parking in Lot B at the corner of Oxnard St. and Fulton Ave.

Mastering Effective Communication, A Free Workshop by LA Fellows Instructor Larry Braman

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

LA Fellows Graduates its 10th Cohort

On Friday, September 19th, the LA Fellows program reached a milestone, graduating it's 10th class in a ceremony at Los Angeles Valley College's Monarch Hall. LA Fellows are unemployed mid-career professionals who commit to nine weeks of classroom instruction in professional development and job search techniques and 100 hours of project-based volunteerism in order to get back to work faster.
Lennie Cuifo, Director of the Job Training Office at Los Angeles Valley College,
addresses the capacity crowd.

Sara Lamog one of the two Fellows chosen by the class to speak
on behalf of the cohort, reflected on the road to becoming an expert,
what it means to be a Fellow, and moving forward.
Derrick Clemons, the other speaker chosen to represent the cohort
 at the podium, spoke about why he became an LA  Fellow
 and how the experience has changed them all.

Dr. Sue Carleo, former President of Los Angeles Valley College
and founding member of the LA Fellows Advisory Committee,
spoke to the Fellows about carrying on the legacy.

Congressman Tony Cardenas sent beautiful framed certificates for each of the LA Fellows to recognize the work they did through the program. Field Representative Brian Gavidia presented them to the Fellows with inspiring words of appreciation and encouragement.

Sydney Kamlager, District Director for Senator Holly Mitchell, shakes the hand
of one of 4 graduating veterans, Michael Robison, before presenting
a certificate of recognition on behalf of the senator (below).
Derrick Clemons accepts his certificate.

Los Angeles City Council Member Paul Krekorian, a long-time supporter of the LA Fellows program, also provided personalized certificates for the Fellows. Field Deputy Nikki Ezhari attended the ceremony on his behalf and congratulated each Fellow as she presented the certificate. 

Job Training Director Lennie Ciufo presents a certificate to LA Fellow Yoonsin Park
while WorkSource representatives, Barbara Washington and Doni Hooker, and
Instructor Roberto Gutierrez look on, applauding. The Canoga Park WorkSource center
provided the funding to make this cohort possible.
LA Fellows Cohort 10

Monday, September 29, 2014

10,000 Hours of Practice, or 600,000 Minutes of Saying "I Can Do This."

At the recent graduation of LA Fellows Cohort 10, two speakers were chosen by their classmates to represent the group at the podium. One of those speakers was Sara Lamog, whose last position was in the Peace Corps, and who aspires to serve humanitarian causes on a global level. Here are the words of inspiration she shared with the audience who assembled to celebrate the day: 

Good morning, everyone -- Mr. Lennie Ciufo, our dynamic coach and Job Training Director; Allison and Mary, our dedicated program leaders. Good morning Marcos, Doni and Barbara, our representatives from the Canoga Park WorkSource Center who so generously made funding for this program possible.

Good morning to all of our immensely giving instructors -- I know you must be happy to see us all in our seats on time! Hello to all of our families and friends, whose support and strength have played a big part in us being here today.

And finally, good morning to my dear colleagues and friends in LA Fellows Cohort 10. My, how far we’ve come.

It’s been said before that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in something. 10,000 hours. That’s almost 60 weeks of non-stop determination and continued momentum. That’s 416 days of constant effort and learning. That’s 600,000 minutes of saying “I can do this” and truly believing you can.

Those may sound like some daunting statistics, but not to us LA Fellows in Cohort 10. Why? Because we’re already more than half-way there. As a cohort made up of 32 tenacious individuals, we’ve collectively blazed through 8,960 hours of training. That number includes 19 all-day classroom training sessions, 5 weeks of optional computer classes, and about a dozen days dedicated to personalized job search, networking and nonprofit exploration. That leaves a little more than 1,000 hours left to become an expert LA Fellow. And if you split that between 32 of us and add in each of our 100 volunteer hours at a local nonproft -- that’s a done deal.

Then again, for as close as we all are, why stop at that 10,000th hour? Although today may mark our graduation, who says we need to stop our own training and practice for becoming a full-fledged LA Fellow expert? I say, we keep marching -- but more on that in a little bit. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see how it all started.
On July 28th, Cohort 10 began its journey of chipping away at those 10,000 hours. It was in a room in the Engineering Building of this very campus we all sat, not knowing each other’s names and each of us curiously wondering where the people sitting around us had come from. What brought us here? What jobs had left us behind, or rather, what jobs had we left behind? Where did we come from?

At the time, the one thing that tied us all together was our commitment to the LA Fellows program. Nine weeks of rigorous, paradigm-shifting training that lay ahead of us--challenging us to put our best foot forward in our renewed job search efforts, step out of both our pasts, as well as our comfort zones, and onward onto that next step of progress and advancement.

And for nine weeks, that’s exactly what we’ve done, Cohort 10! We learned how to meet opportunities with sharp, narrow, focused approaches guided by our strong values, interests, and areas of expertise. We learned how to adapt and embrace change when someone moves our cheese. And in the event we have to confront a fight or flight-inducing situation, we learned how to control our fears with the emotional intelligence of a Navy Seal. Even better, as we learned how to tackle the dreaded interview questions like, “Can you walk me through your resume?” or my favorite, “Can you tell me about yourself?”, we learned how to captivate our audiences and walk them all the way to the answer (and Canada!) in 90 seconds or less.

All the while, as we perfected our job search strategies, we also had the opportunity to learn so much more about each other. Not only could we never go back to being mere strangers, especially after we all learned each other’s names by Day 2, we learned who among us were the direct Eagles of our group, who our wise, systematic Owls were, who the lovable, spirited Roadrunners were among us, and finally, who the considerate Doves were that we could turn to.

We also learned how to be there for each other, day in and day out. Whether it be in partner or group setting, together we learned how to perfectly craft a bullet-point and add it to our updated resumes. We uncovered who to share insights with about similarly targeted companies. We found out the tricks of the trade to mastering public speaking and we all learned how to become a drum band!

After 9 weeks, the LA Fellows program took us, a group of 32 diverse individuals, and molded us into true fellows, in every sense of the word.

Now, when I looked up the word “fellow” in the dictionary, I was surprised at what the definition is. It defines a fellow as a person in the same position, involved in the same activity, or a member of a group of people who have shared interests. To me, that definition connoted a very casual familiarity, one seemingly more based on happenstance, on chance -- and not so much by a conscious commitment or bond.

It was when I dug deeper and looked at all of the synonyms for “fellow,” that’s where I found words that more realistically conveyed the bond that LA Fellows truly have. Those synonyms are: colleague, friend, comrade, partner. Companion. That’s more like it! Wouldn’t you agree, Cohort 10?

As we sit here today, not only have we gained new insights and tools to the job search, we also leave here emboldened with a strong, lasting, and capable camaraderie. And to think, so much of that had to do with how we all took to heart one of the simplest requests from Allison and Mary on the first day: sit next to someone new every day. And as a result, I think it’s safe to say that our original wondrous curiosity of where we all came from has now become, “Where are we going?”

So my dear fellow Fellows, where are we going? More importantly, where are you going and where do you want to go? As today’s graduation may mark the culmination of our formal training, let’s take a moment and look at this ending from another angle.

I propose we see today as another first day of an adventure, just like July 28th was for us 9 weeks ago. Let’s continue to change seats everyday from here on out, only now that we’ve graduated, let’s change those seats metaphorically. Let’s promise to continue putting our best foot forward and stepping out of our comfort zones by challenging ourselves (and each other) to say Yes when we are inclined to say No.

Most of all, let’s continue the precedence--the lifestyle--of an expert LA Fellow, long after we’ve achieved our 10,000th hour. As we part ways today, let’s promise to continue dedicating our time and effort to preparation, opportunity, service, heart, and success. Together, let’s continue to seek out and explore the pathway to meaningfulness when we want to so easily cling to comfort.

Cohort 10, let’s continue marching onward to that next step of personal and professional growth!

Thank you.