Friday, April 10, 2015

Graduation Guests - A Community of Partnerships

If no man is an island, the same is true of programs that serve the community - we cannot exist without a network of partners who understand the importance of what we do and put their words and deeds behind supporting its success.

The first time guests join us for an LA Fellows graduation, they are often surprised and impressed by the caliber of the speakers and the amazing people and organizations who show up to support the success of this program. The most recent graduation was no exception.

LAVC President Dr. Erika Endrijonas addresses the graduates and guests.
The president of Los Angeles Valley College, where the program is based, Dr. Erika Endrijonas, took to the podium to open the ceremony on occasion of the 11th Cohort's graduation on March 13th, 2015. Our partnership with the LACCD system is an important one and we are honored that they value the way our missions mesh and compliment each other. Dr. Endrijonas spoke with great inspiration and passion about this synergy.

LAVC's Lennie Ciufo looks on as Mark Brenner with Silhouettes for Vets
 and David Fierro with the  U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs prepare
 to present certificates recognizing the LA Fellows
who served in our country's armed forces.
LA Fellows are very proud of the men and women who serve in our armed forces and especially those who conscientiously strive to bring the skills they learned in the service to their lives and work in the civilian world. We take time every graduation to recognize the veterans in our midst to thank them for their service with the presentation of a very special certificate.

We were pleased to be joined this time by Mark Brenner, President and CEO of Silhouettes for Vets, an organization that educates and coaches veterans and their families for employment transition, and David Fierro, Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist with the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs, to honor our LA Fellows vets on graduation day.

Mark Brenner presents a certificate of appreciation to Navy veteran and LA Fellows
graduate Regina Shelton, as David Fierro, right, holds a certificate for
Mark Manculich, a Marine veteran from LA Fellows Cohort 11.
Kenn Phillips has been a valued guest at almost every LA Fellows graduation ceremony. He represents not one but THREE very important partnerships: he is a member of the advisory board that conceived and founded this program and continues on as a resource for information and growth; as CEO and President of the Valley Economic Alliance, he represents the business community that needs the types of talent that LA Fellows attracts and fosters; his organization, in its capacity as a nonprofit, is hosting an LA Fellow for her 100 hours of volunteer service. Our LA Fellows have come to know him as a valued mentor and advisor, and we were honored once again that he was able to join us to share words of wisdom with the graduates. 

Perhaps our most important partners are those who make the program financially possible: the WorkSource centers of the LA area. After the initial grant that funded our early Cohorts, we have relied on WIA funding to pay for the training - the unemployed job seekers who are chosen for the LA Fellows program don't pay a dime. Our WorkSource partners commit a portion of their budget based on their experience and confidence that the LA Fellows model works and that the Job Training staff at Los Angeles Valley College is committed to finding individuals ready to say "Yes" to instruction and passionate about succeeding in their job search.
Our WorkSource partners for Cohort 11 were Community Career Development, El Proyecto del Barrio, JVS West Hollywood, Rescare Workforce Services, the Santa Clarita WorkSource Center, and Youth Policy Institute.

Candis Noel, Case Manager for JVS
West Hollywood, which sponsored some
of the Fellows in Cohort 11.
Carlene Gepner of Community Career
Development. CCD sponsored
some LA Fellows of Cohort 11
The LA Fellows program thanks and appreciates all its partners and looks forward to building new partnerships and strengthening existing ones in the months and years ahead. 

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