Division of Adult Parole Operations, Rehabilitation

LA Central Parole offers second chance with job academy

Men and women stand in a room full of chairs.
Los Angeles Central District staff with Southern Region executive management.

On June 14, the Los Angeles Central Parole District in collaboration with the City of Inglewood Mayor’s Office and South Bay Workforce Investment Board One Stop Center hosted the Career Pathways 180 Job Preparation and Workshop Academy.

This event was the fourth iteration since its inception in April 2017. The Career Pathways 180 comprises four days of academia culminating in a fifth-day graduation ceremony and job fair.

Career Pathways 180 focuses on job preparedness, readiness and soft skills.

37 graduate Career Pathways 180

The academy consisted of 37 formerly incarcerated men and women. Throughout the week, the graduates received support from their agents, DAPO Supervisors and Managers, and the investment board’s staff.

Each day began with a different motivational speaker to inspire the class to take full advantage of the program.

The Career Pathways 180 committee developed a thorough and expansive curriculum to assist the formerly incarcerated with:

  • navigating and overcoming challenges of reentry
  • and obtaining as well as maintaining employment.

The graduation ceremony had several guest speakers whose messages were poignant and functioned to motivate all in attendance.

Those who offered remarks included:

  • Karen Thacker, Southern Regional Parole Administrator
  • Jon Stern, Chief Deputy Regional Administrator
  • Vincent Thompson, District Administrator
  • James T. Butts Jr., Inglewood City Mayor
  • Jan Vogel, the Investment Board’s Executive Director
  • and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, California’s 43rd District.

Guest speakers offer encouragement to continue

Representative Maxine Waters speaks to graduates.
Rep. Maxine Waters represents California’s 43rd Congressional District. She encouraged graduates to continue learning and making positive changes in their lives.

Waters, a legislator in Washington, spoke to the graduates about making positive changes. She congratulated all the graduates, applauding them for taking actions to elevate their job development readiness.

She expressed how pleased she was that each graduate chose to take the steps to complete the job prep academy. This step bolsters their opportunities in life, serving as an example to inspire others. Waters encouraged each of them to continue to learn skills to put them on a path of financial independence. 

She told them to not see themselves as victims, but instead tell yourself you can do this.  

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. discussed his commitment and efforts to create employment opportunities for the formerly incarcerated.

A believer in second-chances, Butts discussed how Inglewood has created a climate to foster sustainable employment through numerous projects. Those include:

  • Hosting the 2021 Super Bowl, Olympics and World Cup;
  • the Philharmonic and becoming the new home of the Los Angeles Clippers

Parole speakers commend graduates

Regional Administrator Karen Thacker congratulated the graduates on a job well done. She praised them for participating in the academy and overcoming obstacles to reach this point. 

She encouraged the graduates to find their calling with the academy being the first step. Thacker went on to say their accomplishment should show them they are capable of overcoming any adversity.

Chief Deputy Regional Administrator Jon Stern was excited to be there to witness the accomplishments of the graduates. He specifically acknowledged graduate Trevon Brown, who was named class valedictorian.

Stern thanked District Administrator Vincent Thompson and all involved for making the event possible. He said these programs benefit the parolee population.

Stern said he had seen the effectiveness of the academy in the past and was encouraged by the partnership between DAPO and the investment board. He too congratulated all the graduates and implored them to speak to each of the employers at the job fair.

A commitment to change

Parole Administrator Vincent Thompson discussed the importance of the graduates’ commitment to change. He thanked his team for their efforts to make the Los Angeles Central’s Career Pathways 180 Job Preparation and Workshop Academy a success.

Thompson voiced his confidence in the collaborative efforts between DAPO and community-based providers such as the South Bay Workforce Investment Board One Stop Center. The shared interest in the successful reintegration of the reentry population is facilitated by endeavors like the academy. 

He encouraged the graduates to take full advantage of the employment opportunities provided by the employers present for the Job Fair component of the academy and wished each of them continued success.  

Trevon Brown graduated with honors, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the academy. As with the previous versions of the academy, each graduate was provided business attire for their interviews, including suits or dresses, shirts and shoes.

22 employers attend job fair

The job fair hosted 22 employers in various fields. On that day, many of the graduates were able to apply for various positions and some already received employment.

The academy continues to be one of the LA Central Parole District’s transformational opportunities assisting development for life beyond parole.

On this day, the impact and effectiveness of the academy was evident by the optimism and exuberance that could be seen on the faces of its graduates.

By Paul Cooper, Parole Agent III

Learn more about CDCR’s parole agents.

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