JVS Woman To Woman Conference draws over 500 attendees

L to R: Dr. Margareta Pisarska, Nikki Crawford and Nancy Spielberg

L to R: Dr. Margareta Pisarska, Nikki Crawford and Nancy Spielberg

JVS Woman To Woman Conference draws over 500 attendees to Skirball in support of agency programs serving women in crisis and transition

Los Angeles, CA (Nov. 17, 2016) —Over 500 women filled the ballroom at the Skirball Cultural Center for the 4th Annual Woman to Woman Conference on Thursday, November 17. The popular networking event featured keynote speakers Margareta Pisarska, MD, an OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist leading cutting edge research on fertility at Cedars Sinai, and award-winning documentary filmmaker Nancy Spielberg. Sponsored by the JVS Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) the conference supports a number of JVS programs that serve women in career crisis or transition, with a special focus on its signature program, WoMentoring. 

The WLN is a donor support group that works to sustain and enhance JVS' programs serving women in crisis or transition, and to make these programs available to a diverse community of women in need – from the long-term unemployed to people with disabilities; women veterans transitioning to the civilian workplace, single parents and women who have come through the foster care system.

Barbara Leanse, Director of Volunteer Services and Cedars and Nancy Paul, both members of the WLN Leadership Council, chaired the event. Award-winning actress, singer and dancer Nikki Crawford was event host.

Nancy Spielberg shared how she discovered a passion to make documentary films in her fifties and overcame her self-doubt and fear of failure while making “Above and Beyond,” her first film which tells the story of Jewish-American WWII veterans who took unimaginable risks to fly for Israel in the War of Independence.

“I am still learning lessons every single day,” she said. “One of the most important is knowing that collaboration, support, and respect are the salt in every successful recipe whether you’re running a business or making a movie. There’s never really an easy road.  Through the decades, there are struggles and they change with the chapters in your life. You have to learn how to roll with it; how to forge ahead.  Don’t let fear stop you.”

In an insightful talk that covered the science and politics of fertility and reproductive medicine, Dr. Pisarska lauded her parents (both concentration camp survivors) and her early mentors who gave her strength and direction in navigating her career.  

“We as women need to be active in issues involving reproductive health,” she said, citing that research focused on women and babies trails as the most poorly funded. 

Attendees began the day with a breakfast networking reception and were treated to accessorizing tips from celebrity fashion critic, author and red carpet guru Steven Cojocaru, also known as Cojo. Diagnosed mid career with a devastating disease that lead to a kidney transplant, Cojocaru is the author of an inspiring memoir, “Glamour, Interrupted.”

JVS Los Angeles Gala Celebrates 85 Years and Honors Vivian Seigel

JVSLA CEO Emerita, Vivian Seigel with L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz

JVSLA CEO Emerita, Vivian Seigel with L.A. City Councilmember Paul Koretz

Los Angeles, CA (September 28, 2016) – Former JVS CEO Vivian A. Seigel received a rousing tribute at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Saturday, September 24, as JVS leadership and supporters, along with Los Angeles dignitaries, gathered in a packed ballroom for the agency’s Fall Gala to celebrate its 85th anniversary.

The formal evening that included cocktails, dinner, music and dancing began with a video message from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti who sent the agency and Seigel a heartfelt virtual thanks for JVS’ extensive contributions to the region’s workforce and economic development.

The sentiment was echoed throughout the exciting evening as JVS clients and leadership, family and friends, took the stage to extol Seigel’s significant role in guiding the 85-year-old agency in growth and expansion that has created high-quality programs that serve nearly 30,000 people across Los Angeles County with skills assessment, job training, career coaching, placement and retention.

Themed “Celebrating a Legacy,” the Gala Tribute was chaired by JVS Past President Rick Powell and board members Steve Seigel and Matthew Winnick.  It was hosted by comedian and actor Larry Miller and featured musical performance by Jump Start and a surprise appearance by The Three Waiters.

Guests included LA City Controller Ron Galperin; LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz and his wife Gail, who serves as Government Liaison in the Mayor’s Office; Eran Hazary representing Congressman Brad Sherman and Robert Sainz, Assistant General Manager for Operations in the L.A. City Economic and Workforce Development Department. 

Seigel received the agency’s Lifetime of Service Award for her 39 years of visionary leadership. Presented to her by JVS Board President Harris Smith, Seigel was also surprised with the news of the newly created Vivian A. Seigel Legacy Fund that has, to date, raised over $600,000 toward its goal of $1 million. The Fund includes the naming in her honor of the Education Center in the JVS La Cienega Career Training Center.

“The Legacy Fund represents an invaluable opportunity to invest in a series of core strategic initiatives and to expand the impact of the JVS Works career training programs,” said JVS CEO Alan Levey, who took the helm from Seigel in January. “It will also enable us to expand our Government Relations effort and advocacy work on the issues that most deeply impact the people we serve.”

Seigel arrived at JVS in 1977 with a master’s degree from UCLA to work as a career counselor. At that time, the agency was serving about 1,000 clients. By 1996, when Seigel became CEO, the agency had grown to 5,000 clients annually with a budget of just over $1 million. She became central to JVS’ efforts to respond to the changing demands of the employment market and the ups and downs of the economy. When she retired, JVS was serving 30,000 people a year with a budget of $17 million.

“I believe JVS has unlimited future growth potential because I know the agency’s core mission is so closely aligned with the economic health of Southern California and the wellbeing and growth of our families and communities,” said Seigel.

JVS Scholarship Program Awards Over $600,000 to 193 College Students In Need

Six-year scholarship recipient Niv Ashkenazi

Six-year scholarship recipient Niv Ashkenazi

Los Angeles (Aug. 10, 2016) — The JVS Scholarship Program this year helped 193 college students get closer to their higher education dreams when it awarded a total of$614,000 in need-based scholarships, each gift ranging from $500 to $10,000.

“This is an impressive group of special individuals who show a lot of promise and provided the scholarship committee with a real wow factor,” said Scholarship Program Co-Chairman Leland Felsenthal.

Before the committee members make their final scholarship selections, they will have interviewed more than 100 students in person to ask about their involvement with community service, their grades and school careers, their financial need and family histories.

Scholarship recipients are attending colleges from NYU to Harvard, Stanford, CSUN and many other American and even international schools. Their studies range from medicine and law to education and the arts. The group includes students who have emigrated from other countries, students with learning disabilities and students who are returning to school for advanced degrees.

For the third year in a row, thanks to a generous $100,000 gift from the William and Leah Molle Foundation and the enthusiastic support of Trustee, Susan Howard, JVS once again supported ten medical school students with scholarships of $10,000 each.

Most recipients attended the 44th annual Award Reception that took place July 28 at Sinai Temple where they had the chance to personally thank the many scholarship donor in attendance. Six-year scholarship recipient Niv Ashkenazi addressed the filled-to-capacity auditorium as keynote speaker. A distinguished graduate of The Juilliard School of Music who has performed worldwide, he told students that, though his primary ambition remains becoming a violin soloist, he decided early on to expand his scholastic horizons by taking a variety of classes. He discovered that by following his interests and gaining new knowledge he has developed skills that make him more employable. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Ashkenazi’s busy music career includes performing and teaching, writing music and serving on several boards.

Ashkenazi’s presentation included the performance of two pieces on violin: Nigun by Ernest Bloch and Jules Massenet Thais Meditation, on which fellow Julliard alum Leah Kohn accompanied him on bassoon.

Since the JVS Scholarship Program began in 1972 it has awarded over $7.8 million to more than 4,400 outstanding local Jewish students. It remains the largest need-based scholarship program serving Jewish students within the Los Angeles community. 

JVS partners and donors helped raise over $400,000 to support JVS programs


(L-R) Corporate Honoree Richard S. Lopez, Jr. of Universal Protection Service; JVSLA CEO Alan S. Levey; Inspiration Honorees Deborah Smith and Roland Williams with daughter Elliana; Event Host Fritz Coleman of NBC4; Inspiration Honoree James Acosta; JVSLA Board President Harris Smith; JVSLA COO Claudia Finkel

(L-R) Corporate Honoree Richard S. Lopez, Jr. of Universal Protection Service; JVSLA CEO Alan S. Levey; Inspiration Honorees Deborah Smith and Roland Williams with daughter Elliana; Event Host Fritz Coleman of NBC4; Inspiration Honoree James Acosta; JVSLA Board President Harris Smith; JVSLA COO Claudia Finkel

Dan Goldenberg, executive director of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty Endowment, a leading funder of veteran employment-focused organizations nationwide, delivers the keynote speech at the 19th Annual JVS Strictly Business Awards Luncheon

Dan Goldenberg, executive director of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty Endowment, a leading funder of veteran employment-focused organizations nationwide, delivers the keynote speech at the 19th Annual JVS Strictly Business Awards Luncheon

May 19, 2016 (Los Angeles, CA) – Military veteran employment issues were front and center at the 19th Annual JVS Strictly Business L.A. Awards Luncheon that took place Thursday, May 12, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, as Dan Goldenberg, a highly regarded national advocate for veterans, addressed hundreds of business owners, professionals, entrepreneurs and philanthropists gathered to support a luncheon with a purpose. Award-winning NBC4 broadcaster Fritz Coleman returned for his 4th year as event host.

One of the city’s premiere networking events, JVS Strictly Business highlights the life-changing work of JVSLA, a nonprofit, non-sectarian agency dedicated to lifting people out of poverty by helping them overcome barriers and challenges to employment. Critical funds raised through Strictly Business help support the life-changing programs of JVS that give its many diverse clients the training, tools and resources they need to become economically self-sufficient.

This year’s event raised over $400,000, with $120,000 of that amount donated during an urgent appeal at the event.

Dan Goldenberg is executive director of Activision Blizzard’s Call of Duty Endowment, a leading funder of veteran employment-focused organizations nationwide, establishing best practices, promoting veteran hiring, and supporting organizations like JVS that are helping former service members transition into civilian careers.

Since 2009, Activision Blizzard, through the Call of Duty Endowment, has provided more than $18 million in grants to veteran organizations throughout the U.S. These gifts have helped place 22,752 veterans into high-quality careers.

 The JVS Veterans First program is a multiple-year recipient of Call of Duty Endowment funding and a partner in the regional effort to place military veterans into high-quality jobs.

In his keynote address that provided insights into the state of veteran employment in L.A. and in the United States, Goldenberg cited a 2015 government report said that young, post-9/11 veterans are three times more likely to be unemployed than the average American, despite the fact that their military skills, experience, and accomplishments are sought after in the civilian job market. 

Goldenberg pointed to a schism between statistics presented by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that says veteran unemployment is down and what veterans are actually experiencing regarding civilian employment.

“We know government unemployment numbers are off because our grantees from across the country—that serve upwards of 5,000 veterans each quarter—have seen a 15 percent increase in demand for their employment services compared to this time last year,” said Goldenberg, who has 24 years of active and reserve military service and over a decade of corporate experience. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, Harvard Business School and the Air Command and Staff College. 

“Something just doesn’t add up when the organizations on the ground are experiencing a significant uptick in demand for their employment services,” Goldenberg said.

Goldenberg said, however, that Call of Duty Endowment grantee partners, all of whom are carefully vetted to assure they are effective in their mission, are reporting tremendous success in their work: the six-month retention rate for vets placed by Call of Duty Endowment grantees is 89 percent, which outpaces the average, and starting salaries of the vets placed by its partners average above $50,000.  “Considering that the national average starting salary for new college graduates is $45,000, it’s fair to say our grantees are doing a terrific job,” he said, adding, “JVS is one of the very special organizations we’ve worked with for some time that’s had great impact.”

During the luncheon JVS also honored Universal Protection Service, one of the largest American-owned security services providers, with its Corporate Partnership Award for its significant contributions to a public-private-nonprofit partnership that creates meaningful change in the community. A division of Universal Services of America, the Santa Ana-based company works closely with JVS to put veterans and other job seekers back to work.

A military-friendly employer, Universal Protection Service is committed to offering opportunities to job seekers in underserved communities as well as to hiring veterans who bring unique skills and training to the industry. They are partners in the national 100,000 Opportunities Initiative and locally in Mayor Garcetti’s 10,000 Strong Veterans Hiring Initiative.  

Regional Recruiter Richard S. Lopez, Jr., representing the company, said:  “The relationship between JVS and Universal Protection Service is grounded in our shared commitment to workforce development. Over the past eight years, we have come together to meet the changing staffing and employment needs throughout the greater Los Angeles Region.”

JVS presented its Inspiration Award to three JVS clients whose successes illustrate the mission of the agency to help lift people out of poverty and over significant barriers to employment. This year’s recipients included Roland Williams, a formerly homeless veteran now employed as an apartment maintenance technician; Deborah Smith, a survivor of domestic violence who now works for Wells Fargo, and James Acosta, a formerly out-of-school and unemployed youth now employed at Starbucks and working toward his high school diploma. A video about the honorees can be viewed here: www.jvsla.org/strictlybizla View the event photo album here: https://jvsmarketing.smugmug.com/Strictly-Business-2016/

In 2016 JVSLA marked a significant transition in its leadership as it installed new Board President Harris Smith and welcomed new CEO Alan S. Levey.


JVS is a nonprofit, non-sectarian organization celebrating its 85th anniversary of service this year. www.jvsla.org

“El programa que cambió mi vida”

This article was published in La Opinión by Virginia Gaglianone on March 4, 2016. 

José Robledo, de 21 años de edad, siempre le gustó trabajar con sus manos, haciendo arreglos y ayudando en la casa. Pero nunca se imaginó que podría recibir entrenamiento gratis y la oportunidad de trabajar haciendo lo que le gustaba. Sin embargo, fue precisamente eso lo que obtuvo a través de la organización sin fines de lucro, Jewish Vocational Services (JVS). En la actualidad, el joven está a cargo del mantenimiento de un edificio residencial de 132 unidades, de Encino, California, haciendo lo que siempre le gustó.

“Hago de todo un poco, un día cambio focos, otro día arreglo liqueos. Me gusta mucho mi trabajo. Ahora quiero seguir estudiando y aprendiendo, para poder avanzar en la compañía. Algún día me gustaría ser supervisor, o trabajar en otras áreas de la construcción”, expresó el joven.

Pero las cosas no siempre fueron fáciles para Robledo, quien nació y se crió en Los Ángeles, de padres oriundos de Zacatecas, México. Cuando tenía 15 años de edad, los padres de Robledo fueron deportados y el joven y sus dos hermanas, de entonces 18 y 20 años de edad, quedaron a la deriva, sin saber qué camino tomar.

“Para mí fue muy difícil”, confesó José. “De un día para el otro, se llevaron a mis papás y eso me dio mucho coraje. Sentía coraje contra el mundo, no quería hacer nada, y tenía miedo de que volvieran y se llevaran a mis hermanas también”, recordó.

“Cuando se me pegó la tristeza, me empezó a ir muy mal en la escuela, y terminé dejando todo y yéndome a México”, contó. Pero en el país vecino, las cosas tampoco fueron fáciles.

“En México todo es muy bonito, pero no te creas que es fácil”, señaló. “Mis padres vivían en el rancho y el trabajo era muy duro”.  Robledo decidió volver a EEUU y darse una nueva oportunidad.

“Una vez llamé por teléfono a mi papá y me puse a llorar porque me sentía perdido, y él me recordó que había  gente a quienes les faltaba un brazo, o una pierna, y que yo en cambio estaba sano, ytenía que echarle ganas. Esto me ayudó a reaccionar y a convertir mi coraje en motivación. En ese sentido, puedo decir que lo que me pasó me ayudó a crecer y a ser mejor persona”.

Robledo también destacó el rol de sus dos hermanas. “Ellas son mi inspiración porque siempre se están superando y ayudando a la comunidad. Una de las razones por las que siempre aprender a trabajar en mantenimiento fue para ayudarlas y ser el hombre de la casa”. El joven también sueña con poder ahorrar dinero, para algún día ayudar a sus padres con los documentos de inmigración.

Una nueva oportunidad

Robledo consiguió un trabajo en una fábrica de plásticos. “Trabajaba 60 horas por semana, pero no había oportunidades para avanzar. Un día me desperté y me pregunté, ‘¿Esto es lo que quiero hacer para el resto de mi vida?’”.

Una de sus hermanas que trabaja en MEND (una organización que ofrece recursos y ayuda a la comunidad), siempre le enviaba folletos de clases y oportunidades. Fue entre estos folletos que José descubrió el programa de JVS.

El programa cambió mi vida”, aseguró el joven. El centro ofrece entrenamientos gratuitosacelerados e intensivos de un mes y medio. “Fue como tener un segundo trabajo. Estudiaba durante el día y a la noche iba a trabajar a la fábrica”, explicó.

Para ser aceptados en el programa, los interesados deben pasar una entrevista. “De 110 aplicantes, aceptan sólo a 10, porque quieren asegurarse de que sean personas que están realmente interesadas, que van a terminar el programa y que van a echarle ganas”, explicó.

“Todos en la clase nos ayudábamos y terminamos siendo amigos. Creo que una de las mejores cosas que gané con el programa fueron las amistades”, opinó.

Durante el entrenamiento, Robledo no sólo aprendió de mantenimiento, sino que recibió ayuda para preparar su curriculum, consejos para presentarse en entrevistas de trabajo, recomendaciones de sus instructores y ofertas laborales.

JVS no sólo ofrece programas de mantenimiento, sino también de enfermería, para trabajar en bancos,  programas de mentoría, y de ayuda para veteranos, entre otros.

BankWork$ Grad Commences Culver City Career

This article was published in the Culver City Observer, by Sandra Coppersmith, February 2016

When one thinks of hope and personal fulfillment, a financial institution is generally not the first image that springs to mind. However, when it comes to Bank of America in Culver City's Culver Center Abigail Reyes, its employee for the past few months, has a very positive perspective concerning its role in her future.

Reyes, a bright, poised young woman, is one of the many beneficiaries of BankWork$®, an innovative and award-winning career training program launched in 2006 by Jewish Vocational Service of Los Angeles (JVSLA). The eight-week course, which is free to qualified participants, has been a life-changer for her. Four years ago her future was flung off course when she was struck by a car after school, resulting in over a year of trauma, treatment and physical therapy.

"After regaining my health I got my first job, which was in the food industry," Reyes said. "While working, I completed the studies necessary to obtain my GED. After getting the GED I wanted to move to a career, and I told a friend I was looking."

Her friend suggested that she explore the BankWork$ program offered through JVSLA, its vocational training partner. Reyes researched it on the Internet (see http://www.bankworks.org and http://www.jvsla.org), spoke with Associate Director Lisa Meadows at JVSLA, was interviewed by phone, formally applied, and entered the program in May.

That turned out to be a win-win situation for Reyes and Bank of America, which recruited her upon graduation (several banks were present at the on-site job fair), a joyful celebration marking completion of an intensive training period involving three classes a week for eight weeks.

"I learned all about the various careers in banking during those sessions," she continued, recalling that "there were three speakers that came in. We covered bank procedures, regulations and expectations. Hearing is a very different game from doing, but when I came to the bank I had knowledge of what to expect and why, and this was so valuable in preparing me."

Attitude was a key factor.

"BankWork$ helped me to have a better attitude about how I see myself," Reyes shared. "I learned to be part of a team – and my team here at the bank has helped me a lot – and to receive constructive criticism. It helped me to gain confidence because I didn't think I was going to get it when I first applied to BankWork$ and now – I'm here! At the bank I did my online training, finished in a week, and had my own cashbox within the following week."

Reyes focuses on "presenting a quality experience to a customer. Being a teller doesn't just involve counting money. It's an opportunity to interact with others. I hope to become a personal banker and then an auditor, and am willing to put in the work and invest the time. This branch has been very welcoming and has a strong family feeling.

The head of that family would be Alex Cordova, Vice President and Financial Center Manager III of this very active branch. "We process over 12,000 transactions a month," he said.

Cordova, who has been in banking for 15 years, was exposed to ROP (Regional Occupational Program) as a senior at Los Angeles High School. He started as a teller and has been a manager for 10 years, since the inception of BankWork$ in 2006.

"In the beginning a representative came to the branch to introduce the program and get us involved," he said. He subsequently had experience with its graduates at other Bank of America branches where he worked.

"JVSLA does very comprehensive training that gets the graduates ready," Cordova stated. "They know bank terminology and practices, give great customer service, and go above and beyond for the client. The training makes it easier for them to adapt to the specific policies of the hiring bank.

"We work with our employees to understand where they want to grow within the company, and help provide them with the tools to get there. Graduates from BankWork$ are not just looking for a job, they are looking for a career. The program demonstrates the endless opportunities in the financial services industry to all of its students, and Abigail is one of those associates with the potential to have a strong career path. The extensive training that she received has helped her in her current role."

Cordova described how the bank is "committed to being a strong local partner and making a positive contribution to the local community where we live and work. We focus our support on three core issues that address local challenges: housing, hunger and jobs. Our partnership with BankWork$ allows us to connect people to the training and education they need to secure employment. By working with community partners such as JVSLA, we are able to help empower individuals and communities to thrive and be more financially stable."

Key to the success of BankWork$ is Lisa Meadows, a former banker who heads the program at JVSLA. It was an ideal match. "I have 27 years in banking," Meadows said. "I began my career when looking to use my teaching credential right out of college and found the job market difficult. I applied to several banks and started working at Union Bank as a teller. I took to banking and enjoyed a long career, retiring from banking as a Senior Vice President at Comerica Bank.

"Additionally, for the last 11 years I have worked at Suicide Prevention Center as a Crisis Line Supervisor and trainer. When I saw the position open at JVSLA for someone to write the BankWork$ program and get it off the ground, I knew this was the right job for me. I've been at JVSLA almost 10 years and have taught 60 sessions. JVSLA has graduated over 1,000 candidates and we have placed over 800. Nationally, this program has placed over 1,000 people. I have a passion for helping others and find great satisfaction in knowing that I may have made an impact on someone's life."

The graduation ceremony for the latest BankWork$ training class of 21 members was held Feb. 4 at the EXPO Center in Los Angeles, with the next session starting Feb. 24.

Lisa Meadows, Associate Director, at the BankWork$ graduation ceremony on Feb. 4. She created the curriculum. Meadows described the event as "inspiring. These graduates now have an opportunity to be well-trained, self-sufficient members of the workforce, contributing to the community and to their own future. This is an example of effective interaction, when various elements partner together for a positive outcome."

That interaction was acknowledged when JVSLA BankWork$ won the Project Collaboration Award at the 2013 Los Angeles Business Journal (LABJ) Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards, recognizing "innovation, involvement of multiple stakeholders and the engagement of the community being served."

If the recipe for success calls for desire, opportunity, dedication and knowledge, then JVSLA BankWork$ has combined just the right ingredients to produce candidates sure to whet an employer's appetite – and you can bank on that.

Banking program coming to Santa Monica College

This article was published in the Santa Monica Daily Press, February 2016

Santa Monica College is joining forces with an area nonprofit to offer a career-focused training series through its extension program. Campus officials are working with JVSLA to bring the organization’s existing BankWork$ program to the local community college by May.

The 8-week program, one of several job training and workforce development initiatives orchestrated by JVSLA in Southern California, aims to promote upward economic mobility by preparing low-income people for jobs in the banking industry. That goal made the program a natural fit for SMC, said Michelle King, the school’s director of career and contract education.

“It’s part of the mission to help build and prepare the local workforce,” King said, adding that the college is always looking for new partners for its extension courses. “That’s part of what we’re doing. It’s an opportunity to work with an organization that has a curriculum built, and they have a history of success. It makes sense. We have a shared goal here.”

For JVSLA, the partnership advances its goal of helping adults from traditionally underserved communities pursue careers with good pay and growth opportunities. Earlier this month, the organization held a graduation for its 58th BankWork$ training class at the EXPO Center in Los Angeles. BankWork$ has been successful, associate director Lisa Meadows said, because the 1,000-plus trainees who have gone through the program are introduced to potential employers and recruiters. More than 800 of them have been placed in jobs with help from JVSLA.

“We’re really excited about getting on the Westside more,” Meadows said. “We have a class in L.A. near Downtown, and we want to address the Westside too because there are a lot of bank openings.” The partnership came about after officials from SMC’s Community Education department reached out to the nonprofit, which was founded during the Great Depression and which now has more than 30 training and counseling centers across the region.The program resonated with King, who was a vice president of financial management for Union Bank of California before taking a leadership position at SMC.

“She was super excited about getting this kind of program at Santa Monica College to reach more people who would like to pursue careers in banking,” Meadows said. “It’s wonderful because it helps people achieve self-sufficiency and get full-time positions.”

Thanks to support from banks and charitable foundations, JVSLA is able to offer the 8-week program for free. At the local community college, it will be available to students who are actively pursuing degrees, as well as people in the community. Prospective candidates who apply for the BankWork$ program must be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED certification, speak and write English and have basic computer skills.

“We’re hoping for the non-students that we’re able to introduce them to the college and that they would consider returning to the college as they seek to advance their career and develop their skills,” King said.

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OneWest Bank Presents Donation to JVSLA BankWork$

As guest speaker at the 58th BankWork$ graduation ceremony that took place Feb. 4 at the L.A. Expo Center, Terri Decker, a senior vice-president at OneWest Bank, welcomed the 21 graduating trainees to join her in a fulfilling career.

“Retail banking is all about people, about taking care of your customers, and I have loved it,” she said.

Decker then underscored OneWest Bank’s commitment to supporting the BankWork$ program, now in its 10th year, by presented a $25,000 check to JVSLA.

JVS BankWork$ is an award-winning job training and placement program that prepares low-income adults from traditionally underserved communities for careers in the financial industry. The eight-week intensive course is free, but applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, speak and write English, have basic computer skills and have no adult felony convictions. What sets BankWork$ apart from other training programs is that, immediately following the graduation, recruiters from partnering banks meet with students in an on-site job fair.

With a 42-year career in banking, Decker well understands the qualities that make someone successful in banking and at the BankWork$ graduation and job fair, she saw the quality in spades.

“All of the graduates presented themselves so well,” Decker said. “OneWest Bank will absolutely continue to support this program, and we will hire people.”

BankWork$ alum Janiel Douglas, 30, spoke to the graduates about how the program had helped her push the “reset button” on her career. Douglas had previously trained as a pharmaceutical technician but when she could not find a job in that field she simultaneously worked at a Dollar Tree store and managed a bridal shop. While those jobs provided her with valuable customer service skills, she was unable to make ends meet. At the suggestion of her sister, who was a program graduate herself, Janiel signed up for BankWork$, was subsequently hired by OneWest Bank as a teller and was soon promoted to personal banker.

 “Now, I now have a car, my own apartment and a job I love,” she said. “In three years my life took a 180 turn.”  

BankWork$ powerfully demonstrates how public-private partnerships can successfully bridge the skills gap by partnering with employers to prepare job seekers for positions businesses need to fill. The program is funded by local banks, foundations, private donors, and the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) via JVS’ WorkSource Centers, as well as EDD and ETP State funding.

JVSLA Installs Incoming Board President Harris Smith and Welcomes New CEO Alan Levey


Jan. 27, 2016 – In a heartfelt ceremony laced with humor and good-natured roasting, JVSLA marked a significant transition in its leadership as it installed incoming board president, Harris Smith, new board officers and directors, and welcomed new CEO Alan Levey. The event, hosted by long-time JVS supporters Rick and Debbie Powell, took place Jan. 20 at a West Los Angeles country club. The more than 100 guests that gathered for a light supper and drinks included JVS past and present board members and donors, their family and friends, staff, and numerous JVS community partners.  

Newly elected President Harris Smith, who previously served as board treasurer, took the reins from outgoing President Jim Hausberg, who joined the JVS Board in 2005. “What I love about Harris is that he has always taken a hands-on approach,” said Hausberg during the ceremony. “He has visited our WorkSource Centers, attended program graduations and many other milestone events that are changing people’s lives every day. We drove out to Lancaster together to meet the staff at all of our programs in the region and see 18 clients complete a commercial truck drivers course. Veterans, long-term unemployed and lots of other people who never thought they’d work again or get a second chance at life, were overjoyed to have received free training and certification with jobs waiting for them on the other end.” Smith outlined his goals while board president: “To complete and implement the new strategic plan; to work towards the operational and fiscal health and sustainability of the agency; to partner with the development team on their efforts and to maximize the engagement and access the talents of our board. I can’t wait to get started.”

Belmont Village Chief Operating Officer Doug Lessard was the Installing Officer. Belmont, which operates 24 innovative assisted living and retirement communities across the country, is JVS’s newest employer partner with its HealthWorks program. Immediately following the official installation, Smith accepted a check for $25,000 from Lessard on behalf of Belmont Village in support of the JVS HealthWorks Program. The ceremony concluded with new CEO Alan Levey thanking retiring CEO Vivian Seigal for her 38 years of service to JVS. “I am thrilled to be building on Vivian’s legacy, a wonderful foundation for the future of JVS,” he said. 

  2016 New and returning JVS Officers:

  • Board President:  Harris Smith
  • Honorary Vice President: Steven Hirsh
  • Vice Presidents: Ted Feldman; Leland Felsenthal; Eileen Coskey Fracchia; Jonathan Karp; Sabrina Shadi
  • Secretary: Ronny Bensimon  
  • Treasurer: Micah Dekofsky

Charles Hill joins as a new member of the board of directors; board members who retired after many years of dedicated service include Bradley Gibbons, Roz Goldstine, Nan Kalish Goodman, Salli Harris and Richard Krelstein.

Mayor Garcetti's 10,000 Strong Newsletter Highlights JVS Vets in Tech Program

This article was published in the City of Los Angeles 10,000 January 2016 newsletter

JVS Vets In Tech

As program coordinator for Vets in Tech, a new initiative from JVS’ Veterans First Program, Alicia Baker is familiar with the predicament that job-seeking veterans can face. For instance, a veteran may have received rigorous on-the-job training that led him or her to manage the network for his entire command post, “but if the military didn’t certify him and he didn’t go to school, how does he parlay this information technology experience into a good job in the civilian IT.

This quandary led JVS to launch Vets In Tech in the summer of 2015 - thanks to a generous grant from the California Emerging Technology Fund (CETF) — to proactively address the marketability of veterans to meet current and future needs of the robust information technology computer science field. This groundbreaking program is among the first such veteran program that concentrates on the IT field. By working with local community colleges, specialized post secondary schools and employers, Vets In Tech assists qualified veterans in accessing training and obtaining industry certifications in the areas of web support, database administration, software and app development.

The program helps them write winning résumés, network with other vets, build professional confidence, and interface with professionals from hiring agencies. What’s exciting for Veterans First Program Manager Anthony Rodriguez is that IT is a growing industry that is accessible to veterans, pays well, and offers ongoing career opportunities. “We’ve already placed veterans who are making $50,000 to $80,000” salaries, he said, adding that too many vets are pushed into security guard and commercial driver positions. “The CETF grant also enables us to partner with other WIOA [Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act] programs to serve veterans across the region. 

We are currently partnering with four to five other non JVS WorkSource Centers. By leveraging this private sector funding, we have been able to expand the reach of the In short, it builds bridges and provides support to veterans who lack the resources for critical training and access to employers. “Having performed network related tasks before going into management at my previous company, I began to look into IT training to prepare me for a new career path,” said Rashid Saboor. “I then found out that the VA benefits I had expected to be there had expired and the EDD training budget had been exhausted for that fiscal year. At that point, having worked briefly in security, I had become discouraged. Then I received an email from Alicia Baker informing me about the Vets In Tech program and inviting me to a meeting. All of the events, job postings, resume writing, support and the training advantage have been outstanding.” 

The ultimate goal is to put the veterans in front of employers who are veteran-friendly, so Vets In Tech also provides job search and placement assistance. Baker says she currently has a range of participating veterans who could be hired into positions that range from help desk to  network administrators and project managers. Thanks to the success in recruiting veterans for the program, Baker said her office is now focusing on finding veteran-friendly employers in Los Angeles County who can hire for full- or part-time positions as well as internships in the IT/computer science field. To that end, Veterans First will host a job fair in March at the JVS WorkSource Center in Marina del Rey and is currently seeking employers to participate. Interested companies can contact Alicia Baker at (310) 776-6245 or [email protected]

JVS Veterans First provides free resources to assist returning US Service members  in readjusting to civilian life, including profes-sional career coaching, assessments to identify transferable skills, training in high growth industry sectors, and job placement assistance. To learn more, please visit www.jvsla.org. 

Partner Spotlight  Each edition of this newsletter will spotlight a 10,000 Strong partner that is providing important services to the veteran community. If your organization has an ini-
tiative that deserves to be featured, tell us more at [email protected]

JVSLA ApartmentWorks fine tunes graduating class

This article, by Patricia Sanchez, appeared in The Beverly Press on 12/17/2015

Jewish Vocational Services of Los Angeles (JVSLA), a nonprofit dedicated to helping people overcome employment barriers, congratulated its third class of graduating students in the JVSLA ApartmentWorks Program on Tuesday, Dec. 15.

JVSLA graduates get one last pep talk before going on their first job interviews. (photo by Patricia Sanchez)
The class, which included individuals from across Los Angeles County, had little time between graduation and job interviews. JVSLA brings employers to the graduates by hosting a job fair immediately following the graduation ceremony.

The program offers technical training for participants and awards them a Certificate for Apartment Maintenance Technician (CAMT). Students are taught exterior and interior repair, HVAC repair, electrical and plumbing skills and customer service skills.

Brenda Corona, program manager for JVSLA ApartmentWorks, said the program is unique in that it doesn’t just provide individuals with a CAMT credential. It’s an all-encompassing career development program that takes a hands-on approach to helping them find employment. 

She added that, although there have only been three graduating classes thus far, the program has progressed tremendously in a short amount of time, thanks to the students and employers involved.

“This class is very special,” Corona said. “These students are very caring individuals … and you can teach anyone a skill, but you can’t teach them how to care.”

Corona said one of the reasons ApartmentWorks is so successful is due to its partnership with employers, ensuring students are led through the employment process from start to finish.
“Many of these students have backgrounds in managing apartment complexes or other buildings,” Corona said. “They just need the extra training and skills to be more marketable.”

One major partner with ApartmentWorks is AvalonBay Communities, a company that oversees apartments across the state apartments throughout Los Angeles and Southern California.

John Smith, portfolio maintenance director for AvalonBay noted the company was asked to be a part of the initial brain storming session for the program and was impressed with its potential.

“We believed it was a good idea, and it was clear from the results of the initial pilot class that this is an amazing program that we wanted to continue to be a part of,” Smith said. “We’ve been very hands-on with the program.

Smith added that the company has locations at 5115 Wilshire Blvd. and will soon be adding a building on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

“Once our project in [West Hollywood] is completed, we will definitely look into employing JVSLA graduates in that location,” said Smith.

ApartmentWorks also focuses on teaching good leadership and communication skills, added Corona, to help give graduates the confidence to use their new training properly.
“We give them all the training they need, which is great,” Corona said. “But those skills mean nothing if they can’t get a job afterward.”

Donald Boney, a Westwood resident, was one of the 10 graduates on Tuesday. He said he has a background in property management, but the training he received through ApartmentWorks was helpful in teaching him other valuable services.

“The JVS program was very instrumental in bridging the gap on my property management skills to getting hands on experience,” Boney said. “I was very impressed with their approach. They taught me maintenance skills and boosted my confidence with running a property.”

During his time supervising a property, Boney said he felt like he was lacking in certain areas such as maintenance upkeep, but with JVSLA, he was able to learn the techniques necessary to provide those services to his future employers.

“It gives me lifelong skills, and it’s been a learning experience I’ll carry with me,” Boney said. “If you’re a person who seeks a leadership position or if you’re looking for opportunities that will advance your life, this is one step in the right direction.”

Boney said he and his classmates all share the sentiment that after completing the course, they are better suited to take on the responsibilities of apartment maintenance and have the self-assurance to exemplify their skills to employers.

JVSLA has locations throughout Los Angeles and offers a multitude of programs including JVSLA ApartmentWorks, BankWorks and HealthWorks. Through its contributors and partners, it is able to operate and offer classes, programs and other outreach to the community. For information, visit www.jvsla.org.

Here's a link to the article from the Beverly Press

JVSLA BankWork$® Graduates 1,000th Trainee

Nov. 4, 2015 – JVS Los Angeles BankWork$®, the award-winning career training and placement program that prepares low-income adults from traditionally underserved communities for careers in the financial services industry, graduated its 1,000th trainee in a milestone ceremony held Nov. 4 at the Los Angeles EXPO Center.

The 25 trainees from the 57th and 58th classes, many of whom completed the eight-week intensive course despite personal obstacles and even long commutes from as far as Hesperia and the Inland Empire, were given a special directive from JVS Los Angeles, which launched the program in 2006.

“Pay it forward; help us help others,” said JVS COO Claudia Finkel. “Reach back and take care of students coming after you. It takes a community to make this program successful.” “There’s a high demand in banking for talented people such as yourselves,” said Les Biller, former Vice Chairman and COO of Wells Fargo Bank, who founded the program with JVSLA.

JVSLA BankWork$ graduated its first class in 2006 with ten pioneering students willing to take a risk on the new, yet untried program. The program is available at no cost to participants, but applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, speak and write English, have basic computer skills and have no adult felony convictions, amongst other eligibility requirements.

”What distinguishes BankWork$ from other vocational training programs,” stated Jay Soloway, JVSLA’s Director of Training and Education, “is the high level of engagement JVSLA has developed with our employer partners.  As a result, we are able to connect our graduates directly with all the major banks in the Los Angeles area, who are eager to fill their open positions with our highly qualified candidates.”

Since the inception of the program, JVS has placed nearly 800 individuals in Los Angeles area banking jobs. The program boasts a consistent placement rate of nearly 85 percent. In the audience filled with supportive family and friends, sat bank recruiters taking note of each graduate’s personal and career assets as they were lauded during the presentation of their certificates of completion. Most have sales and/or cash handling experience from food service and retail jobs that include Macy’s, Goodwill, Party City, 99 Cents Only Stores, Costco, and Jack in the Box. Many are bilingual and some have attended college.

Alumni speaker Dominique Satterwhite scheduled himself for the night shift at his job in a juice bar while he was in the BankWork$ program. “I had always worked hard to be successful, but I just couldn’t find the opportunities to help me realize my professional dreams,” he told the audience. “I was hired as a teller at Bank of America within two weeks of my graduation in 2013 and was then promoted to personal banker. I couldn't have asked for a better or more effective preparation for my new career.”

Immediately following the graduation, recruiters from partnering banks met with students in an on-site job fair.

“I have been coming since the first graduation,” said Tracie Peddy, a Bank of America recruiter. “I have not missed a single one. These students are driven, successful and have often overcome serious obstacles. We leave here having made real offers…for positions that include tellers, personal bankers and call center representatives.”

BankWork$ powerfully demonstrates how public-private partnerships can successfully bridge the skills gap by partnering with employers to prepare job seekers for positions businesses need to fill. The program is funded by local banks, foundations, private donors, and the State of California, and partners closely with the WorkSource Center network, and Employment Development Department.

Because BankWork$ offers a highly replicable model for transitioning people to high wage, high growth jobs, Les Biller is launching the program nationally, with the program up and running or soon to launch in cities that include Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Phoenix, Chicago, Denver and Houston. For Biller, the success is measured not in how many graduates complete the BankWork$ program, but rather in how many land jobs. As the program rolls out nationally, he sees exponential growth in the number of economically challenged job seekers who can take their first step on a career ladder that offers extraordinary potential.

“JVS Los Angeles has set a high standard so that these students are actually getting jobs and launching long term careers. This model will prove to benefit other cities as we expand,” he said.

About JVSLA BankWork$®
Founded in 2006, BankWork$ partners include Banc of California, Bank of America, Chase, City National Bank, Comerica, the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks/EXPO Center, Continental Currency Services, East West Bank, the Marcled Foundation, the Michael & Irene Ross Endowment Fund, OneWest Bank, Pacific Western Bank, the Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation of California, the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, the State of California Employment Training Panel, the State of California Employment Development Department, Union Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

In 2013, JVS BankWork$ won the Project Collaboration Award at the Los Angeles Business Journal (LABJ) Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards, recognizing, “a project that encompasses involvement of multiple stakeholders in the community, engagement of the community being served, and innovation in approaching a community problem or issue.”

About JVSLA:
Serving the widely diverse Southern California community, nonprofit JVS Los Angeles helps individuals overcome barriers to employment so they can become self-sufficient. The agency’s goal is to provide individuals with the tools, resources and support they need through job training, mentoring, expert career coaching, job placement and retention support. Leaders in the workforce development field and advocates for the underserved, JVSLA was founded in 1931 to fight workplace discrimination. JVS Los Angeles assists nearly 30,000 individuals each year. To learn more, visit www.jvsla.org

Liza Sacilioc
[email protected]
(818) 509-9275

December 4, 2015

JVSLA competes in LA2050 Online Challenge


JVSLA was proud to participate in the recent LA2050 online grants competition for $100,000.  The agency launched an aggressive social media outreach campaign via board members, donors, employer partners, clients, family and friends – in hopes of securing the highest number of votes.  Winners will be announced by The Goldhirsch Foundation, sponsors of LA2050, on December 8th.  

Liza Sacilioc
[email protected]
(818) 509-9275

November 6, 2015

JVSLA HealthWorks Program Graduates San Fernando Valley Job Seekers As Certified Nurses Assistants and Offers Private Job Fair

JVSLA’s HealthWorks graduated nine San Fernando Valley job seekers looking to launch their career in the healthcare industry as Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs).

The ceremony took place at the Shulman Activities Center, located in Reseda, Calif, and had more than 60 guests in attendance. The HealthWorks graduation marked the culmination of a six-week training program supplied by professional instructors from the American Red Cross, and offered graduates the opportunity to interview with prospective recruiters from the Annenberg School of Nursing, Belmont Village (Encino, Hollywood), Dynamic Nursing and Sunrise Senior Living (Beverly Hills, West Hills) for open positions.

Program Alumna Ruby Navarro shared her HealthWorks success story with the new graduates. Brenda Corona, Associate Director, JVSLA HealthWorks, has seen tremendous growth in Ruby since her assessment for the program in 2014. “Ruby was shy and timid when I first met her more than a year ago, but now she’s got confidence and tenacity to make breakthroughs in her career,” said Brenda. “When she graduated from our program, she was hired at an acute care center and has transitioned to part-time job at Northridge Hospital while she continues to take prerequisite classes CSUN to become an Registered Nurse.”

Many of the trainees are economically disadvantaged and have had multiple barriers to overcome to launch their careers. Past graduates have faced chronic poverty and even homelessness, have been raised in the foster care system, are refugees or immigrants or are struggling as single parents.

According to Marie Cordero, Director of the Annenberg School of Nursing, JVSLA’s HealthWorks program is impacting the lives of students who have the potential for a career path in healthcare. “For many of the students, they are the first in their families to graduate from a professional program,” Marie said. “They are starting out as a CNA, but next they could move up to become LVN, RN, Nurse Practitioner, and that is the benefit to the student.” As for the community, Marie believes JVS is providing qualified and competent nursing assistants that benefit the facilities and communities they work in.”

October 15, 2015

JVSLA Joins Broad Effort to Observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Los Angeles, CA (October 2015) — JVSLA today announced its participation in National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an annual awareness campaign that takes place each October. The purpose of National Disability Employment Awareness (NDEA) Month is to educate the community about disability employment issues and celebrate the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. This year's theme is "My disability is one part of who I am."

“JVSLA is proud to be a part of this year's National Disability Employment Awareness Month," said Deborah Culbertson, Manager, Disability and Assessment, JVSLA. "We want to spread the important message that we value the diverse perspectives, including those of individuals with disabilities. By sharing information and joining the conversation online through Twitter and Facebook, we hope to contribute to raise awareness for NDEA."

JVSLA’s state-of-the-art Disability and Assessment services offer comprehensive vocational evaluations to a wide range of JVS clients, including individuals with disabilities, veterans, refugees and immigrants, and career professionals in transition. The Center specializes in the area of assistive technology and is the only facility in Southern California offering full vocational evaluations to individuals who are blind and visually impaired.  The Center also provides job search skills training and career exploration.
The evolution of National Disability Employment Awareness Month began in 1945 when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October "National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week." In 1962, the word "physically" was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

"This year's theme encapsulates the important message that people with disabilities are just that — people," said Jennifer Sheehy, Acting Assistant Secretary of Labor for disability employment policy. "And like all people, we are the sum of many parts, including our work experiences. Disability is an important perspective we bring to the table, but, of course, it's not the only one."

Employers and employees in all industries can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and ways they can promote its messages — during October and throughout the year — by visiting www.dol.gov/ndeam.

To learn more about the history, programs and services of JVS, please visit www.jvsla.org.

Liza Sacilioc
[email protected]
(818) 509-9275

JVS Women's Leadership Network Sell Out 3rd Annual Conference

Guest speakers, left to right: Heather Thomson, Dr. Kristi Funk, Emcee - Kiki Elrod, Ethel McGuire and Anita Mann

Guest speakers, left to right: Heather Thomson, Dr. Kristi Funk, Emcee - Kiki Elrod, Ethel McGuire and Anita Mann

With more than 500 attendees, this year’s sold-out conference was the largest to date and delivered on its promise to inspire, motivate and move attendees.

The conference featured four highly accomplished women who shared their personal and professional journeys to success. Opening speaker Dr. Kristi Funk, a renowned surgeon and co-founder of the Pink Lotus Breast Center, delivered an electrifying presentation, empowering women to make the choices that can positively impact their health. Assistant Chief of Airport Police Ethel McGuire shared her struggle to balance the demands of her distinguished 23-year career in the FBI while maintaining her marriage and raising her two young daughters long distance. She reminded attendees, “Strength doesn’t come from what you do; it comes from overcoming what you couldn’t do.” She received a standing ovation as her two daughters, one an FBI agent and the other an attorney, joined her onstage.

Emmy-Award winning choreographer Anita Mann, shared the behind the scenes story of her journey in the male-dominated entertainment industry. She was joined by veteran dancer Cooley Jaxson, whose performance brought the crowd to their feet. Heather Thomson, designer and founder of the popular Yummie fashion brand and cast member of Bravo’s “Real Housewives of New York,” concluded with her own words of wisdom: “Without risk there is no reward, so when given an opportunity you have to take the chance.”

In a short presentation about the work of JVS, the audience was deeply moved by Paula Stern, whose daughter, an Army veteran, benefited from the JVS Veterans First and WoMentoring programs, which helped her transition back to civilian life; Felicia Cates, a JVS HealthWorks® graduate who was raised in foster care and now works at Cedars Sinai; and Deborah Smith, a domestic abuse survivor, who received the support she needed from multiple JVS job training and mentoring programs to land her dream job at Wells Fargo. Her words resonated with the audience when she said, “Success happens when opportunity meets preparation and because of JVS, I was ready when my moment came.”

The mission of nonprofit JVS Los Angeles is to help lift people out of poverty and assist them to overcome obstacles to employment with the goal of achieving economic self-sufficiency. The goal of The JVS Women’s Leadership Network (WLN) is to support JVS programs for women in need, with a special focus on WoMentoring – the agency’s innovative career mentoring program, matching women in career transition with mentors who are accomplished professionals. Each year, the WLN hosts its Annual Woman to Woman Conference to inspire and encourage professional and philanthropic women to become involved and to provide WLN members and guests with meaningful networking opportunities.

The 2015 Conference was co-chaired by Debbie Powell and Judy F. Rosenberg with vice chair Lucille Shalometh-Goldin, who will take the lead next year for the 4th Annual Conference.

September 25, 2015

Award-Winning Program Graduates Classes 55 & 56 in Boyle Heights & Compton

JVSLA BankWork$™ Supports Los Angeles Economy through Job Training Program & Job Fair With Partner Banks

Sept. 9, 2015 -- JVS BankWork$™, the award-winning program that prepares individuals for first-step careers in the financial industry, graduated classes 55 and 56 from training sessions based in Boyle Heights and the first training session hosted in the City of Compton.

At a recent graduation ceremony held at the L.A. EXPO Center on August 19th, Jay Soloway, JVSLA Director of Training and Education, thanked the Puente Learning Center in Boyle Heights and the City of Compton’s CareerLink for hosting the BankWork$ program at their locations. Neil Holmes, senior economic development specialist from Compton’s Office of the City Manager/Community Development joined the ceremony to witness the accomplishments of the first BankWork$ graduates from Compton.
Two keynote speakers from longtime-banking partner U.S. Bank joined in the ceremony: Bonnie Tseng, Community Development Manager for U.S. Bank in Los Angeles, and Christina Ketsoyan, Vice President and District Manager for U.S. Bank in the San Fernando Valley. Tseng and Ketsoyan presented BankWork$ with a $25,000 check and addressed the new graduates who were eager to meet recruiters from JVSLA BankWork$ partners, such as U.S. Bank, Bank of America, Banc of California, Wells Fargo, Union Bank, Chase, Pacific Western Bank, Comerica and City National Bank.
“As a community development manager my job is to find wonderful programs like the BankWork$ program and help support what they do in the community,” said Tseng. “There is no end to your potential…there’s a whole audience waiting to hire you,” she stated while referring to the rows of recruiters ready to meet and interview the 33 new graduates following the ceremony.
Under the leadership of Associate Director Lisa Meadows, BankWork$ prepares job seekers for entry-level positions as a first step on the career ladder in the financial services industry.  Since the launch of the BankWork$ program in 2006, the program has graduated nearly 1,000 students with more than 700 placed in banking positions throughout Southern California.
“The BankWork$ program helps transform people’s lives—many are young adults working in fast-food restaurants with families to support, but we also have older students who lost a job and used the opportunity to make a career change,” said Meadows. “Over the course of eight weeks, my instructors and I see the confidence in each student grow as they begin to realize their learning and career potential. It’s truly a transformation.” The intensive eight-week program offers job training, job placement assistance and ongoing coaching for career advancement. Immediately following the graduation, the trainees move into a job fair with recruiters from the partnering banks, many of who have open positions to fill. BankWork$ graduates are often hired on the day of their graduation or shortly thereafter.

Many of the trainees have overcome multiple barriers to employment including living in extreme poverty as well as limited education and work experience. Several past graduates have come from the foster care system or are single parents struggling to earn an independent living. Others are newly arrived immigrants and have overcome significant language and cultural barriers. 
“Before I became a teller at U.S. Bank, I was working 5 a.m. shifts at a fast-food restaurant,” said Angelica Bonilla, BankWork$ guest speaker, program graduate and U.S. Bank teller. “JVS’ BankWork$ program taught me so many things that I use in the workplace and in everyday situations, such as using open-ended questions to talk to customers, empathy to handle someone who may be upset, and overall team collaboration.” For more information on how to register, please call 310-273-6633 ext.  0.

About JVSLA BankWork$
BankWork$ partners include Bank of America, Banc of California, Chase, City National Bank, Comerica, the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks/EXPO Center, Continental Currency Services, the Marcled Foundation, the Michael and Irene Ross Endowment Fund, Pacific Western Bank, the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, the State of California Employment Training Panel, the State of California Employment Development Department, Union Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo.

In 2013, JVS BankWork$ won the Project Collaboration Award at the Los Angeles Business Journal (LABJ) Nonprofit and Corporate Citizenship Awards. The Project Collaboration Award recognizes, “a project that encompasses involvement of multiple stakeholders in the community, engagement of the community being served, and innovation in approaching a community problem or issue.”

September 11, 2015

A Record Year of Generosity and Educational Assistance for JVS Scholarship

Top row L - R:  Scholarship donors Josh Gelbart, Sarah Gelbart, Sheila Baran Spiwak, Alissa Spiwak and Aaron Spiwak; Seated L - R: Three of the Baran-Spiwak scholarship recipients Tova Scholl, Tali Bar-Or and Lauren Dubey.

Nearly 450 business leaders, donors and friends joined JVS Los Angeles at the Beverly Hilton on May 7th to support the agency’s efforts to put Angelenos back to work.

A record number of attendees filled Sinai Temple to celebrate the legacy of the JVS Scholarship Program - helping make educational dreams come true.

The gathering of more than 300 donors, students, JVS board members, family and friends for the annual JVS Scholarship Awards Reception marked yet another milestone for the program in its 43 year history. The guests in attendance celebrated a record year of JVS providing support to deserving Jewish students throughout Los Angeles. For the 2015-16 academic year, the JVS Scholarship Program will give $644,000 in scholarships to 199 students. Both the total grant amount and the number of students funded are records for the program.

“More funding means more qualified students are getting larger scholarships,” said Jonathan Karp, who co-chairs the JVS Scholarship Committee with Leland Felsenthal. “The cost of tuition at universities continues to skyrocket. Thanks to the support of our donors, we are able to help even more students this year.”

The majority of the recipients received scholarships ranging from $2,000 to $5,000. In addition, 10 students attending medical school will receive a $10,000 scholarship thanks to the William and Leah Molle Scholarship. The Molle Foundation has committed to providing additional support for medical students for the 2016-17 academic year. The students are attending an impressive range of universities throughout the United States and internationally including Harvard, Yale, UCLA, Georgetown, Stanford and UC Berkeley.

One of the most meaningful traditions of the annual event is a presentation of the Tzedakah Box Campaign, which enables current recipients and their families as well as alumni to begin giving back, no matter the size of the donation. Since its inception five years ago, the campaign has raised $115,000, primarily in small donations, enabling the program to award 55 additional scholarships. Once again, donations were matched dollar for dollar in loving memory of Ben and Sarah Baran.

Attendees heard first hand of the impact that a JVS scholarship can have in the life of a student pursuing higher education. Guest speakers Jacob Valk, who is studying medicine at Tel Aviv University and Lauren Dubey who is completing her training to be a family nurse practitioner at UC San Francisco, spoke of the importance of experiencing relief from crippling educational bills and the freedom it offered to take advantage of additional academic programs and opportunities. Both spoke of the value of a program and donors who provide this much needed assistance.

“The scholarship has been a gift of time, knowing I don’t have to work every Friday night or every day off to pay my bills,” said Dubey whose late father Larry was a JVS client himself and who received the JVS Inspiration Award at the 2013 JVS Strictly Business L.A. Awards ceremony. “Above all, the scholarship has involved me with a community that has been incredibly supportive of my family and me, and for that I am the most grateful.”

Dr. Kevin Hayavi, who co-chairs the JVS Scholarship Alumni Legacy Society, addressed the need for current scholarship recipients to become donors in the future. Hayavi and fellow Alumni Association Co-chair Dr. Brian Gantwerker were both JVS Scholarship recipients who now sponsor students themselves.

“I was the one who actually picked up the phone and called JVS. I wanted to give back to the people who had helped me,” Hayavi told the crowd. “So my message to all the recipients tonight is, ‘Do not forget the people who helped you. Do not forget the people who were behind you and who supported you.”

About JVS: Serving the widely diverse Southern California community, JVS Los Angeles helps people of all faiths and backgrounds overcome barriers to employment so they can become self-sufficient. Our clients include recently separated veterans, people living in poverty, at risk, foster and probation youth, the long term unemployed, people with disabilities and mature workers, as well as downsized career professionals. To learn more, visit www.jvsla.org.

July 29, 2015

Daniel’s Jeweler’s Trip Around the Diamond will be a Grand Slam for JVS in May

May 1, 2015 -- Our hometown Los Angeles Dodgers led the major leagues in home runs during the first month of the Major League Baseball season, and JVS is hoping the team’s power surge continues into May.

JVS is the nonprofit beneficiary of the Daniel’s Jewelers Trip Around the Diamond Feature for the month of May. For each home run hit by a Dodger player in May – at any game played either at Dodger Stadium or at a competing team’s ballpark - Daniel’s Jewelers will donate $1,000 to JVS. The program is generously underwritten by the Howard and Stephanie Sherwood Foundation.

With each home run, listeners to Dodgers Radio on AM 570 will hear “This trip around the diamond is sponsored by Daniel’s Jewelers, donating $1,000 for every Dodger home run this month to  JVS L.A. JVS helps lift Angelenos out of poverty with job training, expert resources and compassionate support. Building better lives. One job at a time. Daniel’s Jewelers, Making Diamond Dreams Come True Since 1948.” The announcement will be made live by a member of the Dodger broadcasting team -- Hall of Famer Vin Scully, Charley Steiner and Rick Monday

“The Dodger homerun program not only provides much needed funding for nonprofit organizations that are doing important work in our community, it also provides a platform to bring wider attention and awareness to their important causes,” said Howard Sherwood, Chairman Emeritus of Daniel’s Jewelers. “JVS is providing those who seek their help with a way to literally change their lives. We have been most impressed by the outcomes of their programs and services.”

“Thanks to the generosity of Daniel’s Jewelers and the Howard and Stephanie Sherwood Foundation, Dodger home runs will not only power our favorite team toward the World Series, they will also benefit  the thousands of struggling Angelenos who are helped every year by JVS’ programs,” said JVS Board President Jimmy Hausberg. “May promises to be an exciting month!”

In the five years of its existence, the Daniel’s Jewelers Trip Around the Diamond Feature has generated more than $525,000 to nearly 15 Los Angeles area nonprofits.

Representatives from JVS will receive a check from Daniel’s Jewelers on the field at Dodger Stadium prior to the June 5 game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

“Dodgers Radio is proud to partner with Daniel’s Jewelers and the Sherwood family as they so generously support local charities, one Dodger home run at a time,” said Joe Edward, Director of Business Development with Dodgers Radio.

About JVS: Serving the widely diverse Southern California community, JVS Los Angeles helps people of all faiths and backgrounds overcome barriers to employment so they can become self-sufficient. Our clients include recently separated veterans, people living in poverty, at risk, foster and probation youth, the long term unemployed, people with disabilities and mature workers, as well as downsized career professionals. To learn more, visit www.jvsla.org.

Successful Young CEO, Veteran HR Company Mix and Mingle to Put Angelenos Back to Work At Strictly Business L.A.

Honorees of 18th Annual event Help Achieve the JVS Multiplier Effect

Meet the CEO of one of the city’s most successful residential brokerage firms and tap into the power of networking, all while supporting the life-altering efforts of JVS to put Angelenos back to work!

Michael Nourmand, the second generation CEO of one of the city’s most successful residential brokerage firms, will receive the inaugural Young Leader Award May 7 at the 18th Annual Strictly Business L.A. Luncheon and Networking Event. JVS will present his firm, Nourmand & Associates, with its Corporate Leadership Award. CPEhr will receive the Corporate Partnership Award. The agency’s Inspiration Award video will feature a video telling the stories of JVS clients who have overcome substantial odds to achieve success.

The 18th annual event at The Beverly Hilton highlights the efforts of JVS and its partners in the business community to provide Angelenos with the resources, training and support they need to return to employment.

“A nonprofit like JVS is greatly strengthened by our strategic partnerships within the corporate community,” said JVS President Jim Hausberg who chairs Strictly Business. “Together we are not only putting people back to work, we are enabling them to contribute to their own communities and thereby strengthen the local economy. “We call this the JVS Multiplier Effect.”

Corporate Leadership Award recipient Nourmand & Associates is a highly successful residential brokerage firm. Saeed Nourmand founded Nourmand & Associates in 1976 and transferred the reins to his youngest son, Michael in late 2007. Nourmand & Associates comprise highly respected business leaders, as well as longtime contributors to local charities.

One of the oldest Human Resources Outsourcing and Professional Employer Outsourcing firms in California, CPEhr has a division dedicated specifically to helping nonprofits achieve their goals.

Returning to host Strictly Business for a third consecutive year is award-winning NBC 4 weatherman and comedian Fritz Coleman.

For information and tickets contact Randy H. Lapin at (323) 761-8598,[email protected].

About JVS: Serving the widely diverse Southern California community, JVS Los Angeles helps people of all faiths and backgrounds overcome barriers to employment so they can become self-sufficient. Our clients include recently separated veterans, people living in poverty, at risk, foster and probation youth, the long term unemployed, people with disabilities and mature workers, as well as downsized career professionals. To learn more, visit www.jvsla.org.

April 15, 2015