For nearly 25 years, SCOPE has initiated and implemented workforce development pathways that link low-income and working class communities of color to targeted growth sectors that provide family-supporting wages, benefits, and career pathways to the middle class. Some of our victories include Workplace Hollywood, the Los Angeles City Jobs Program, the Healthcare Careers Ladder Training Program, the Municipal Green Retrofit Program, and the Utility Pre-Craft Trainee Program. Our job pathway models include paid training and supportive services, job placement and advancement opportunities, targeted local hire and living wage standards.

Reviving Public Sector Careers

Public sector careers were once a pathway to the middle class for many communities of color. Through quality wages, benefits, and opportunities for advancement, these jobs not only allowed employees to provide for their families, but also created thriving communities. During the recession, as many as 7,000 City of Los Angeles employees lost their jobs, devastating working families and residents who rely on city services. In the fall of 2014, SCOPE joined Fix LA, a coalition of community-based organizations and city labor unions calling on Mayor Eric Garcetti and the City Council to restore critical jobs and services lost during the recession.

In 2016, Fix LA won an agreement from Mayor Garcetti to bring back critical services and hire upwards of 5,000 new employees by the year 2018, using targeted local hire practices.  SCOPE, building upon the City Jobs model it championed in 2002, sits on the Targeted Local Hire Workgroup convened by City Personnel and Economic and Workforce Development Departments. Working alongside our Fix LA allies, SCOPE is shaping the development of strong local hiring practices and is committed to holding the City accountable to its promise.

Expanding Opportunity and Access in the Oral Health Care Field

During the Great Recession, many of SCOPE’s members lost dental benefits as a result of cuts to the state’s Denti-CAL program. In order to further our understanding of barriers to oral health care access, SCOPE staff and members surveyed South Los Angeles residents in 2015 and found that major barriers were related to employment access. Members of our community often had to forgo dental care to meet basic needs like food and rent. These findings were shared with local health advocacy organizations, including California Partnership, Prevention Institute, and Southside Coalition of Community Health Centers, who have developed into a core network of advocates.

Given that the existing oral health care system–and the economic system that it reflects–do not meet the needs of low-income communities of color, SCOPE sees the potential to address multiple facets of this problem through a new workforce development pathway, one that both employs and serves low-income communities of color.