Aiming to match people struggling to make ends meet with good-paying county jobs, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today approved pilot programs targeting economically disadvantaged communities as well as women interested in construction craft and apprentice jobs.

Supervisor Hilda Solis recommended the county focus on hiring people with barriers to employment, saying, “The county is a model for creating a pipeline to good, sustainable jobs for many residents.”

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, who co-authored the motion, noted that the county is the largest single employer in the region.

“That gives us a terrific opportunity to lead by example,” Kuehl said.

The county will partner with an organization called Women in Non- Traditional Employment Roles (WINTER) to coordinate a “high-road” training partnership for crafts and apprenticeship positions.

As defined by the American Sustainable Business Council, “high-road” companies “view the workplace as a means to create significant business and social impact (and) reject low-road business models that exploit employees and disregard the environment as the basis for success.”

The board also directed its human resource department to come up with a plan in 30 days to reach out to residents of underserved communities, who are under-represented among county employees.

“We all see our neighbors and fellow citizens who are struggling with homelessness, often due to loss or lack of employment,” said Steve Lytle, director of the Salvation Army Bell Shelter. “County jobs are one way the county can help people become independent and establish a stable career path.”

Thirteen percent of county employees are projected to retire within five years and some entry-level jobs could see rates up to 29 percent, according to a report on workforce development by the Worker Education Resource Center.

Opportunities exist, but the application and onboarding process can be daunting, so part of the county’s work will be to help coach potential applicants to put their best foot forward.