Juan Mendoza and Dezdon Lewis were recently honored for having turned their lives around with the help of Playa Vista Job Opportunities and Business Services (PVJOBS), a South L.A. nonprofit that places members of the local at-risk community* in construction-related jobs.
“Juan and Dezi represent just two of the more than 8,000 positions we have filled since 1998 and their compelling stories demonstrate how jobs can make a difference in creating prosperous, healthy families,” PVJOBS Executive Director Erik Miller said.
“”I’ve been incarcerated five times,” said Lewis. “Once I started construction, I quit drugs cold turkey.”
Lewis began digging the tunnel and shaft work on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project and today he is an inspector, in charge of Segment Eight Health Safety and Environmental.
Mendoza had a hard time finding employment after incarceration, but now wears a hardhat each day to work with drywall for Jade Inc.
“I used to get up early to work out and I saw my friends with their hardhats going to work” Meondoza said. “And I thought, hey, I’m up, I could be working, not just working out.”
Additionally, Morley Builders, Inc. and Gloria Gray, West Basin Municipal Water District Board Member, were honored as Contractor of the Year and Visionary of the Year, respectively, for their work in hiring the disadvantaged and partnering with PVJOBS. Awards were distributed at PVJOBS’ 20th Anniversary recognition luncheon, held September 28.