Top l-r: John Reamer, Inspector of Public Works for the City of Los Angeles, Daniel Tabor, former Mayor of Inglewood, Robert Sainz, Assistant General Manager, Operations Economic & Workforce Development Department for the City of Los Angeles
Bottom l-r: A union representative discusses job opportunities with United Hood Nation “Pathway to Prosperity” job fair attendant; Halisi Price of the Black Worker Center, Nation of Islam Western Region Student Minister Tony Muhammad, Brad Carson (United Hood Nation), Robert Sainz, Assistant General Manager, Operations Economic & Workforce Development Department for the City of Los Angeles discuss opportunities during job fair.(Photo by By Charlene Muhammad)

 During a historic gang summit held in South L.A. last year, the community called for jobs, training and education, and organizers of the United Hood Nation delivered with a “Pathway to Prosperity” job fair on its one-year anniversary. 

Local hiring representatives with the L.A. Stadium and Entertainment District in Inglewood, Jordan Downs Redevelopment, and other key players, including job coordinators for LAX, L.A. Metro, Trade Union representatives, and the L.A. City Economic and Workforce Development filled the Scientology Community Center on August 17. 

A representative from Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Office of Reentry and the Black Labor Center were also on hand with information on how the community can access billions of dollars in local jobs expected to last for at least the next 30-40 years. 

For instance, LAX Airport has $14 billion in local hiring. The Inglewood Rams Football Stadium has $2.6 billion, and the Jordan Downs Housing Development has $1 billion, according to coordinators.   

“These jobs will help us to employ Black males and females regardless of your criminal record,” said student Tony Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque #27, Nation of Islam Western Region Representative. 

He urged Black men and women to vie for the construction jobs or the training if necessary.  

“I’m talking about jobs for Black people.  We specifically said that Black people have not been participating, and we’re going to hold their foot to the fire,” Muhammad stated. 

Brad Carson spearheaded negotiations and Nehasi Ronald Lee, chaired the event, which was coordinated by some 12 organizers.   

Former Inglewood Mayor Daniel Tabor facilitated the event, themed “Uplifting Our Community.”  It focused in part on structuring the community to be in support of the “Bloods & Crips 2016 Peace Treaty, July 17th Cease Fire Agreement,” according to Carson. 

The United Hood Nation seeks a world of thriving communities that have thrown off any shackles of oppression and that have transformed themselves into a state of peace and booming prosperity, according to organizers. 

United Hood Nation pursues its vision through programs and services that effectively address community street leaders, violence, and conflict; that effectively improve educational achievement; that train individuals to become competent, skilled and get them gainfully employed; and that help to launch and develop successful start-ups, and to expand existing enterprises. 

The organization has created a step-by-step process to help the community, particularly so-called gang members, to live peaceful and successful lives, but there are some prerequisites, he stated. 

“First, we have to unite.  That’s why it’s called United Hood Nation,” said Carson. 

One of John Reamer’s tasks as inspector of Public Works for the City of Los Angeles is to ensure companies do exactly what they promise.  

“We’re saying we want you to reach out to and provide opportunities for local workers.  We want you to reach out to and provide opportunities for apprentices who want to learn a craft or trade, and we want you to reach out to and provide opportunities for transitional workers – those individuals who are dealing with the realities of barriers, that there’s nothing they can do about,” Reamer said. 

He elaborated, “They spent time in jail.  They may have the history that they have, but they’re saying they want to work, and we want you to partner with us to provide them an opportunity to show all of us that they’re real about doing this!” 

Reamer noted that unfortunately, there are industries that hold people’s pasts against them, but construction was not one of them.  “They’ve all said, we’re not looking at where you came from’  we’re looking at what you do,” he said. 

Robert Sainz, assistant general manager, Operations Economic & Workforce Development Department for the City of Los Angeles, shared other ways attendees could get their fair share of the resources coming to their community.  

There’s the small business aspect through the Workforce Department, but there’s also work source centers, which has aided thousands each year, he said. 

Sixteen work source centers serve adults and another 14 serve youth.  “In each of the work source centers, there are resources for you to not just look for a job, because getting a job is one thing, but getting a career and being able to get you the certificates, the licenses, the ability to move up in a career is what we’re all about,” Sainz stated.   

He concluded by highlighting the City’s gang injunction settlement, which set aside $30 million over the next four years for people who were impacted.   

“If you were a gang member or thought to be a gang member or impacted by the gang injunction, I would tell you to check to see if you are eligible,” Sainz said. 

Notifications about settlement benefits, which include the creation of a Jobs and Education Program, began last week, he said.  According to a federal court order, the City will contribute a minimum of $4.5 million and a maximum of $30 million of new, non-supplanting funds over four years.   

Already, some 6,000 are known to be eligible for the program, according to Sainz.  Any unable or uninterested may bequeath their benefits to close relatives, according to the settlement. 

“You’re eligible for free training … subsidized employment … stipends … support services.  The value of these services is about $15,000, so if you want to go back to college, back to a training program, it would all be paid for, as well as the employment,” Sainz stated.