Hawthorne-based agency gets grant to help laid-off California workers

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Ida Aka speaks with a job recruiter from Bank of America at a job fair in the James L. Knight Center on August 23, 2011 in Miami, Florida.

A Hawthorne-based agency is overseeing a federal grant to help laid-off workers find new jobs.

The grant from the Department of Labor came quietly. It’s a lot of money, $45 million, with a big title: National Emergency Grant.

"The emergency that we’re addressing here is large-scale layoffs," says Dustin Stephenson of the South Bay Workforce Investment Board. "That’s moments where a company lays off 50 or more people in one day."

The South Bay Workforce Investment Board has worked with 21 agencies in counties across the state to identify more than a hundred big layoffs. The grant money goes towards classroom training, on-the-job training and other help for laid-off workers.

"We can also cover travel costs," Stephenson says. "We can help them retool their wardrobe. Whatever it might be, whatever these individuals need in order to get that next job, we can use these funds to provide that to them."

The grant’s first phase could help as many as 6,000 laid-off Californians.

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