California Helping Underserved Populations Enter the Workforce with More Than $11 Million in New Funding


NR No. 23-29
Contact: Loree Levy/Aubrey Henry

SACRAMENTO – The California Employment Development Department (EDD) announced today it has awarded more than $11 million in grants to Employment Social Enterprise (ESE) organizations that will help transition underserved job seekers into the workforce. The grants will fund technical assistance, and the design and implementation of projects that will focus on placing California’s most vulnerable populations into employment, typically in a supported employment setting, to help them earn wages, build work experience, and improve job skills.

“ESE organizations are businesses that focus on addressing challenges for people who face extreme barriers to employment,” said EDD Director Nancy Farias. “By providing employment, training and support services, these organizations provide a bridge into the workforce for those getting back on their feet after experiencing issues like incarceration or homelessness. California is proud to support ESE organizations with this new grant funding.”

The funding announced today includes $9.9 million in ESE grant funds being awarded to seven organizations that will provide job-related assistance and training to populations experiencing significant barriers to employment.

Additionally, $1.4 million in ESE Technical Assistance (TA) grant funds are being awarded to The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) to assist in the continued development and refinement of the ESE projects.

The selected ESE organizations will serve people who have faced long-standing barriers to employment, including justice-involved individuals, disconnected young adults, people with disabilities, long-term unemployed, older individuals, English language learners, and veterans. The grants’ funding will focus on building the capacity of ESEs to provide support services to participants to increase retention and success in the program. Successful projects will expand the scale and reach of the ESEs to serve nearly 1,600 workers currently confronting economic and employment barriers and develop career pathways for these special populations.

Job seekers receiving services funded by these grants will benefit from workforce and supportive services such as job-related skills assessments and supplemental training. Some of the targeted industries the workers will train and receive jobs in include: construction; commercial trucking; business services; information technology; transportation & logistics; energy & utilities; environmental monitoring; app design; digital media & technology; drone operation; film editing; graphic design; and web development.

As the ESE TA provider, REDF will be responsible for providing meaningful technical assistance to ESE PY 22-23 program awardees as they plan and implement projects in support of underserved populations facing significant barriers to employment. REDF will provide individualized assistance based on each program awardee’s project focus, the unique barriers of the target populations being served, and the industry sectors and geographic regions involved.

Funding for these grants was provided through discretionary funds made available to Governor Gavin Newsom in accordance with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and administered by the EDD and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.

These organizations were selected through a competitive application and evaluation process. Please refer to the table below for the organizations’ contact information to learn more about the services available with these funds.



Award Amount

Industries and Poulations Serverd


Coalition For Responsible Community Development

Los Angeles


Construction; street & sidewalk maintenance

Disconnected young adults experiencing extreme poverty, homelessness; justice involved; and foster care

Mark Wilson


New Earth

Los Angeles


App design; content creation, digital media & technology; drone operation; film editing; graphic design; information technology; social media marketing; and web development


Justice-involved; disconnected young adults

Yana Simone Grammer





Able-Disabled Advocacy, Inc.

San Diego


Business services; construction; and information technology


Veterans; people with disabilities (PWD); disconnected young adults; long-term unemployed


Elaine Cooluris

619-231-5990, Ext. 319


Downtown Streets Team

San Francisco, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Santa Clara, Alameda, San Mateo


Construction industry (highway maintenance work); and business service industry (janitorial work)


Long-term unemployed; and justice-involved


Chris Lockhart


Make Projects 

San Diego


Hospitality and culinary arts


Low-income refugee & immigrant women; English language learners


Angie (Anchi) Mei



The Chrysalis Center

San Bernardino, Riverside


Logistics & transportation; maintenance



Michael Graff-Weisner



Goodwill of Southern California


Los Angeles,
San Bernardino



Retail; janitorial


Margaret Frericks



ESE TA PY 22-23 Grant Award


Award Amount




Greg Ericksen


The ESE PY 22-23 program is fully funded by a grant award totaling $9.9 million (100%) from the Department of Labor.

The ESE TA PY 22-23 program is fully funded by a grant award totaling $1.4 million (100%) from the Department of Labor.