Goodwill Southern California Taps National Nonprofit to Help L.A.’s Displaced Frontline Workforce Get Back to Work

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Across the greater L.A. area, workers and job-seekers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have a new resource to access job training and career opportunities, thanks to a partnership announced today between Goodwill Southern California and the national nonprofit SkillUp Coalition. An ambitious collaboration of education providers, employers, and community-based organizations backed by major workforce nonprofits and philanthropies, the coalition is using sophisticated labor market analytics and personalized coaching to create new pathways to opportunity for workers throughout the region.

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to serve Los Angeles through SkillUp’s first local partnership with Goodwill Southern California, and we are incredibly grateful for the support of the James Irvine Foundation that made this all possible,” said Steve Lee, Executive Director, SkillUp. “Together we can bring new resources to bear in the city’s fight for opportunity and access during the pandemic and beyond.”  

According to a recent McKinsey report, up to one-third of U.S. jobs are vulnerable as a result of COVID-19, and more than eighty percent of those are held by low-income workers. Between December 2019 and December 2020, Los Angeles County nonfarm employment dropped by 9.0 percent, over 400,000 people.

Designed to address the impact of the crisis on the most vulnerable communities in the American workforce, the SkillUp Coalition works with local organizations around the country to create new pathways to economic mobility for the millions of Americans whose livelihoods are still being affected by the pandemic.

“SkillUp is a comprehensive, one-stop platform dedicated to preparing COVID-impacted workers for good jobs today and tomorrow,” said Maria Flynn, president and CEO of JFF and a SkillUp Coalition board member. “As effective as the platform is, what really sets it apart from other tools is the coalition’s strong community partnerships with on-the-ground organizations, like Goodwill Southern California. These organizations know the local labor markets and regional economies firsthand, providing unique end-to-end expertise and support for jobseekers.”

The SkillUp platform helps frontline workers select and prepare for career paths that align with the economy of the future by targeting sectors that are expected to grow significantly in the coming years such as health care, technology, skilled trades, and logistics. SkillUp and Goodwill Southern California partner to support job seekers using a four-part approach:

  • Career Navigation: Technology-enabled tools and coaches to guide displaced workers in choosing a career path and overcoming the financial and psychological challenges that prevent progress
  • Training Programs: Access to vetted, high-quality education and training programs that match displaced workers’ career goals and provide financial support to cover tuition costs
  • Financial Support: Supplemental funding to cover the costs of tuition, equipment, or additional supports for workers to attend and succeed in the programs with the best demonstrated job placement and earnings gains
  • Job Opportunities: Full-time and contract roles matched to workers’ career aspirations and regional and local labor market demand

“Goodwill Southern California, JFF, and SkillUp, like so many of our partners and peer organizations, understand that access to quality training and upskilling opportunities are critical to securing an upwardly mobile job with family-supporting wages.  This could not be more pressing than right now as we work to ensure an equitable economic recovery in which all workers have a pathway to quality jobs,” said Patrick McClenahan, President and CEO, Goodwill Southern California. “We are proud to serve as the local intermediary for SkillUp Los Angeles and to do our part to make upskilling more accessible, more affordable, and based on real-time labor market and industry intelligence that significantly increases the likelihood of securing a high-quality, secure career.”

In addition to the core supports above, the SkillUp initiative will invest in a large-scale digital marketing campaign to help workers understand, trust and access the available rapid re-skilling opportunities. Workers and job-seekers across the greater LA area can learn more about SkillUp and access career navigation resources at Training providers, employers, technology & service providers, or nonprofits interested in joining the Coalition can learn more at

“Upskilling our employees is now more important than ever. But we have to ensure that those providing the training are aligned to the real needs of employers,” said Ken Wiseman, Chief Workforce Development Officer, AMS Fulfillment. “For California to have a successful recovery it will require a true alignment of training providers, employers and workforce agencies for the benefit of our most vulnerable citizens.” 

SkillUp Los Angeles is funded by a generous gift from The James Irvine Foundation’s Better Careers initiative, and will continue raising national and local philanthropic support for COVID-impacted frontline workers in the Los Angeles region. The SkillUp Coalition’s founding operating partners are Guild Education, JFF, Opportunity at Work, and Strada Education Network.

About the SkillUp Coalition
SkillUp, a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit coalition, is helping the more than 20 million frontline workers impacted by COVID-19 get rehired for in-demand jobs in high-growth industries. The Coalition also enables partners to share best practices, collaborate on shared challenges, and participate in public engagement campaigns that help COVID-affected workers begin a prosperous new stage in their careers. Consisting of leading training and education providers, employers, technology developers, and job readiness nonprofits, SkillUp provides career navigation, training programs, and job opportunities to help frontline workers secure their place in the economy of tomorrow. For more information, please visit

About Goodwill Southern California
Transforming lives through the power of work, Goodwill Southern California (GSC) focuses its services on individuals with barriers to employment, as well as employers, by providing job readiness, wrap-around services, training, work experience and job placement services.  Each year, GSC prepares and places thousands of individuals into sustainable employment through programs and services offered at three campuses, Career Resource Centers, America’s Job Centers of California, and dozens other programs that meet the needs of youth, individuals with disabilities, Veterans, justice-involved individuals, and individuals experiencing homelessness.  GSC provides these services throughout Los Angeles (north of Rosecrans Ave.), Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Visit for more information.

SOURCE SkillUp Coalition

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