Marwa Abdelghani

  • published Collective Action for Racial Justice in News Room 2020-06-24 10:10:20 -0700

  • published L.A. Compact Connection | May 2020 in Newsletters 2020-05-20 14:27:06 -0700

  • published Compact News May 2020 in Newsletters Read More 2020-05-11 23:18:19 -0700

    Helping child care businesses stay afloat during COVID-19

    The L.A. County Early Care and Education Response Team recently shared a catalog of federal, state and local financial resources to help child care providers stay open and keep staff on payroll during the crisis. As small businesses, most child care programs are eligible for the relief options offered through the CARES Act.

    Specifically, the CARES Act includes two programs - the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) – to help small businesses experiencing economic hardship due to COVID-19.  However, with so many small businesses struggling to keep afloat, funds for both programs were exhausted within a matter of days. Fortunately, Congress allocated additional funding to both programs giving small businesses, like child care providers, another opportunity to apply. 

    To make this an easier process for child care providers to navigate, UNITE-LA in partnership with the Office for the Advancement of Early Care and Education and First 5 LA, developed a one-stop resource catalogue with information on the PPP and EIDL as well as other loan and grant opportunities at the state and local level. Providers might also be eligible for the county’s COVID-19 Small Business Assistance Program. Introduced by County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, this public-private partnership will provide critical funding for small businesses and nonprofits who were not able to access the PPP. 

    The resource sheet is housed on the L.A. County Office of Education COVID-19 Response Resources web page. Additionally, David Rattray, President and CEO of UNITE-LA, provided guidance on the PPP during the last two community calls hosted by the L.A. County Early Care and Education Response Team.

    While we have heard that some child care providers have enrolled in the PPP, we don’t know exactly how many of them have benefitted from this program. A recent analysis from the National Women’s Law Center and CLASP, showed that $9.6 billion each month would be needed nationwide for providers to survive the pandemic and ensure they will be there once parents start going back to work. This shows that we need more than just forgivable loans and grants to keep the early childhood system intact. 

    As hard as these two months have been for all of us, the pandemic has shined a spotlight on how essential child care providers are to our frontline workers and our economy, and we hope that this situation will galvanize our elected leaders to create a stronger and more equitable early care and learning system. 

  • published Our Partners HSC May 2020 in Newsletters Read More 2020-05-11 23:12:12 -0700

    UNITE-LA and Medica Talent Group partner to help L.A. City fill critical health care positions

    In an industry already coping with a shortage of workers, the COVID-19 pandemic has further reinforced the need to address this workforce gap. The L.A. Compact’s Health Sector Collaborative (HSC) members continue to work together to support health care employers fill positions critical in the fight to stem the tide of the pandemic.  

    In our previous newsletter, we shared with you the Hospital Association of Southern California’s Priority Job Portal. As part of a collaborative effort with HSC member, California Community Colleges’ Health Workforce Initiative, the site is continuously being updated with job opportunities at member hospitals across L.A. and five other counties in southern California and skilled nursing facilities in L.A. The goal is to help un- or under-employed individuals find current job opportunities in health care. Member hospitals have also expressed an interest in hiring retired professionals, clinical faculty and school-based health personnel to fill these frontline positions.  

    Our more recent effort aims to support the City of Los Angeles in hiring health care workers to serve communities impacted by COVID-19. Medica Talent Group, a health care talent agency who has been chosen to find qualified candidates, is partnering with UNITE-LA and the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti to source qualified candidates who are diverse and represent the local communities they will serve. The City of L.A. and Medica are looking for candidates who:

    • have an active license in their respective practice area,
    • are committed to public service with an interest in helping Angelenos who have been impacted by the current pandemic, and
    • are willing to be placed in alternate care facilities and non-traditional hospital settings to perform needed functions such as assisting in homeless shelters. 

    For more information on these positions, please download our recruitment flyer here

    The Health Sector Collaborative members encourage L.A. Compact partners to share the Medica recruitment flyer and the HASC Priority Job Portal with their networks via social media and email. Let us know you have spread the word by tagging us on social media (Twitter: @letsunitela and Instagram: @unite_la). Use the hashtags #HealthWorkforceLA, #healthcareheroes, #healthcareworkers and #essentialworkers.

  • published Our Partners_LAWSC May 2020 in Newsletters Read More 2020-05-11 23:10:10 -0700

    L.A. Workforce Systems Collaborative advocates for students and workers economically impacted by COVID-19

    The Los Angeles Workforce Systems Collaborative (LAWSC), which focuses on creating high demand, high growth and sustainable careers in the region, has met weekly since April to develop strategies to support students and workers disproportionately affected by COIVD-19. Together, they are urging federal and state leaders to increase their investment in training and employment assistance so that workers and students are better equipped to return to the workforce once the economy recovers.

    The LAWSC sent a letter on April 16 to leaders of the U.S. Senate and House Committees on Appropriations urging them to include in the fourth stimulus package “a comprehensive, national workforce development strategy that supports workers to reenter the workforce after job loss, businesses to minimize further job loss, creates new jobs, and prepares workers and students for both today’s in-demand jobs and those leading to economic growth after the pandemic.” The letter details specific recommendations including funding to support displaced workers, summer youth employment and increased digital literacy. It also recommends support for businesses in upskilling workers and engaging in employee sharing rather than additional lay-offs, as well as supporting higher education and Career Technical Education and training as part of infrastructure packages.

    While the fourth federal relief bill did not include any workforce specific provisions, the LAWSC is continuing to seek opportunities to advance its agenda. The group plans to send a letter of support early next week for the Relaunching America’s Workforce Act (RAWA) introduced Friday, May 1, by House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott (VA), along with 11 other Representatives. RAWA calls for $15.1 billion in funding through FY 22 for adult, youth and dislocated worker state grants, adult education – including digital literacy, Career Technical Education, and registered apprenticeships among other provisions as part of its COVID-19 response. There is a companion bill in the Senate sponsored by Senators Murray (WA), Kaine (VA), Smith (MN) and Baldwin (WI). 

    The LAWSC also sent a letter supporting Governor Newsom for his leadership in establishing a statewide public-private partnership to provide financial support to undocumented immigrants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will be disbursed by community-based non-profit organizations with expertise and experience serving undocumented communities, and applications are expected to open soon. The LAWSC felt it was critical to express support for the governor’s efforts to assist those who are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and economic relief included in the CARES Act due to their immigration status. The first of its kind in the United States, the governor’s decision has received both praise and staunch opposition. Read the full letter here.

    The LAWSC urges all L.A. Compact members to sign-on to a nationwide advocacy letter led by the Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce. The letter calls for $15.6 billion of funding – consistent with those proposed in RAWA - for workforce development and skills education as a critical step in our recovery from the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please click here to sign-on and share this link with your partners. The Campaign to Invest in America’s Workforce welcomes adult education or workforce training providers, advocacy organizations, businesses, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, community-based organizations, community/technical colleges, intermediaries, labor or labor-management partnerships, workforce development boards and more to sign-on. For more information on specifics of this proposal, click here to read the National Skills Coalition’s explanation.

  • published May 2020 Feature Story in Newsletters Read More 2020-05-11 23:08:09 -0700

    L.A. City Mayor Eric Garcetti and the L.A. Compact help high school seniors concerned about their college future

    On April 30, L.A City Mayor Eric Garcetti, in partnership with the L.A. Compact, launched COVID College Connect to support L.A.’s graduating high school class of 2020 in navigating their college options and addressing their enrollment concerns during these uncertain times. Over one hundred students signed up to get help within hours of the initiative’s launch. Check out this five minute video of the mayor announcing COVID College Connect here.

    In a typical school year, this would have been the time when high school seniors are thinking about graduation and choosing which college or university to attend in the fall. National College Decision Day, which falls on May 1, is the traditional deadline for students to commit to a college or university. However, for the class of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has upended many students’ decisions of where, and if, to go to college at all. The virus has also disproportionately affected students of color, students living in poverty and immigrant students. Many of them are taking on new roles as primary earners for their families or caregivers for younger siblings, and they are taking these factors into consideration as they decide to move forward with or put on hold their dreams to go to college. In response, Mayor Garcetti launched COVID College Connect to help students make informed decisions about their future education plans and to urge local colleges and universities to provide students with some added flexibility as they decide what to do next.

    The L.A. Compact has played a critical role in the roll-out of the initiative. L.A. high school seniors  can share their concerns about their future college plans by completing this simple form on the L.A. Compact website. Staff from the Mayor’s office and UNITE-LA, the convener of the L.A. Compact, have already reached out to students who had to select their college or university of choice by May 1. College advisors at the city’s FamilySource Centers will contact the remainder of students residing in the City of L.A. using an interview tool developed by UNITE-LA and the Mayor’s office. Students with additional needs, like housing and food access, will be connected with the appropriate city resources. The LA Cash for College campaign, powered by UNITE-LA, also developed a College FAQ and FAFSA tips sheet to share with students. The Mayor’s office and UNITE-LA will continue to closely monitor student responses to determine what additional supports are needed as students start school in the fall. 

    In addition to providing programmatic support, UNITE-LA has leveraged its partnerships with the local public and private colleges and universities that are members of the L.A. Compact to encourage these higher education institutions to provide students with additional options, such as delaying or waiving admission fees and extending student deadlines to commit. The L.A. Compact also aims to leverage its partnerships with county institutions, like the Los Angeles County Office of Education, to expand the reach of COVID College Connect beyond the City of L.A.’s boundaries, so that all college bound students in the county can benefit from this initiative. 

    The L.A. Compact is very excited to partner with Mayor Garcetti in helping the class of 2020 navigate this difficult moment and stay on the path to higher education and a brighter future. Our high school seniors have worked hard to get to this point, and as they think about their future, we want them to know that they are not in this alone. The L.A. Compact stands ready to bring area leaders together to support the class of 2020 in realizing its college dreams.

    For more information about COVID College Connect, please contact Adam Gottlieb, Senior Manager of Postsecondary Initiatives with the L.A. Compact, at [email protected].  

    In addition to COVID College Connect, UNITE-LA is committed to providing scholarship resources and aid to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t cause any of L.A.’s youth to put their dreams on hold. If you would like to help a student go to college this fall, please consider making a donation to UNITE-LA’s COVID-19 Response Scholarship Fund here. 100% of donations will go to scholarships for students in need.

  • Press Release: Announcing COVID College Connect


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE             

    May 5, 2020                   


    Claudine Battisti  

    [email protected]                                                  


    Read more

  • published L.A. Compact Connection | March 2020 in Newsletters 2020-03-30 14:02:23 -0700

  • published HSC Feature Story COVID-19 in Newsletters Read More 2020-03-27 18:31:00 -0700

    COVID-19 reinforces urgency to address the health care workforce shortage

    By Heddy Nam and Ariana Oliva

    Our economic and workforce landscape has changed dramatically in a matter of days. On the one hand, employers in many industries impacted by COVID-19 had to make the difficult decision to lay off or furlough employees, while others are experiencing an unprecedented demand for laborIn the health care industry, the current situation has highlighted and exacerbated the existing workforce shortage. Amid this crisis, the Health Care Sector Collaborative is working on solutions to connect skilled health care professionals with hospitals and other health care facilities. For instance, UNITE-LA has been coordinating HSC members, the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC) and the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti to determine if health care staff employed by education systems and institutions could be redirected to assist in hospitals and other health care facilities given temporary school closures.

    Additionally, the Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti has launched a job portal to assist Angelenos economically impacted by COVID-19 to find rapid re-employment. At the request of the Mayor’s Office, UNITE-LA has been coordinating with health care employers to ensure that jobs in the health care industry are posted to this site. Additionally, HASC and the California Community Colleges Health Workforce Initiative, both members of the HSC, have launched a job portal focused specifically on helping hospitals fill the workforce shortage. The jobs include both health care professions and non-clinical jobs such as cooks, drivers, activities assistants and others. The Mayor’s Office and UNITE-LA will work with L.A. Compact partners – including the L.A. Workforce Systems Collaborative - to develop rapid re-employment strategies to help un- or under-employed Angelenos previously working in impacted industries (food service, retail and hospitality) find jobs in health care settings.

    COVID-19 has not only affected the current but also the future health care workforce. Because health care facilities are turning all resources to address the COVID-19 pandemic, they have closed their clinical training sites. Many students studying to become health care professionals, such as Registered Nurses, are finding themselves in their final semester unable to complete their clinical training requirements. The Chancellor of the California Community Colleges has submitted a request to Gov. Gavin Newsom's office for emergency condition exceptions. Specifically, the request is for the California Board of Registered Nursing to provide emergency exceptions to bring down the requirement of 75 percent clinical hours in direct patient care to 50 percent. In addition, the community colleges are exploring alternative options for delivering clinical training by including telehealth or telephone triage options as well as exploring Virtual Reality (VR) software for simulations and skill labs portions of curricula. Finally, all U.S. and Canada-based test centers for National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) have closed beginning March 17 through at least April 16 due to COVID-19. The schedule for resuming testing will be another issue monitored closely by HSC members. Addressing clinical training requirements and making NCLEX testing available again will be essential for nurses in training to graduate on time and join the workforce to provide essential health care services amidst a worker shortage.

    In addition, the HSC will continue its work to enroll and support students in the health care career pipeline. Bcoordinating employer, education, non-profit CBO, and philanthropic partners, UNITE-LA is committed to supporting HSC members to develop ways to provide work-based learning opportunities and summer work experiences in health care. This will be an ongoing challenge due to the impact on health care facilities, closure of schools, and temporary inability to provide in-person learning. However, HSC members are committed to ensuring that lessons from the front lines of health care around COVID-19 are shared with students to deepen their learning and connection to these careers.  

    The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgent need to address the health care workforce shortage. With HSC partners coming together, this moment is an opportunity to strengthen existing partnerships to create solutions to meet the industry’s workforce needs and to inspire a new generation of health care professionals. Once we as a community are able to move out of emergency response mode, the HSC will be assessing the impact on health care and education and work to develop recommendations for policymakers and leaders to eliminate the health care workforce gap.  

    Finally, the HSC wishes to extend a deep and heartfelt thank you to all the medical, nursing and allied health care professionals and non-clinical staff who are on the front lines taking care of our sickest and preventing the spread of COVID-19. Your work and commitment have not gone unnoticed. We will continue our efforts to bolster your work through workforce solutions.  


    UNITE-LA staff Heddy Nam, Director of Workforce Development, and AJ Lucas, Workforce Development Coordinator convene and coordinate the Health Sector Collaborative. Ariana Oliva, Early Childhood Education Manager for the L.A. Compact, co-authored this post.  


  • L.A. Compact Partners - COVID-19 Responses

    The coronavirus is affecting millions of people in unimaginable ways, including loss of work, lack of food supplies and loss of health benefits. So many of our partner organizations across L.A. County are working hard to support students and families affected by the pandemic, especially the most vulnerable. Here’s a snapshot of what our partners are doing on the ground.

    Read more

  • Providing every LAUSD first grader with a college savings account

    The L.A. County CEO’s office recently reported back to the Board of Supervisors on a collaborative effort three years in the making between the City of Los Angeles, L.A. County and LAUSD to open a college savings account with a $50 seed deposit for every first grader enrolled in LAUSD. Barring any delays due to the coronavirus, the program, dubbed Opportunity LA, is set to launch at the beginning of the 2020 academic year, starting with 10 percent of LAUSD first graders and expanding to all students over five years. Read more about the initiative, which has been championed by City Council Member David Ryu, L.A. County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas & Hilda Solis and LAUSD Board Members Nick Melvoin and Monica Garcia.

  • The University of La Verne is making their admissions process easier for students

    The University of La Verne has made adjustments to their admission policies, including waiving all application fees and letters of recommendation, accepting unofficial transcripts, and maintaining their existing commitment to test-optional admission (no SAT is required). They are maintaining a list of resources and are engaged in active support for all students, including offering laptops and wifi hotspots available for check-out to those University of La Verne students who don’t have technology at home.

  • published Harvey Kawasaki Retirement in Newsletters Read More 2020-03-27 12:44:30 -0700

    Harvey Kawasaki, Compact Stewardship Group member, has retired

    Congratulations, Harvey Kawasaki! Harvey retired after contributing 36 years with the County of Los Angeles—and making numerous substantial contributions to the well-being of Los Angeles students and families. His final position was with the County CEO’s office, and in that capacity he served on the L.A. Compact Stewardship group since 2018. Contributions at the County include creating an annual scholarship fund for Asian foster youth entering into post-secondary education, implementing the AB12 policy that extended foster care to age 21 for L.A. County, developing and implementing a tracking system that saw over 6,000 adoptions, and many others. We and so many others will miss Harvey and wish him all the best in his retirement!

  • published Workgroup Updates March 2020 in Workgroup Updates 2020-03-25 13:28:04 -0700