She's Got Skills: From Homelessness to Jobs

submission by Grants_DWC

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

Downtown Women's Center

Organization(s) website(s):

Organization(s) twitter handle(s):

Organization(s) facebook handle(s):

Organization(s) instagram handle(s):

Please share the direct link for voters to sign up for your newsletter(s):

Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


DWC aims to end homelessness for women in Los Angeles; to achieve this, we provide gender-responsive services including access to basic needs and resources, clinical health and wellness, mental health, housing, education, and job readiness.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


DWC is seeking $100,000 from the Goldhirsh Foundation to support the expansion of our transitional employment program. DWC will place 10 women into paid employment through our two retail stores in downtown LA, for a period of 12 months, gaining hands-on work experience in customer service, food handling, drink making, inventory management, and retail.

Please write a sample tweet to describe your submission.


Homelessness is NOT a dead end. At @DWCweb women gain crucial skills to re-enter the workforce. #ShesGotSkills

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valey

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County:

Skid Row, Los Angeles

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Create” metrics? (check all that apply)

Employment in the creative industries

Arts establishments per capita

Concentration of manufacturing activity in LA

Federal research grant funding

Patents per capita

Jobs per capita

Minority- and women-owned firms

Gini coefficient

Number of high growth startups

Venture capital investment

Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”) (Dream Metric)

Recruiting and retention rates for local higher education institutions (Dream Metric)

Percentage of graduates from local higher education institutions that remain in LA County 5 years after graduating (Dream Metric)

Unemployment rates (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to create.


DWC will make LA the best place to create by placing 10 women, who have histories of homelessness and trauma, into paid employment through our social enterprise, MADE by DWC. Through this program, women will have the opportunity to gain hands-on work experience, harness their own creativity in the workplace, and contribute to the diversification of LA’s business community.

In 2010, DWC launched its social enterprise to provide transferable skills-training to women who have the hardest time securing employment. Over the past five years, DWC has solidified its job-training program, providing women with 12-week courses in inventory management, retail sales, and café sales.

Last year, with funding from the LA2050 Grants Challenge, DWC established a coalition of socially conscious business partners, committed to employing women with histories of homelessness. As a result, DWC placed nearly 60 homeless and formerly homeless women into jobs. The program was an overwhelming success. DWC learned that for women who are job-ready, being placed into employment following a 12-week course or individualized case management sessions leads to long-term retention. However, for women who are not job-ready and are still coping with the effects of trauma, a more intensive and supportive program is essential. Thus, DWC will expand the current 12-week job training course into a 12-month transitional employment program, where women are employed in our two retail stores and compensated fairly.

In October of 2015, DWC will place its first cohort of five women into paid positions in our café and resale boutique. An additional five women will be placed in March of 2016. Women will be employed for 12 months in one of the following three positions: Café Associate, Resale Associate, and Inventory Associate. While working at DWC, participants will 1) receive industry-specific, high-quality training, 2) gain hands-on work experience, and 3) receive feedback on a monthly basis from a Case Manager.

Through this initiative, the aim is to prepare participants for future bridge and/or traditional employment opportunities. To secure future positions, participants will work with DWC’s Job Developer, who works closely with business partners in identifying opportunities and matching participants to those. Approximately three months before transitioning, each participant will be evaluated and scored against pre-determined job-readiness standards.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


DWC’s project is one of six participating in the Los Angeles Regional Initiative for Social Enterprise (LA:RISE). As such, an external evaluation is being conducted by Social Policy Research Associate (SPR) to examine the impact of transitional employment services on program participants’ employment, earnings, and criminal justice involvement outcomes by comparing their outcomes with a control group, comprised of individuals eligible for, but not receiving, transitional employment services.

The program will be evaluated using a random assignment research design, meaning eligible individuals will be placed completely at random into either a program group (and receive all above-mentioned services) or into a control group (and not receive the transitional employment services).

Comparative outcomes will be tracked, interpreted, and analyzed by SPR.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

36 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7

Fantastic proposal! As someone who donates goods to the DWC on a weekly basis, this topic is very near and dear to me. I love your idea for a practical, skill-building program. It's a fantastic use of resources and is sure to change the lives of more than just the 10 women who get to learn new skills. Bravo!

by brittsheflin
6 months ago

Thank you! DWC is the best in L.A. It really helps women in need. Hug!

by deyka
6 months ago

I was once homeless on the streets of downtown Los Angeles and had the opportunity to utilize the drop in center for a kind word and a meal. I believe that what Downtown Women's Center is doing, is phenomenal and outstanding. Keep up the good work and God bless you :).

by lmenchaca
6 months ago

A big shout out to DWC, one of the leading social enterprises in LA! They're always thinking differently about how to improve the community they serve through job skills training and employment. Please support DWC all year long by visiting the Cafe and Made by DWC boutique - every purchase counts!

by BrotherHowieB
6 months ago

As a former DWC staff member I am so proud to vote and get spread this message via social media with friends, family and organizations that I am affiliated with. I am also very proud of the continued success of these women in Skid Row community. -Iann

by dwcshe
6 months ago

I'm very proud of my DWC family. Keep up the good work. Together, we will end homelessness for women!

by jasmina.zuljevic
6 months ago

An amazing place!

by higginsbb
6 months ago

Great job Maria, Victoria, Deyka, and NIcole!

by alexba
6 months ago

What an inspiring video. Together, we can end homelessness for women in Los Angeles!

by dwc_biancad
6 months ago

Love what you are doing. Great work. We hope to work with you soon - heart of art gallery

by Hoagirls35
6 months ago

I love being apart of the dwc family. They have helped me and countless other women.

by HelloKittyLA
6 months ago

Women are empowered at DWC, and it's beautiful to see.

by rawhitman
6 months ago

Great job Nicole!

by lacarliux
6 months ago

DWC is a leader in the nation when it comes to ending homelessness among unaccompanied women. I am so very proud to be collaborating with them!

by Sherrera
6 months ago

It's reassuring to know that there is such a reputable organization on Skid Row that continues to empower women!

by borabora135
6 months ago

This is so legit. MADE by DWC where the women do their cafe training is an oasis, a beacon in Skid Row. I don't think I've ever seen such an affirmative, engaged and effective program and environment.

by beckileela
6 months ago

These women are so incredible. In awe of their hard work and perseverance!

by samchaffin
6 months ago

I am so inspired by Victoria and the work of the Downtown Women's Center! Love all they do to end homelessness in Skid Row.

by Sweetsoph13
6 months ago

WOW! Thank you for your donations and your vote. We are so grateful to have amazing supporters like you in our community. #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

Thank YOU, Deyka! Your hard work has brought you so far, and we can't wait to see what happens next. #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. We are so glad to hear that you're doing well, and thank you for your kind words and vote! :)

by DWC_media
6 months ago

Thank you, BrotherHowieB! Love the shoutout to our social enterprise, and thank you so much for voting! #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

Thank you for your kind words and for sharing with your friends, Iann. We're so glad you continue to support the women in the Skid Row community! #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

Thank you so much, Jasmina! #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

Thank you so much! #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

Thank you for watching and voting! #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

YES! #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

Thank you, Heart of Art Gallery! We feel a collab coming on... #ShesGotSkills #ShesGotArt? ;)

by DWC_media
6 months ago

We are so happy to hear that, HelloKittyLA. Thanks for sharing this, and thank you for voting. #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

Thank you for your kind words - we are so grateful for supporters like you. #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

She is awesome! We'll tell her you think so. ;) #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

We're so happy to be collaborating with YOU! :) Thanks for voting! #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

Totally! Thanks for voting! #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

LOVE THIS. Thank you so much for your support of our cafe and for voting! #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

We agree! Thanks for voting! #ShesGotSkills

by DWC_media
6 months ago

Thanks for voting, Sweetsoph13! Victoria and all of the women at our Center are truly extraordinary. #ShesGotSkills

by src
6 months ago

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

Circle 3 83da7a9432aeea960e1a9e9ee93e7ea1221af6c8f42b27964f2e9999d94b2b8d Step3 title 3d9e2a65d6ea1ad301f8fc607f5f828bd96362932c71d81c0da5b1fd964422b0

Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015