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Chrysalis: Finalist's Statement

Social Capitalists

Chrysalis

Overview

For 20 years, Chrysalis has been dedicated to helping homeless and economically disadvantaged individuals in Los Angeles County become self-sufficient through employment opportunities. Chrysalis' philosophy is that a steady job is the single most important step in a person's transition to long-term self-sufficiency. Staff members work individually with over 2,200 clients per year to prepare them for the workplace and assist them in finding employment. In addition, Chrysalis hires the most difficult of its clients to employ, including ex-felons and the chronically homeless, into six-month apprenticeships with its own two businesses to help them gain critical job experience, social skills, and references. Since 1984, Chrysalis has assisted over 19,000 people on the path toward self-sufficiency at centers located in Downtown Los Angeles on Skid Row, Santa Monica, and Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley.

Client Population

When clients walk into Chrysalis, they are exceptionally unprepared to find and retain employment. Chrysalis serves men and women between 18-65 years in age who have had little formal education, escaped from abusive relationships, struggled with disabilities, subsisted on the streets, spent time in prison, and fought drug and alcohol addictions. Many clients have not worked in years, most have had limited job experience, nearly all have low self-esteem, and they often have already failed in government programs. As 40% of clients are parents, Chrysalis programs affect more than 500 children.

Successes

Chrysalis has a measured track record of success: For the last decade, 92% of clients who completed the Chrysalis Job Readiness curriculum have been successful in gaining employment each year. No government or private organization nationwide has been able to approach this success rate. In 2003, 1,457 individuals found employment through Chrysalis' services throughout the year, at a fraction of the cost of any similar government program; 80% of employed clients participating in the Retention Group retained their jobs for six months or longer; and 90% of every dollar contributed to Chrysalis directly funded client services. Chrysalis has been highly praised by many, including the White House Office of Drug Enforcement during their visit to Chrysalis in 2002, the National Governor's Association of Best Practices, and Harvard/Radcliffe, which studied Chrysalis' successful model. Locally, the Los Angeles Downtown News named Chrysalis "The Best Social Service Organization in Los Angeles" in 2003.

Program Description

To support clients as they enter the economic mainstream, Chrysalis provides them with a range of services and opportunities that fit their specific needs, as well as much needed, confidence-building encouragement. Chrysalis provides a unique combination of supportive social services and real world work opportunities to teach clients how to secure and maintain employment. Clients embark on their job searches by attending an orientation and job preparation classes that cover finding job leads, the job interview process, completing applications, and preparing a resume. Each client also works individually with an assigned Employment Specialist to identify and set plans for moving beyond personal obstacles to finding and retaining employment. Chrysalis' three facilities offer clients access to phones and fax machines, a message center to receive phone messages and mail, a computer lab to prepare resumes and search for jobs, and a resource closet for obtaining interview clothes and bus tokens.

Chrysalis helps clients secure employment and achieve self-sufficiency through three tracks:

  • Individualized Job Search The majority of clients need the job-hunting resources and the one-on-one guidance Chrysalis provides to prepare resumes and cover letters, search for jobs, practice interviewing, communicate with potential employers, and stay hopeful in the job-finding process.
  • StreetWorks Chrysalis' professional street-maintenance service provides six-month apprenticeships for the most difficult clients to employ to provide them with marketable work experience and on-the-job social skills, such as punctuality and the ability to work respectfully with others. StreetWorks employs 400 individuals each year through $3.5 million in contracts.
  • Labor Connection Chrysalis' full-service staffing agency offers 400 clients per year the opportunity to re-enter the job market through short and long-term temporary work assignments. These opportunities provide clients with immediate income, work experience, and business acculturation.

From the very beginning of clients' job search and throughout their employment, Chrysalis offers retention services to help them stay attached to and progress in the workforce. Chrysalis also offers a number of support groups to give clients the opportunity to address problems that may impede their ability to find and secure employment such as low self-esteem, self-defeating behavior, and other work-related mental health issues.

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The above information was provided by the profiled organization.