LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2016 Grants Challenge

Changing Lives Through Jobs: Create a #SecondChance for L.A. through employment

Idea by Chrysalis

With your support, Chrysalis will provide a second chance for 400 additional formerly incarcerated individuals by expanding its transitional jobs program.


Please describe your project proposal.

Chrysalis is the leading organization in L.A. focused on helping formerly incarcerated individuals attain self-sufficiency through work. Each year, through classes, supportive services, and our social enterprise “Chrysalis Enterprises” (CE), we provide comprehensive job readiness training and employment for over 600 participants in transitional jobs. We offer these motivated individuals, 73% of whom have a criminal background, a second chance in life when they need it most.

Which of the CREATE metrics will your proposal impact?​

Gini coefficient

Jobs per capita

Unemployment (and opportunities) for the formerly incarcerated

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

City of Los Angeles

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to CREATE?

Over 60% of formerly incarcerated individuals are unemployed one year after release. Through this project, Chrysalis will help CREATE opportunities for formerly incarcerated people to reenter society, find work and get on the path to self-sufficiency. Our approach to reentry is jobs. We are recognized leaders in the reentry community for the work that we do to create jobs, to connect people to employment, and to assist formerly incarcerated people to increase their incomes.

Chrysalis offers job-readiness services, through supportive social programs and paid, transitional employment, that strengthen our clients’ employability and help them secure and retain work. All clients attend classes providing information to empower them to conduct their job search, and learn about things like where to look for a job, how to create a resume, interview, and address felony convictions in the job search. Clients can access supplemental supports such as interview clothes, transportation assistance, food, phones and voicemail, fax, and a mailing address. Scholarships help clients access training, certification and tools that will aid them in their job search. When necessary, we provide clients with on-site, short-term mental health support and legal assistance, free of charge.

But clients who have criminal histories and past incarceration face enormous challenges finding and maintaining employment due to a lack of job search experience, education, vocational skills, and/or work history, as well as employers’ reluctance to hire those who have been involved in the justice system. For these people, as well as others with major barriers to employment, Chrysalis offers paid, transitional jobs with our in-house CE businesses to get them started on the road to permanent, outside jobs. 73% percent of CE workers have a criminal history, and 59% have prior felony convictions. Transitional jobs deliver marketable experience and occupational skills while providing a supervised, supportive work setting that allows clients to prove themselves as reliable, capable workers. CE workers earn wages and pay taxes, reducing their recidivism rates and dependence on government assistance. They receive on-the-job training, particularly to increase soft skills, from supervisors with lived experience in homelessness and incarceration. And they are paired with an Employment Specialist, to support their job search throughout their transitional employment, helping to move them successfully into mainstream employment.

Our project also makes L.A. a better place to LIVE. We know that the benefits of getting and keeping a job are about more than just income and survival; a job is a catalyst for setting people on the path to self-sufficiency. Employment improves housing stability, increases self-esteem and sense of dignity, and creates better physical and mental health, while also setting in motion changes that have positive ripple effects on families, communities, and society.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

A steady job is a key step to a person’s transition out of poverty and onto a pathway to self-sufficiency. For this project, we define success as helping our formerly incarcerated clients succeed by becoming ready for a job, getting a job and retaining their job for at least 6 months. A 2010 Mathematica Policy Research study showed that an adult with barriers to employment who can stay employed or in a program for 6 months will have improved employment and social outcomes.

We will measure our success by collecting impact data about our programs and clients, including the number of clients 1) completing our program, 2) obtaining outside jobs or transitional jobs through CE, 3) retaining employment for 1, 3, 6 and 12 months, and 4) wages earned. Data is collected from a variety of sources, including reports generated through our sophisticated, organization-wide data-base, case management notes and CE timecards. We create a monthly dashboard, which tracks information about the services each client has accessed and the time it takes for clients to complete our program and find a job. This data is compared against the same data recorded in the previous year. Management uses this data to spot any trends, and determine and address any issues that might impair our ability to achieve our goals. We will continue to work closely with all of our partners in the reentry community to track unemployment among formerly incarcerated people, as reducing that is our ultimate goal.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?



Advisors/board members



Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)