For individuals on probation and those reentering their communities after incarceration, finding employment is often one of multiple challenges. It can be overwhelming to think about finding and maintaining a job when concerns on an individual’s mind might be How will I get there? What if they find out about my record? Will I make enough money to support myself and my family? Employment is an important factor in reentry but getting to a place where the focus can be on a job, education, or a career requires support in other parts of life as well. In the workforce development field, supportive services are used to respond to a range of needs, encompassing those directly related to and outside of work. These services are considered an important complement to employment-focused services provided through local workforce development systems.
The Los Angeles County Innovative Employment Solutions Program (INVEST) is designed to address the complex range of employment and supportive service needs individuals may have and support them in pursuing their employment and career goals. MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan education and social research organization, is studying INVEST along with several other Los Angeles County–based, criminal legal system and reentry-focused programs. INVEST takes an innovative approach to providing employment and supportive services to people on probation in Los Angeles County. The program prepares staff members to understand the unique needs and challenges of people on probation while at the same time using a flexible spending approach that allows for comprehensive service provision.
This brief is the first in a series of publications that will explore the INVEST program in Los Angeles County.