Section 3 Worker Success Stories

Home Contracts & Procurement Section 3 and MBE/WBE Section 3 Worker Success Stories

 

Meet our Section 3 Workers who have successfully found employment and are sharing their stories with you!

See below or Click here to read about their journeys. 

 

Natasha Salazar
Natasha Salazar
Deshone Walker

Deshone Walker

Jaime Galeana Garcia

Section 3 Worker Jaime Galeana Garcia grew up in Acapulco, Mexico before coming to live in the United States. He currently lives at the Jordan Downs apartments, with his wife, 23 year-old daughter and 13 year-old son. Jaime is also grandfather to a 2 year-old girl, whom he loves playing and spending time with during his time off. Throughout the years Jaime has held various jobs, including working at a bakery making pastries. It was not long ago when he attended HACLA’s Job Fair, organized by our WorkSource Center (WSC). Shortly after enrolling with the WSC, he was referred for a laborer position with Door and Window Guard Systems, Inc. (DAWGS). DAWGS provides vacant unit security board up services to HACLA and committed to hire a  Section 3 worker. Immediately after Jaime was referred, DAWGS team interviewed him and Jaime started work next day.   We recently connected with Arnel Cuevas, DAWGS Los Angeles Service Center Manager, who is also Jaime’s direct manager, who said,  “Jaime has been working for DAWGS for almost a year now.  From the beginning, Jaime has proven that he is a fast learner and takes pride in completing all assignments at the highest quality of work.  On days where we have no field work, he manages to find himself busy in the shop, cleaning, painting, and fixing equipment without being told to do so. He is hardworking, honest and sincere in his work, and it makes a difference not only for himself, but also for others around him. We at DAWGS are very grateful and privileged to have Jaime on our team!”   Jaime is also very grateful for this opportunity, so is his family. “I learned so much during this last year and even have had the opportunity to travel for work to Utah, Nevada and Arizona.” says Jaime, adding that he enjoys his work and that it has given their family financial stability, and provided him with professional growth and personal development. Both Jaime and his wife see a positive change in their family dynamics.  “I have to work hard and be able to provide for my family,” says Jaim

Vincent Harris Jr

Vincent Harris has been a resident of Jordan Downs for over 20 years and recently moved to the newly developed apartments. He chose to stay at Jordan Downs to be close to his community and for ease of access to employment opportunities generated by redevelopment through the Section 3 program. About three years ago, Vincent earned his OSHA Training and Certification with the help of HACLA’s WorkSource Center. He says this certification opened the door to the many employment opportunities he has been able to pursue.  Vincent has been part of the redevelopment workforce since the first phases of construction. He enrolled in the Section 3 program and showed his dedication and commitment to his work. Contractors have always been eager to hire him. Vincent worked as a Tradesman with Coastal Gardens, a Painter Apprentice with SC Enterprises Group, a Laborer with Yukon Plastering, and is currently working as a Plumber for 20/20 Plumbing & Heating, Inc, who is a subcontractor to Portrait Construction, Inc (the general contractor for Jordan Downs redevelopment efforts at Phase 3A). Vincent says he has grown professionally and personally. “These jobs have strengthened my work ethic, vision, and belief in myself.” Vincent sees himself focusing on working hard in the next few years and with that dedication hopes to ultimately own a property. “There have been a lot of changes at Jordan Downs since the start of the redevelopment, and in a way, it is sad to see the old buildings torn down, but this transition is for the better” says Vincent. He adds that he particularly likes the addition of the Freedom Plaza stores which have been a positive change for the community. “These changes have brought an opportunity for us to work in our community. If we are determined and believe in ourselves, we can do anything.”

Jesus Perez

Jesus Perez currently works as a Senior Gardener at HACLA. He started his career with the agency in 2020 as a Gardener Caretaker, and shortly after was promoted to Senior Gardener at the Ramona Gardens community.  “I feel so happy and grateful that I am now taking care of these communities,” says Perez, adding that as a father of two toddlers, he is particularly attentive to the children’s play area and wants to make sure it is clean and safe for kids.   Jesus grew up at Nickerson Gardens public housing community. His parents still live there and he often visits them with his two toddlers. When we spoke to him around Easter, he mentioned that he was busy making sure the yards and rose bushes were clean and beautiful, so that if tenants had guests coming over, they could be proud of their community and gardens.   Jesus’ first work experiences were the Summer Youth Programs, which were administered by HACLA’s WorkSource Center. He worked three summers through the program, starting from the age of 15. Years after his summer jobs, HACLA’s Section 3 Program had an opening for a Landscaper through West Coast Arborists. Jesus was referred to West Coast Arborists, who hired him and provided training. He quickly proved himself in the role and was a great team member. West Coast Arborists provided him with steady employment, training, and the opportunity to obtain a commercial driver license, where they covered all costs. Jesus even referred his twin brother to West Coast Arborists. While both brothers now work at HACLA, they remember the opportunity they had with West Coast Arborists and are thankful for the opportunity.   “I have a good career now and HACLA helped me on this path. I am very grateful. If you are dedicated, you can achieve it.” says Jesus. At only 26 years old, Jesus says his next goal is to become a maintenance supervisor. “I want to serve the community. I take pride in my work and want people to live in nicely taken care of communities and yard space for kids and families enjoy.”

Alberto Perez

Alberto Perez has held many roles at HACLA, receiving several promotions in a very short period of time. He began as a Maintenance Worker, becoming a Resident Cleaner, and then a Gardener. He now works as a Senior Gardener for Avalon and Gonzaque Village public housing sites.  “It is a great job. I like working outdoors, keeping an eye on the grounds and trees.” says Alberto. Alberto grew up at Nickerson Gardens. He remembers that it was difficult to stay focused and credits his parents for keeping him and his twin brother Jesus grounded and on the right path, raised with good family values. Even now Alberto remembers his parents’ advice on staying away from drugs, being humble, and working hard. “My mom especially wanted to make sure that she raises her boys right.” says Alberto. While he has now moved out of Nickerson Gardens, he is still there often, visiting his parents and helping them in every way he can. He says they motivate and encourage him, and his family is always first place in his heart.  “I owe everything to my parents.” says Alberto. Thanks to their continuing support, he has goals and aspirations to achieve even more. Just like his twin brother, Alberto was part of the Summer Youth Program at the age of 14, followed by a job at West Coast Arborists through HACLA’s Section 3 Program. While he had a great start to his career at West Coast, Alberto took a pay cut and joined HACLA. He says he did so because he believes in the work HACLA does and wants to give back to the communities where he grew up. While both brothers are senior gardeners at HACLA now, Alberto has more experience and often receives calls from his brother asking for guidance. They both support each other and want to advance in the agency.  “We are young, and will go far in the agency,” says Alberto, adding “You have to go the extra mile, work well with everyone and be responsible.”

Francisco Perez
Francisco Perez: Francisco Perez is a Life Coach at HACLA’s WorkSource Center. In this role Francisco provides residents with assistance working on resume preparation, interview techniques, job training and job placement services. He has been in this position for several months but is not new to HACLA operations. Francisco was hired as an intern at HACLA in 2021. Upon completion of his internship, he was then hired by Del Richardson & Associates, HACLA’s relocation consultant at Jordan Downs. The skills and knowledge he learned in these positions has been helpful in his current job. He has interviewed many residents in the past and better understands their needs. Residents also know Francisco well and he has developed good relationships and open communication with them. Francisco says that he is surprised and pleased to learn of the many resources and supportive programs available to residents through various programs and is eager to connect residents to those services. Francisco was born in Mexico and moved to Los Angeles with his family as a teenager. He has lived at Nickerson Gardens since then. Francisco has a degree in Sociology from California State University, Northridge. He has two sisters: The oldest is a senior at CSUN, and the youngest is a senior at King Drew High School.

 

Britney Castillo
Britney Castillo: In Spring 2023 Britney Castillo will start a new chapter of her life. She was accepted as a  top 30 applicant in American Career College’s Nursing Program. This milestone achievement was the result of Britney’s hard work and dedication over the last several years.  Britney grew up in the Rose Hill Courts community with her four brothers. She felt it  was important to set a good example for her siblings and was always involved in leadership  programs and sports at school. She even became the senior class vice president of her  high school. After graduating from high school, Britney enrolled in college. However, due to  financial struggles she subsequently left. It was shortly thereafter that she met with  Fidelina Rivas at the WorkSource center in a chance encounter, and what she calls  “impeccable timing.” With guidance, Britney was enrolled in the American College of   Healthcare and Technology’s Medical Assistant program in 2020 and after graduating started employment as a Medical Assistant in Marina Del Rey Clinic.   Britney found her passion in the medical field and wanted to further her career. She wanted  to continue her studies in a nursing program and earn her RN Degree. We are thrilled that  her goal will be realized soon!  Britney loves what she is doing. She is grateful and appreciates the opportunities  and financial assistance she was able to access thanks to HACLA’s Section 3  Program and the WorkSource Center.
 
Sheila Walton 
Sheila Walton: Sheila Walton has been a resident of Jordan Downs for over 15 years. She currently  lives there with her daughter and young grandson. Through the Section 3 program she  has held many jobs with different contractors, and is currently working with Alameda   Construction.  Sheila’s first experience in construction was working as a laborer in HACLA’s Million  Dollar Jobs program which provided her the opportunity to train as a cement mason  apprentice. As she worked through her apprenticeship, she realized that she was  passionate about cement work. Sheila saw that there was an art to how cement was  poured and leveled out and yearned to master her craft and pursue further work in this  field.   Sheila has been working as a cement mason ever since, and is currently a 5th period  apprentice! She wants to continue down this path and together with her friend is in the  process of opening their own business!   “I’m glad that I am in a field that I love. It’s a hard job, but I love it and want  to put more effort into it every day. Work hard, play hard. That is my  motto.” – Sheila Walton


View Sheila Walton's inspirational story below:


 

Bryant Collins
Bryant Collins: Bryant Collins has been a resident of Jordan Downs for over 26 years, where he lives with his young son. Bryant was hired by Lonestar Construction in 2018 in connection with the Jordan Downs redevelopment project. He started as an apprentice, and through support from Lonestar and his own determination, he became a Journeyman. His duties included measuring areas of the roof, tiling, pouring cement, retrieving materials, and various other tasks. Bryant says the early days were hard when he was working during the week and driving long-distance on weekends to complete Roofers Union classes.   Almost five years later, Bryant has learned the trade and Lonestar has hired him permanently. “It was a life changing experience. I am about to break the cycle of living at Jordan Downs,” says Bryant, whose grandmother and mother have also lived at Jordan Downs. He says that the change was needed.   Bryant says Lonestar provided a great work environment with supportive coworkers and supervisors and a good steady income to help him provide for his son. He now looks to the next phase of his life and is ready to become a homeowner.
Ricardo Sandoval
Ricardo Sandoval: Ricardo Sandoval is a hard worker. He is a Watts resident currently working on the Rose Hill Courts project for JEM Unlimited Iron, Inc. as a Communication Systems Installer.  Previously a machinist, he began on the project as a pipe layer laborer with Boudreau Pipeline, his first job in the construction field.  HACLA’s WorkSource Center was able to provide funds for Ricardo to purchase tools and work attire for his new position. Although it has been a process, Ricardo has been enjoying learning new skills. “This has been a great opportunity, not only for my career, but also for his family. I want to encourage my family and friends to enroll with WSC and find their path.” says Ricardo, who is proud to see his work positively impact the community.  Once his work at Rose Hills is completed, Ricardo hopes to move onto the Jordan Downs project and continue working in his new craft. He says, “I’m the kind of person who wants to work, I want to stay busy and keep working. I take any job and this was a great opportunity to get my foot in the door.”
Lakenya Spikes
Lakenya Spikes: Lakenya Spikes is a determined individual.  She is a resident of Imperial Courts and currently working for Walton Construction as an Administrative Assistant for Jordan Downs redevelopment efforts. She has been in this position since September 2021. Ms.Spikes has worked in construction filed for years out in the field, but now also enjoys working in the office.  As an administrative assistant she coordinates the efforts to hire Section 3 workers. Lakenya mentions how important it is for her to get women hired in the construction field.  “It is a beautiful site when I see other women on site and I am not the only one.” When she encounters women working out in the field, she finds it motivating. She also finds it motivating to be part of something that she can see develop from the ground up and cannot wait to see the project when finished.  “I encourage for more women to come in and get in the trade, it is male dominated but when women are here it makes us feel empowered. I feel empowered being in this construction site. What they can do, we can do ladies!” – Lakenya Spikes
George Taylor
George Taylor: “Be ready and take the opportunities” says George Taylor of Jordan Downs. He is member of Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters. George has worked on different phases at Jordan Downs, including the retail center. Currently he is working with Elliott Construction on Phase S-2.   George raised his three children at Jordan Downs as a single parent. He says after loosing one of his children and wife many years ago, it was hard for him to find the strength to move on, but the community helped him to overcome it. Today, he is proud of his children and their successes.   George has moved to his new apartment at Jordan Downs and says “Like is not the word. I love it here.” when asked about living in the redeveloped units. He adds that having built the units with his own hands and continuing to do so while living in the same community adds another level of pride that can’t be explained.
Robert Lowe
Robert Lowe: Robert Lowe is a unique person. For the last 30 years, he has been a resident of Imperial Courts community where he raised his two sons. Lowe is a United States veteran, a journeyman plumber-laborer, but most importantly, inspiration and role model for his family and community. He has an exceptional work ethic and is always a valued member of any team he joins. A few years ago, he decided to go back to college to finish his AA degree from Trade Tech College, in addition to completing his apprenticeship in plumbing. Among his many talents, Lowe also draws construction blueprints and helps others as needed.  Mr. Lowe has worked with HACLA’s Force Account and held way too many jobs in the Jordan Downs Redevelopment to list. He is currently working with Davis Construction on S-2 and S-3 phases. He will soon celebrate his 68th birthday!  “I came out of retirement. Not working was not for me,” says Robert Lowe and jokes that the young workers at the site can’t keep up with him.   Mr. Lowe’s goal is to use his VA benefits and buy a home this year!
Jose Mateo
Jose Mateo: Jose Mateo is a role model for youth. He lives at Pueblo Del Sol community. Jose was hired by Portrait Construction team to assist with the Section 3 requirements relating to the rehabilitation work at Pueblo Del Sol. “Working with Portrait Construction has been a great experience. From the moment I was hired, the people at Portrait Construction have embraced me as part of their team. Any questions that I had on the job were quickly answered, any curiosities about the industry were met with detailed insights, and opportunities for growth were always available.” says Jose, who was recently promoted and will be assisting Portrait Construction on its other Section 3 projects.   Jose’s supervisor says that Jose exceeded their expectations. He has expanded Portrait’s excel tracking sheet to automate the data for section 3 hiring, built relationships with the subcontractors and workers. He puts his best effort to assist Section 3 workers find employment through the program.   “Being able to be a small part of the redevelopment of my community has been a great privilege for me, and I look forward to seeing how my community benefits from these changes. Portrait Construction took a chance on me and gave me the opportunity to get my foot in the construction industry. For this, I am forever grateful to them.” – Jose Mateo
Gina Miller
Gina Miller: Gina Miller has ben a resident of Jordan Downs for over 30 years. She has been enrolled with the WSC and Section 3 program since 2017. Gina has worked as a laborer on Jordan Downs Redevelopment Phases 1A, 1B, 1C, and later was hired for LAX through the Targeted Local Hire Program, placed by HACLA’s WorkSource Center.  Today, Gina is working for the City of Los Angeles as a custodian, where she has been for three years.  Again, she was hired through a referral from the WorkSource Center to the Targeted Local Hire Program. Gina’s hopes that more people enroll in HACLA’s WorkSource Center as she has found it to be a very useful tool.  She mentions that they are “very professional and really want to help you get a job.”
 

 

If you are a Section 3 Worker and wish to share your story, please contact section3@hacla.org