Updates Week of August 8, 2022

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On Friday, August 5, 2022, the Boyle Heights Technology YouthSource Center (BHYTC) and  Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) teamed up with Assemblymember Miguel Santiago to host a Debt-Free College Enrollment Fair in Boyle Heights, in celebration of the inclusion of AB 2266 (Santiago) in the 2022-23 fiscal year state budget. The AB 2266 “Free Community College For All” bill extends the Los Angeles College Promise program, allowing all first-time and returning full-time students with a demonstrated financial need, regardless of age or background, to attend community college completely debt-free. The enrollment fair was held at the “Tech,” where attendees received assistance with filling out community college and financial aid applications, among many other resources.  

For youth within the City of Los Angeles who wish to receive a higher education or enter the workforce, the LA College Promise program offers qualified students free tuition for two years; priority enrollment and registration at any of the nine LACCD colleges; financial assistance for books, laptops, food and transportation; and dedicated academic, counseling and financial aid services. 

To learn more about the LA College Promise program, visit https://lacollegepromise.org

To learn more about EWDD’s network of 14 YouthSource centers, which provide young Angelenos ages 14 to 24 years free resources to succeed in school and life, visit bit.ly/EWDDYouthSource


Celina Maldonado (pictured above left) and Noel Dominguez (pictured above right) are examples of how impactful the LA College Promise program is at changing lives. Their stories also illustrate how the LA College Promise program offers assistance for multiple generations to attend college, as both Celina and Noel’s children are also enrolled in the program.


After leaving high school, Celina Maldonado saw all her friends going away to college, but she couldn’t because she was undocumented at the time. Through the LA College Promise program, Celina was able to return to school in her 40s. She attended East Los Angeles College (ELAC) and majored in Administration of Justice. The LA College Promise program provided Celina with financial support to help her pay for her college registration fees, general education units, and provided her with a laptop and TAP card to cover transportation costs.

“This program changes lives. It changed it for me, my son, and for the people of low-income resources,” she said. “I went through the program with a promise to leave poverty.” With her experience from the program, Celina acquired the knowledge to help her own son navigate his college application process. Her son is also enrolled in LA College Promise and is currently studying Mechanics at ELAC.


From dealing with addiction to being involved in gang violence, Noel Dominguez dealt with many barriers which kept him away from his education for 20 years. With hopes of providing a better future for his family, Noel enrolled in the LA College Promise program, then successfully transferred to Cal State Long Beach and will be graduating in the coming year. Noel intends to continue his educational journey to obtain his law degree. Noel also currently works at ELAC where he gets to help others and his community. Following in the educational footsteps of his father, Noel’s son has enrolled in the LA College Promise program, too.


Hani “Johnny” Mammo is the owner of Caruso’s Italian Kitchen. He has three locations throughout the City of Los Angeles in Sylmar, Granada Hills, and Sunland. Caruso’s Italian Kitchen was established in 1971. Hani obtained ownership 20 years ago, and since then, he has kept the business running and expanded. 


Hani reached out to the North Valley Business Center Source (BSC) in October of 2021 for assistance in growing his business and adding more locations. EWDD partner ICON CDC manages the North and South Valley BSCs. 


The North Valley BSC first assisted Hani with creating hiring flyers and working with partnering agencies to find qualified employees. Hani was able to hire 12-14 employees. The center provided Hani technical assistance in the City’s Comeback Checks Program and he successfully received a $5,000 grant. The center also guided Hani through the application process for the City of Los Angeles’ Small Business Rental Assistance

Program, where received a $15,000 grant. 


“Every time I need help, they always come and help me with filling out paperwork and anything,” he said. “Everything I need, they are ready to go.”


To learn more about Caruso’s Italian Kitchen has three locations: 

13737 Foothill Blvd. Sylmar, CA and 10504 Mt Gleason Ave, Tujunga, CA in LA City Council District 7. 

A third restaurant is located at 10152 Balboa Blvd. Granada Hills, CA in LA City Council District 12. 


EWDD’s network of 10 BusinessSource Centers offer free resources to microenterprises, small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in the City of Los Angeles as a way to launch, maintain and grow. For more information and to contact your local center, visit bit.ly/LABusinessSource.


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If you have any questions, comments, or wish to have a contribution considered for inclusion in an upcoming "Updates," please feel free to contact Jamie Francisco at (213) 744-9048 or Jamie.Francisco@lacity.org