The Laguna Beach Day Worker Center recently received brand new signage from the city, giving a fresh look to a site operational on Canyon Road for more than 30 years. Along with the new signs, the center is offering a number of new English learning programs in hopes the new classes and long-term commitment to increasing worker resources will revitalize the center, which was struck hard by the pandemic.
Tim Hartshorn, executive director of the South County Crosscultural Council, said the COVID-19 pandemic took an inordinate toll on the workers at the site, many of whom rely on regular employment by both contractors and homeowners to cover basic expenses.
“Over the past three years, we have seen a marked decrease in jobs, including construction, landscaping, gardening, indoor and outdoor painting, and moving, among others,” Hartshorn said.
To relieve the strain, the center redoubled its efforts to strengthen its relationship with the local community and to spread awareness of the services day workers can provide in Laguna Beach and beyond. The center has also committed to improving the resources it can offer the workers.
Which is why Hartshorn says LDWC is not just a place to hire workers. It is also a space for training, support and networking.
“As a first step in this broad initiative, we have started offering workers free weekly on-site English classes,” he said. “We are proud and thankful to have a team of volunteer ESL-certified instructors planning and facilitating these classes. We cannot thank our wonderful teachers (who come to us from community colleges throughout Orange County) enough for their time and effort. Over the course of just a few months, we have seen a number of workers pursue new employment opportunities with improved English language skills.”
Looking ahead, the center hopes to offer public health and medical outreach, legal aid and meal services.
The center welcomes donations through its website.