Arts District/Industrial Corridor tour: Environmentally friendly opportunities for community residents
// By Jacqueline Brennan
Conjure an image of a decaying railroad depot surrounded in all directions by rusty industrial warehouses. Doesn’t sound too inviting, does it?
Now picture a thriving arts district where creatives, social entrepreneurs, nonprofit changemakers, and service providers collide to create a vibrant community full of fresh starts for residents, energized by a hyper-local green economy. That’s a place you’d want to visit, right?
LA’s Arts District/Industrial Corridor is a powerful and beautiful example of transformation – and you’re invited to experience it firsthand on an LA Inside & Out tour at Upswell.
Brightly colored public art replaces graffiti on the way to the first stop of the tour: Homeboy Electronics Recycling, a full-service operation that focuses on “keeping electronics out of landfills and people out of prisons.”
Homeboy Electronics Recycling is the only for-profit social enterprise in Homeboy Industries, founded by “Father Greg” in 2001 to provide hope, training, and support for gang-involved youth and previously incarcerated men and women. Homeboy Industries also includes a number of nonprofits, including a bakery, diner, café, farmers markets, silkscreen and embroidery; merchandise, and a grocery – and all employ people who face employment barriers to help them redirect their lives and become positive contributors to the community.
“Homeboy Electronics Recycling handles electronic products at the end of their useful lives,” according to Brittany Murrey, business development manager. “We also repair and restore electronic devices, and re-market them through ecommerce channels.” Additionally, they offer a variety of data services, including IT asset recovery and data destruction.
The woman-led, niche company offers workers referred by Homeboy Industries an 18-month training and internship program, with the goal of hiring them to begin a new and productive career. Their workforce not only includes the formerly incarcerated, but also individuals who have developmental disorders.
The tour’s second stop, the LA Cleantech Incubator (LACI), partners with and provides mentorship for cleantech startups, and supports Homeboy Electronics Recycling.
Founded in 2011, LACI helps drive innovation and growth in the city’s green economy. Its staff includes entrepreneurs, market specialists, and researchers that offer expert advice on a full range of issues facing early to growth stage companies.
LACI has been described as the “equivalent of baseball’s farm system,” helping to identify and support the growth and establishment of local “green” entrepreneurial talent. We’d say when it comes to providing opportunities for development and a leg up – whether with a new green business, or new start at life – Homeboy Electronics Recycling and the LA Cleantech Incubator knock it out of the park. You’ll want to see it for yourself!
LA Inside & Out tours are half-day immersion experiences where you’ll actively participate in a journey into dynamic LA neighborhoods where real changework is happening, and be inspired by what you learn to create real change in your community, too.
To sign up for this LA Inside & Out tour, check the box beside Arts District/Industrial Corridor when you register for Upswell.