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Working It All Out

September/October 2002

Article: Working It All Out
Illustration by Michael Storc

HIV and the current economic climate may be making your financial situation difficult to manage. In this section, we help you get familiar with opportunities to stretch your dollars and make ends meet.

As access to effective HIV treatment improves, so do workplace opportunities for people living with HIV.

Even in strong economic times, looking for work can be tough. In today's bumpy economy, your best bet is to seek out as much support as possible for your job hunt. And if going back to school is part of your plan to get to that next job, vocational counseling and a working understanding of student financial aid are imperative.

AIDS Project Los Angeles' Benefits and Work Services Program, in collaboration with the California Employment Development Department (EDD), offers customized employment services to people living with HIV in the Los Angeles area. On-site job services at APLA include:

  • Weekly job seeker orientation

  • Résumé and cover letter assistance

  • Cal Jobs registration and online résumé (State Job Bank)

  • Job leads and referrals by on-site EDD job developer

To access these services, sign up for the weekly Job Seeker Orientation held each Monday (except holidays) from 10 a.m. to noon at APLA's David Geffen Center. For reservations, call Rice Russell at (213) 201-1616.

During the orientation, job seekers will get the opportunity to calculate their target income, discuss their most suitable job, and take a job skills analysis. After the orientation, one-on-one appointments are set up with our EDD Job Developer, America Solis. America works exclusively with people with HIV. In the last year, she has placed an average of four clients a month in jobs in Los Angeles. Working with a job development professional from an outside agency ensures HIV confidentiality with employers.

Addressing Legitimate Fears

Working or considering work can be a unique challenge for those managing HIV disease and the side effects of treatment.

APLA and EDD are committed to meet the full range of employment opportunities of people with HIV/AIDS. That means access to on-site return-to-work benefits and insurance counseling, discussing HIV disclosure and confidentiality, strategies to explain years of unemployment on résumés, and advice on obtaining financial assistance for education and training to get back into the job market.

Schooling Your Way to Work

In today's fast-changing job market, a majority of workers will change careers an average of four times.

Upgrading job skills benefits almost anyone who is out of work and looking for a job. For people who have been out of work for a number of years, getting good job training is especially important. There are a number of programs to pay for education and job training, both for the disabled and for job seekers in general.

APLA offers a comprehensive workshop series devoted to helping people with HIV gain access to resources to fund education and job training. Voc Rehab and the Work It! Series are generally offered the fourth week of each month at APLA West, 639 N. Fairfax Ave. Voc Rehab features Judith Borstein who has been assisting APLA clients for more than three years. Judith covers eligibility, applications and Department of Rehabilitation services for disabled folks who need training to get back to work. The Work It! Series covers most sources of funding for education and training as well as HIV and work issues. For workshop information and reservations call Rice Russell (213) 201-1616.

For someone who has been on disability, going to work can yield many benefits. Besides providing you with additional income, work gets you out of the house among other people, and gives you a feeling of being productive.

Getting familiar with the resources available to you is an important step that you may be glad that you took.

The Breakfast Club
8:30 to 9:30 a.m. each Tuesday

David Geffen Center
611 S. Kingsley Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90005

Networking for HIV-positive job seekers
(213) 201-1616

Rice RussellRice Russell is a Work Services Specialist in AIDS Project Los Angeles' Benefits and Work Services Program. He can be reached by calling (213) 201-1616 or by e-mail at

Back to the September/October 2002 issue of Positive Living.

This article has been reprinted at The Body with the permission of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).

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This article was provided by AIDS Project Los Angeles. It is a part of the publication Positive Living.
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