Photo by John Schreiber.

Los Angeles County officials Thursday marked the creation of a department focused on economic and workforce development, as part of the dissolving of the former Department of Workforce Development, Aging and Community Services.

The Department of Economic Opportunity aims to advance workforce equity and mobility by combining services that were previously performed by four different agencies in the county.

Kelly LoBianco, the former executive director for economic and workforce development at WDACS, was appointed the department’s new director.

“Thanks to the vision of our Board of Supervisors and the commitment of our county team and partners, we are proud to have created a new, centralized department that will empower all of our workers, small businesses and high-road employers, and communities,” LoBianco said in a statement. “As we continue to recover and look to the future, our charge is to advance workforce equity and mobility and drive inclusive and sustainable growth here in L.A. County.”

The department has 178 budgeted positions and is overseen by two county commissions: the Los Angeles County Workforce Development Board and the Small Business Commission. It also runs several programs providing public services such as the America’s Job Centers of California, the Office of Small Business and the RENOVATE Facade Improvement Program.

The new department will allow for a coherent strategy in advancing economic equity and justice, according to Holly Mitchell, chair of the Board of Supervisors.

“I am excited to see the impact the department will have on driving inclusive economic growth and building pathways to economic prosperity — through job programs, small business development, and other strategies — for communities historically excluded from opportunity,” Mitchell said in a statement.

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