Whether you have a quick question or need more specialized help, the Business Assistance team is available and ready to assist in whatever way we can to help you overcome challenges, grow, and expand your business in Los Angeles County.
Contact LAEDC’s Business Assistance team for no-cost assistance: 213-309-8849 or e-mail [email protected].
Jessica Ku Kim
Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development
In her role as Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development, Jessica Ku Kim provides strategic direction and leads LAEDC’s collaborative efforts with business, education, and the workforce ecosystem to support a growing, equitable, sustainable and resilient economy. Leveraging her expertise in convening and engaging businesses leaders to understand and meet their operations and labor needs, Jessica leads one of the most effective small business assistance teams in the nation that has attracted, retained or helped create more than 245,000 direct jobs for LA County residents in firms directly assisted by LAEDC. She also directs LAEDC’s LA County Community Connectory, an online information and referral resource and technical assistance team created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and dedicated to aggressively outreach to small businesses, nonprofits, and micro-enterprises and provide resources and assistance. Lastly, Jessica manages LAEDC’s workforce efforts, including the Center for a Competitive Workforce partnership with our region’s 19 community colleges, to strengthen the alignment of LA County’s workforce and education ecosystem and meet our changing labor market demands.
Jessica has intimate knowledge of programs funded on state and national levels including WIA, WIOA, California State Workforce Development Board, U.S. Department of Labor, and California Employment Training Panel. She has demonstrated success in developing, implementing, and managing workforce development programs for target populations including incumbent workers, new hires, disadvantaged youth, veterans, homeless, individuals with disabilities, and re-entry. In addition, she is experienced in developing innovative job training programs, pre-apprenticeships, and/or apprenticeships in partnership with businesses in the construction trades, aerospace, advanced manufacturing, and other in-demand industries.
Jessica is a proud Angeleno and honored to be a Commissioner on the Los Angeles City Workforce Development Board and Los Angeles County Workforce Development Board. Prior to LAEDC, Jessica served as the Special Projects Manager at the South Bay Workforce Investment Board. In this capacity, she provided sound, innovative and strategic leadership through program development and administration. Jessica has also served as the Director of Operations for ACCORD Community First that provided workforce development services across seven counties in Southern California where she led the Green Skills=Green Jobs initiative in partnership with the Utility Workers Union of America, AFL-CIO. She received her Master of Public Administration from California State University, Dominguez Hills and her Bachelor of Arts in Criminology, Law and Society from the University of California, Irvine.
The LAEDC’s regional managers are positioned by LA County District to assist with business attraction, retention, and expansion within their region.
Leonard Barrales joined the LA City WIB Layoff Aversion project as a Regional Manager in January 2011. He is a results-oriented professional with more than 15 years experience in recruitment, marketing, job placement, program management, and employee and business retention service programs for both private and public companies.
Recently, Mr. Barrales served as the Regional Business Services Manager for the Canoga Park and Van Nuys WorkSource Centers under ARBOR RESCARE with the City of Los Angeles to promote the WorkSource Center services to the local San Fernando Valley business community. He holds a B.S. in Political Science and has completed several courses and certifications in Economic Development, Real Estate, International Trade, etc.
As District Director of Business Assistance, Bob has over 24 years of economic-development experience with the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). Bob’s main mission is to meet with businesses, assess their challenges and leverage a variety of state, county, and local incentive programs to help businesses stay healthy and grow. Bob has been instrumental in the development of the LAEDC’s business-assistance program and has been part of numerous regional economic development teams to assist businesses with the challenges of doing business in Los Angeles County.
Over the years, Bob has been involved in business attraction and retention proposals highlighting County strengths and helping C-level executives make a business case for relocating or retaining their operations in Los Angeles County. Prior to joining the LAEDC, Bob worked for IBM for 16 years gaining valuable experience in marketing and sales working with both large, medium, and small companies. After IBM, Bob worked for a small a high-tech company in the field of metrology (the science of measurements with applications in high-tech industry clusters). The experience working for a small high-tech company has given Bob first-hand insights and passion into what issues and challenges that small businesses have to deal with in the area of sustaining and growing their business.
At the LAEDC, Bob has been instrumental in the development of the business-assistance programs, procedures, tracking systems, Business-Assistance Incentive Guide and has been part of numerous Regional Economic Development (RED) teams to attract or retain businesses and the jobs they provide in Los Angeles County. He provides free assistance services to businesses in the San Gabriel Valley’s 30 cities and is often tapped for his extensive experience on high-level projects. Bob has also been involved in special projects with other organizations, such as AQMD, LA County Dept. of Public Works, LA County Public Health, working on regulations to be more “business-friendly” to the general business community. Due to Bob’s extensive experience and knowledge of the economy in the San Gabriel Valley, he is often sought after by the media and requested as speaker on economic and business-assistance for the San Gabriel Valley. Bob has assisted on the Layoff Aversion Program contracts and holds a BA in Business and Economics from Whittier College.
As the LAEDC district director, Ms. Levine provides strategic consulting to many types of businesses in south LA County, to resolve challenges and problems and keep companies in business. Many of the projects involve retention, energy efficiency, cost of doing business, permitting, city and state incentives, and site selection. She also assists companies with management and workforce development issues. In her downtime, she is an instructor of marketing management courses at some LA area colleges.
Ms. Levine brings about 15 years marketing management experience in both the private and public sectors, as well as both corporate and client relationship experience in manufacturing, creative services, and healthcare organizations. She has a BA in Economics from UCLA and an MBA in Entrepreneurial Organizations from Loyola Marymount University.
City of LA Regional Managers – Layoff Aversion / Keep LA Working
District Manager, Business Assistance & Development
Linden Johnson has been a part of the Business Assistance team at LAEDC since 2011, and has worked extensively in the administration of the program. He provides field technical assistance and consulting to businesses in the City of Los Angeles, especially where he can help the business overcome challenges, as part of the pro-bono public-benefit mission of LAEDC. Prior to joining LAEDC, he worked as an Executive Assistant/Project Manager for an entertainment company specializing in concert production.
Mr. Johnson graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.