Homeboy Industries

"Jobs not Jails"

I never thought I would be doing something good just by buying a bag of tortilla chips at my local supermarket, but that’s exactly what I did! A few weeks ago, while doing my usual weekly grocery shopping, I noticed a display promoting tortilla chips. What intrigued me wasn’t the item, but the name and slogan of the company that produced the item; “Homeboy Industries – Jobs not Jails.” I thought that the name and slogan were interesting and so I decided to purchase the chips. Not only were they the best tortilla chips I’d ever gotten from the market (I felt like I was eating chips from a Mexican restaurant), but I found out that a portion of my purchase went to help a good cause.  

The Homeboy Industries helps at risk youth in the Los Angeles area through their bakery, silk-screening company and through the Homegirl Café. They offer an alternative to joining the more than 1,000 gangs throughout Southern California.

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Mission Statement

Their Mission Statement: “Homeboy Industries assists at-risk, formerly gang-involved youth and the recently incarcerated to become contributing members of our community through a variety of services in response to their multiple needs. Our free programs including counseling, education, tattoo removal, job training, and placement [that] enable young men and women to redirect their lives and provide them with hope for their futures.”

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Helping the Community

Homeboy Industries has been featured on the Dr. Phil program and provides much needed programs and services, such as employment services; community service; curriculum/education; legal services; twelve step meetings; tattoo removal, and more.

The services this organization provides help young people to redirect their lives and provides them with hope for their future. Homeboy employs many at risk youth and provides them with job training or work-readiness positions, and each person has a Case Manager in addition to taking classes as part of their work day. They also offer a Court-Mandated Domestic Violence Batterers Intervention Program.

The services are open to the community and they welcome all who are striving to move beyond gang life. They offer free access to all programs to anyone, whether they are employed with Homeboy Industries or not. Homeboy strives to be a ‘therapeutic  community’ where those ready to voluntarily move beyond gangs can seek help.  All of the services are provided free of charge.


The County of Los Angeles Probation Department has granted approval to the Homeboy program, the first to open in 8 years. They hold three classes (2 for men and 1 for women) weekly for 40 enrollees.

Through their case management program, Case Managers work with each trainee to create an individual service plan ensuring they receive appropriate services, meet their parole or probation requirements and address the obstacles and issues. Each trainee works with a Homeboy Case Manager who closely monitors their progress to ensure that they are receiving the necessary services both from the organization and from community agencies.

They offer a Solar Panel Installation Training and Certification Program and both men and women can train to become certified solar panel installation specialists. Graduates can receive state and/or  a nationally recognized certification, and students have the opportunity to work with Job Developers to find placement. Students are provided with support services and tutoring in math and literacy to ensure the best possible chance of success.

In additional to solar panel installation, they offer other educational programs geared towards financial management and business skills. With their general educational and curriculum program, the company seeks to help people increase their skills while also increasing their sense of self worth.

Homeboy Industries Offers

  • Learning Works! Charter High School for youth under age 20
  • G.E.D. preparation for clients seeking to earn their high school diploma
  • Tutoring in math and literacy for Solar Panel Training enrollees
  • More than 30 classes a month in
  • Computer training
  • Life skills classes
  • Parenting (including the Baby & Me class)
  • Personal development
  • Basic finances and budgeting, and household management
  • Enrichment programs such as creative writing, music, art classes and field trips

A Better Life

Through the efforts of dedicated staff and curriculum, clients also set an example for their children, and open new horizons for growth and a better life for the long term. Nearly all of the classes are taught by volunteers and professionals who donate their time.

Other services include free tattoo removal which is an important step in a long and challenging journey out of gang life and into a positive social integration.  With an average of 350 treatments per month, a team of volunteer physicians and a physician’s assistant, under a supervising medical director perform about 4,000 to 5,000 treatments a year.  Clients who go in for tattoo removal learn about the additional services offered.

Homeboy Industries even offers a music program to provide a creative outlet for the community. Clients receive musical training and education on music production, marketing, law and distribution. Both men and women collaborate during group recording sessions and receive on-site mentoring in music production. The program is popular and the company is now selling their “Just Like That” E.P., a production full of positive songs about the personal impact of Homeboy Industries.

You Can Help

In addition to helping out this organization by purchasing their products, you can also help them by going to their website and contributing through their ‘virtual car wash’ program. “In our community, when tragedy strikes, when there is unexpected financial need, people come together and hold a car wash. Everyone can find $10 somewhere, and together, we can reach our goal. Homeboy needs help, so we're asking you to be a part of our community, to give $10 for our "virtual" car wash, and help us spread the word. We want this community to be one million people strong. Together, we can do it.”

Homeboy Industries is doing their part to help men and women who would otherwise have no place to go and no hope to make a better life for themselves. They are providing the much needed resources to give these individuals an opportunity to compete and succeed in the open labor market, but more importantly, they are providing the much needed resources to give people hope for themselves and the future. 

The next time you’re at the supermarket look for Homeboy Industries products and feel good about buying chips!

For more information about Homeboy Industries, or to contribute go to their website: Homeboyindustries.org

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