Robert M. Sainz
President and Executive Director
With an unwavering commitment to advocating for vulnerable populations, Robert Sainz serves as the President and Executive Director of New Ways to Work, a nonprofit focusing on advocacy and technical assistance to improve workforce and education programs and systems. Serving young adults who often live in the shadows, the agency has an intense focus on those from foster, probation, and homeless systems. Having recently concluded a 30-year public sector career in the City and County of Los Angeles, Robert previously served as Assistant General Manager for the City of Los Angeles Economic Development Department where he managed over $70 million annually in public agency grant funds, resulting in programs and services for thousands of Angelenos.
Behind the glitz and glam that have become synonymous with the LA brand, Robert has a proven history of digging beyond the surface—tackling the most devastating social problems that face residents living in communities with diminished resources. Whether addressing juvenile delinquency, youth and adult unemployment, or youth disconnection from education and work, the LA native specializes in building coalitions and partnerships that maximize resources to produce quantifiable results.
Thanks to a clear vision for how to reengage young people, Robert established the City of Los Angeles YouthSource System, Los Angeles Performance Partnership Pilot (LAP3) and is a founding member of LA:RISE - an innovative model serving homeless and re-entry populations. He also established HIRE LA, one of the nation’s largest public-private youth employment initiatives that combined the visibility of corporate America with solutions designed by policy experts. As part of his extensive tenure with the second largest city in the nation, Robert also served as the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Youth Opportunity Movement and worked as the Assistant and Interim Executive Director of the City of Los Angeles Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families.
Never straying from a challenge, Robert began his career in the Los Angeles County Management Trainee Program in 1990 and later assumed the role of Probation Director leading the department’s Office of Community Relations and Office of Prevention Services. As a national voice on workforce development, Robert served as past President and Trustee in the US Conference of Mayor’s Workforce Development Council and as an advisory member for the National Dropout Prevention Council. He is also a board member of School & Main; Alliance for a Better Community; and cofounder of the Reconnecting LA’s Youth (RELAY) Institute at California State University, Northridge. Robert is married; father of three children, and grandfather of two.
Steve Trippe has led New Ways in all of its youth initiatives and programs, as well as its consulting, training and technical assistance efforts since the mid 1980's. He also served as New Ways' principal author and editor of initiative guides, frameworks, toolkits and process tools. Welcoming long-time Board Member Robert Sainz as Executive Director in January of 2021, Steve now serves as a Senior Fellow to New Ways. He remains committed to the values vision and mission of the organization.
Steve is an accomplished facilitator, trainer, presenter, partnership developer and program designer. He is a seasoned veteran in youthwork, beginning his career as a direct service provider in San Francisco in 1975. He has had extensive direct service experience with the CYO of the Bay Area, the San Francisco Art Commission, and as a music teacher in the public schools.
Steve became President & Executive Director of New Ways in 1999 and transitioned to the role of Senior Fellow in 2021.
Gregory Burks, Ph.D.
Gregory D. Burks Sr., Ph.D. brings more than twenty-five years of diversified executive experience, specializing in Nonprofit, Community and Governmental operations. He previously held the position of Director of Workforce Development – Adult Operations for the City of Los Angeles. He was responsible for the City’s workforce development system adult operations that consist of seventeen (17) centers with the enrollment of 8,000 individuals and 200 full-time staff with an annual operating budget of $45M. He’ll apply his experience in the development and implementation of new programs and processes to continue the growth of New Way to Work program operation.
Manuel is an advisor and technical assistance provider to non-profit and public entities with an emphasis in strategic planning and organizational development.
Manuel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies, with an emphasis on the Urban Ethnic Experience, from the University of Southern California.
After more than thirty years of employment with the City of Los Angeles, in 2015 Manuel retired as Assistant General Manager of the City’s Housing + Community Investment Department. In that capacity he had oversight responsibility for the planning and delivery of comprehensive social and neighborhood improvement services to low-moderate income City residents and communities. He managed Community Development Block Grant and Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) funds that supported this work and was the City’s, State recognized CSBG Executive Director.
He was the primary architect of the FamilySource System that now serves as the City’s primary provider of anti-poverty initiatives. FamilySource is an outcome driven model and is unique in that it measures the local economic impact of the program as compared against the investment of federal funds. FamilySource is recognized as a model both statewide and nationally.
For years, Manuel also served as the City’s Workforce Development Division Director. In that capacity he was responsible for the planning and oversight of the WorkSource and YouthSource service delivery systems and remains a valuable workforce development resource.
Manuel also served as Executive Director of the City’s Youth Fair Chance program, managing a collaborative of co-located community based organizations, providing a comprehensive array of social services to low-income City residents. He coordinated service delivery, managed day-to-day operations, served as development officer and incorporated the program as a 501.c.3 organization that remains in good standing.
Manuel is proficient in the application of Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award criteria in managing and improving organizational performance and has presented, on numerous occasions, at California Council for Excellence (CCE) conferences.
Since his retirement Manuel has served as a consultant to non-profit organizations in the development of their strategic plans and scorecards, in mentoring executive staff, in developing policies and procedures and in providing general overall guidance. He also managed the process for certifying all of the City of Los Angeles America’s Jobs Centers.
Lauri Collier is the director of the LA Opportunity Youth Collaborative. Lauri has over 20 years of experience working with vulnerable populations, and her expertise is working with child-welfare programs serving transition age youth. Previously, as vice-president of housing and operations at St. Anne’s, she worked in collaboration with DCFS Youth Development Services to bring the Transitional Housing Plus (THP+) funding stream into Los Angeles County in partnership with DCFS and licensed one of the first Transitional Housing Plus Foster Care (THP+FC) housing programs in Los Angeles County. She also served as the director of the Los Angeles Transition Age Youth Collaborative, which developed an evidence-based, trauma informed, work-force development curriculum in collaboration with Columbia University School of Social Work’s Workplace Center. She expanded the reach of work readiness curriculum by and partnering with over 15 community-based organizations, and the curriculum is currently being embedded into the public workforce system.
Shawn is a consultant specializing in project management, social media, graphic design, and IT support. He previously worked as a graphic designer, administrative assistant and then job developer for The RightWay Foundation, working with transition-aged foster and re-entry youth in Los Angeles County. He currently assists New Ways in providing a wide array of administrative support needed as the organization continues to grow.
Ruben has a 35-year career that showcases a devotion to empowering youth and advocating for underserved communities in improving the public systems that form the foundations and fail-safes for their collective wellbeing. I am particularly devoted to opportunity youth (16-24), those who have been adversely impacted by systemic economic and racial inequities or system involvement.
Much of Ruben’s work centers throughout the Los Angeles Basin, where he has served as a catalyst for collective action. He worked to form, fund, led and supported several organizations and initiatives, including the California State University System’s CSU5 Reconnecting LA Youth (ReLAY) Institute, Annenberg Foundation’s LA n’ Sync and the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office and the Economic and Workforce Development Department’s LA Performance Partnership Pilot (LAP3), Supported the development of a primary strategic goal, as part of their regional WIOA Plan, focused on opportunity youth for all seven Workforce Development Boards within Los Angeles County.
Ruben’s most recent position was as the Associate Director of the CSU5 Reconnecting Los Angeles Youth Institute (ReLAY), which is an institute led by the five California State Universities in Los Angeles County. The overall aim of the CSU5 ReLAY Institute is to create sustainable systemic change that will provide improved education, employment, housing, and health and well-being outcomes for opportunity youth (16-24) throughout the Los Angeles Basin.
Sean Hughes has more than two decades of experience working on a broad range of public policy issues with a particular focus on children, youth, and families. As a Congressional staffer, he helped write and pass the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351), which established the federal extended foster care and subsidized guardianship programs. Following his decade on Capitol Hill, Sean served for several years as Director of Congressional Affairs for the Child Welfare League of America before transitioning to consulting. Sean possesses significant expertise in county, state, and federal policy and government affairs, including the legislative, budgeting, and regulatory processes as well as the Congressional appropriations process. He has extensive experience developing and executing policy and funding agendas and campaigns, both within government and as an advocate. Through his Congressional service and continued federal policy engagement, client work in several states, and ongoing participation in the Aspen Institute Opportunity Youth Forum as well as the American Bar Association Commission on Youth at Risk, Sean maintains a robust network of experts and partners throughout the country.
Ari Malka, Ph.D.
Ari Malka is a Senior Research Consultant with New Ways to Work. Dr. Malka has over a decade of experience in conducting applied research, program evaluation, and leading leadership and organizational development initiatives. In addition to evaluating several large-scale programs in Los Angeles, he also teaches an MBA course at Rice University.
Early on, Dr. Malka was very involved in both academia and practice. In addition to teaching several undergraduate courses and conducting organizational research, he held formal internships at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and ExxonMobil. Dr. Malka’s early work in conducting job and training needs analyses and applied research on organizational teams has led to his unique insight into human capital practices in the private and public sectors. As a human capital consultant at PDRI, Dr. Malka worked on a variety of federal contracts relating to leadership development and assessment, employee selection, and organizational development. During this time, he collaborated closely with federal employees and leaders in various federal agencies.
Dr. Malka received his B.S. from the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the University of Houston.
Rogelio has over 20 years of experience helping youth to fulfill their potential by developing and implementing programs that directly impact both participants and their respective communities. Since 1995 Rogelio has helped hundreds of low-income students from underserved communities not only graduate from high school but enroll in post-secondary education. A great extent of this work has taken place at a College and Career Center that he helped establish in Boyle Heights where he continues to volunteer. Rogelio received his formal education from Carleton College as a recipient of the One Voice Scholarship award and a Ford Mellon Foundation Fellowship award. Rogelio graduated pre-med with Bachelor’s Degrees in both Sociology and Anthropology in 1998. While an undergraduate a at Carleton Rogelio worked to charter CASA Del Sol. CASA Del Sol’s mission was to recruit and support low-income people of color to apply and graduate from elite colleges such as Carleton. As Director of Post-Secondary Education and Training Rogelio has developed curriculum and programing that emphasizes how an investment in education and training creates lifelong opportunities. Rogelio has set up and overseen key partnerships with institutions of Post-Secondary Education like California State University Los Angeles and UCLA. By developing programs like LA CAUSA’s U.C.L.A Green Summer Intensive Transfer Experience and Cal State LA’s Youth Summit, Rogelio continues to empower youth through education and post-secondary training. In addition to working to establish the first City of Los Angeles College Career Center in Boyle Heights Rogelio was also responsible for working to establish and direct a Green College and Career Center which garnered recognition from the White House in 2010 for its work helping to provide youth and community members with the motivation information and resources to successfully enroll in Post-Secondary Education. Additionally, Rogelio has managed Department of Labor, HUD, DJJ, WIA and Weingart Foundation grants with great success by meeting or exceeding their respective outcomes. Rogelio’s latest projects included serving as instructional leader and founder of LA CAUSA Youthbuild Charter School and working with former student Ely Flores in helping him establish his own Leadership High School -LEAD in Lincoln Heights. Currently Rogelio works with low-income youth and communities across Los Angeles as Director of Educational Services for Dream Scholars and consultant for New Ways to Work.
As founder and Executive Director of Educate California, Eric Moore has developed a non-profit organization whose mission is to ensure that all California youth graduate prepared for college, careers and life after high school. Educate California exists to combat California’s more than 500:1 student-to-counselor ratio, by providing 14 – 24-year-old low-income youth, their families and organizations that empower opportunity youth with resources that historically would be provided by high school counselors.
Moore’s professional experience includes 12 years as a financial advisor with Wells Fargo Securities and American Express Financial Advisors. In 1998, Moore founded Educate California after experiencing first-hand how parental engagement helped his struggling son graduate high school, and officially transitioned from advising families on investments, retirement options, estate planning and other financial matters to helping families prepare their children for college and career opportunities.
In the community, Moore served as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees for the Phillips Graduate University and is currently Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors for Executive Service Corps of Southern California. Moore both mentors and serves on the Board of AMBITION, an entrepreneurial training program for disadvantaged youth, and has served as a Special Consultant to the California State University Chancellor’s Office.
A native of Los Angeles, Moore studied Organizational Psychology at California State University, Long Beach. His personal interests include non-profit development, do-it-yourself home projects and his 3 dogs. Moore resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife Katrice. They have two adult sons.
Branding Consultant Farrah Parker serves as one of the newest additions to the New Ways to Work team where she will help guide public relations and marketing efforts. The Los Angeles native currently consults for international brands including the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, retired NBA Champion Matt Barnes, and Grammy Award winner Anthony Hamilton to name a few. With an incredible passion for narrating powerful stories that inspire, Parker started her career with the Los Angeles Lakers public relations team during the Shaquille O’Neal/Kobe Bryant era. Alongside a dynamic team, she helped coordinate international media efforts and diverse community relations efforts that solidified the brand’s dominance across the globe.
After experiencing multiple championship seasons with LA’s home team, Parker ventured to City Government where she worked under the leadership of Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa and Mayor Eric Garcetti to facilitate workforce and economic development efforts to improve the quality of life for marginalized populations. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Parker holds a Master of Arts degree in Communication Management and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations, both from the distinguished Annenberg School for Communication.
In addition to her wealth of public relations expertise, Parker has also been quoted as a communication expert in publications including but not limited to USA Today, The Hill, The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business News, CNN.com, The Independent, Shape Magazine, and CNBC.
An advocate in the fight to bridge the healthcare gap, Parker narrated the audio book Chicken Soup for the Breast Cancer Survivor’s Soul. As part of her belief that higher education helps close the wage gap that plagues communities of color, Parker has also taught Interpersonal Communication at California State University, Dominguez Hills and Communication Theory at Compton College. With expertise that spans across multiple industries, she has a longstanding history of positioning clients as industry leaders through the construction of powerful messages that cultivate loyal audiences.
Heidi Peyser, MA
Heidi has been advising non-profits and government agencies about leveraging technology since 1998 and has been consulting on website development and how to effectively translate communications traditionally / historically done in PDF and print to web content since 2001. Heidi has assisted many counties, cities, towns, special districts and non profit agencies nationwide in making this transition in a manner complementary to their existing communications and stakeholder needs.
Heidi is a former foster youth. She lives in Santa Rosa, California with her wife and two teenage boys. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology and research and is fluent in front end website development languages. She currently works as a senior information architect for Planeteria Media in addition to being a technological consultant for New Ways to Work.
Laura C. Romero
I have two Associates degrees in the Arts of Social and Behavioral Sciences and in Psychology. Soon to follow will be a Bachelors degree in Psychology. I have training in the field of substance abuse counseling through East Los Angeles College. I have spent four years working with justice impacted individuals and I’m currently working as a consultant for the Amityworks Substance Abuse Training Academy in partnership with Amity Foundation, East Los Angeles College, and Cuesta College.
Karen John Vega has over 20 years of experience both in the private and public sector as an Administrator/Sr. Project Assistant. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration with an option in Office Systems. She started her career with the City of Los Angeles, Commission for Children, Youth & their Services and Youth Opportunity Movement. She later transitioned to the private sector working for a well-established clothing manufacturing company as an Administrator overseeing HR/Accounting/Domestic and Oversea Productions, where she was responsible for day-to-day operations, including managing staff, handling the company’s finances, and ensuring that the office runs efficiently and smoothly. She is truly a “one-stop shop” when it comes to office management and is always looking for ways to improve the efficiency of the office. Currently, she works for nonprofit New Ways to Work as a Program Manager.
Helen Whitcher is a consultant specializing in youth workforce development, non-profit administration, program design and creating career pathways. Prior to consulting, she spent over 20 years working with YouthBuild, a youth development model for 16-24 year old young adults with significant barriers. Her experience with YouthBuild has spanned numerous positions including Sr. Director of Field Services and Technical Assistance for YouthBuild USA, Executive Director of Palmetto Community Hope Foundation, a South Carolina Affordable Housing organization that integrated YouthBuild students into affordable housing activities, and as a consultant in South Africa and the Caribbean to support the design, implementation and sustainability of youth development programs. She has a focus in implementation of strategies that support and facilitate the interface of workforce placements through public private partnerships.
Throughout all of this, the individual recipient has remained the focus. An example is as a Prime for Life Substance Use Prevention instructor, and a facilitator of the first SBIRT (Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment) initiative in a community setting, Helen’s passion has been to support young people to success by allowing them to arrive at the decisions that will positively affect their futures. This approach is shared through training with staff, executive coaching and with the program recipients themselves.
Ms. Whitcher holds a Masters Degree in Public Affairs from McCormack Institute, University of Massachusetts, a Bachelor of Science from Temple University, and certification in substance use prevention curricula. She is a former member of the local youth council of the Trident Workforce Development Board, and still mentors young people who were a part of her early YouthBuild programs. She resides in Charleston, SC. And Los Angeles, CA.
New Ways Partners With COYN
New Ways to Work collaborates with local practitioners and system providers to improve practice and provide critical information and knowledge to national, state and local policy leaders on innovations and practices to improve the delivery of workforce, career readiness and support services for the emerging workforce.
New Ways to Work is proud to announce a new alliance with The California Opportunity Youth Network (COYN) to help build the capacity of local community-based organizations and state-wide and regional networks to support the development of academic and career pathways for economically vulnerable young people (16-24) , especially youth and young adults who are involved with the foster care, juvenile justice and homeless systems and are disconnected or at risk of experiencing school and work disconnection. The COYN member sites partner with the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions and share lessons learned, quality practices and collateral materials across the Opportunity Youth Forum Communities.
COYN is an advocacy-intermediary network that bridges the gap between ground-level communities and service providers and state-level policymakers to achieve statewide, systems-level change in education and workforce. COYN’s membership consists of local organizations and operational intermediaries working to leverage services across systems to benefit youth and young adults across the state of California, in both rural and urban communities.
Through this new alliance, these organizations and their partners will leverage their collective expertise to develop core practice models designed to increase the capacity of local organizations and networks to successfully navigate multiple systems to ensure that youth are able to access the high-quality programs, services and opportunities they need to gain their footing in the post Covid-19 recovery.
COYN, New Ways, and Aspen will all collectively advocate for innovative reform strategies that can be implemented at the system level across the workforce, K-12 and postsecondary education, social service, juvenile justice, health and housing systems to improve cross-system coordination and eliminate barriers that young people are currently experiencing.
New Ways to Work has been a leader in addressing workplace issues since our founding in 1972. Beginning with the invention, promotion, and definition of job sharing as a way to help women and others balance work with the rest of their lives, we spent thirty years pioneering work-time alternatives — flex-time, telecommuting, and phased retirement to name a few — now all common practices in workplaces around the world. In the early 1980s, our focus expanded to apply our workplace strategies to provide better access to high-quality employment opportunities for youth enrolled in school or training programs.
For the past four decades, New Ways has been at the center of efforts to improve the way our public systems and local programs prepare our young people for their futures. Young people need better opportunities, both in and out of school, to gain the knowledge and skills critical for success in college and career. New Ways helps communities work together to build comprehensive youth-serving systems.
1980 - 1989
- New Ways Workers Network
- The Quality Work-Based Learning Initiative
1990 - 1999
- Bay Area School-to-Career Action Network
- Northern California School-to-Career Practitioners Network
- CalSCAN (the California School-to-Career Action Network)
- School-to-Work Intermediary Project
- CS2 (Communities and Schools for Career Success)
2000 - 2005
- Employer and Labor Engagement, Work-Based Learning Tool-Kit
- Youth Opportunity Grantees
- YCI (Youth Council Institute)
- All Youth – One System frameworks
- Intermediary Network
- The School Executive Leadership Initiative
- The Quality Work-Based Learning Initiative
- YTAT (Youth Transition Action Team Initiative)
- Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities Project
- Diploma Plus
2006 - 2011
- YTAT (Youth Transition Action Team Initiative)
- Improving Transition Outcomes for Youth with Disabilities Project
- Diploma Plus
- Statewide Foster Youth Transition Policy Forum
- Intermediary Network
- SCYEC (Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps)
- BSC-ILP (Breakthrough Series Collaborative on Independent Living Program Redesign)
- Foster Youth Pathways to Employment Initiative
- Chicago Workforce Investment Board
2012 - The Present
- Youth At The Crossroads Conference
- Intermediary Network
- Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps
- Santa Rosa Mayor’s Gang Task Force
- Contra Costa Workforce Development Board and Youth Council
- Earn & Learn East Bay
- Jewish Vocational Services Los Angeles
- Peralta Community College District (Career Pathways)
- Public Policy Institute of New York State – PTECH
- Los Angeles Universal Pre School
- Youth Ecology Corps Network Sites
- Diablo Gateways to Innovation (Career Pathways Trust)
- Contra Costa County School District (Career Pathways Trust)
- New York City Department of Education (CTE WBL Toolkit)
- Jobs First New York City (Transfer 2 Careers Collaborative)
- Workforce Professionals Training Institute (Mentored Internship program)
- Artworx LA (Career Pathways Development)
- Los Angeles/Orange County Regional Consortia (WBL Resource Center)
- EarnLearn.us (WBL Toolkit Upgrades)