A Tribute to a Passionate
At-Risk Community Advocate
A trailblazer who helped create transformative construction job programs to rehabilitate the lives of at-risk individuals, Ernest Roberts served as the rock of PVJOBS since its founding in 1998 to 2018. As its inaugural leader, Roberts fiercely guided the organization from its early stages as a burgeoning nonprofit to becoming a national model for job programs serving at-risk communities.
In his role as Executive Director of PVJOBS, Roberts worked as a passionate activist who sought to build relationships with leaders in both the public and private sectors to help broker landmark agreements that led them to launching hiring programs for their large development projects. Under
Roberts’ leadership at the organization for two decades, PVJOBS provided services to nearly 30,000 at-risk individuals seeking to rebuild their lives through construction career pathways.
Roberts, who was once considered at-risk himself due to his past incarceration and
drug use, maintained a special connection with PVJOBS participants since he often
understood their struggles on a personal level. His determination to succeed,
despite his past, was an inspiration to many, having rebuilt his own life by earning
a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from USC before taking the helm of the newly
formed PVJOBS organization and leading it to great heights.
Roberts had more than 25 years of experience in the technical and construction
fields. He once owned and operated The House Doctor, a construction and home
improvement services business that exclusively hired at-risk individuals. He also
served as the President of the West Los Angeles College PACE Alumni Association.
Roberts sadly passed away at his home on November 17, 2021, after battling a long illness. Before his death, he steadily served on the PVJOBS Board for three years. PVJOBS staff and board and a host of community supporters continue to treasure Roberts for being a courageous and compassionate advocate for rehabilitative job programs as well as a true pioneer in this movement.
Roberts never saw people for what they were, but rather saw them for what they could become. His life was spent helping people overcome their history of poverty, drug abuse, incarceration and more, knowing that they could create new careers and new lives through PVJOBS. His legacy will live on in each family he has touched and in each new career he has sparked.