At this year’s Breakfast of Champions, JobTrain celebrated the beginning of its 50th Anniversary year and I issued a challenge to the audience: let’s raise more opportunities for our students and our community. I’m thrilled that many employers took up the challenge and wanted to work with JobTrain to make this happen.
A persistent and difficult issue is the number of minimum wage versus medium wage jobs. Recent information from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group tells us that 30% of working people in the Bay Area require supplemental services (food stamps, food banks, subsidized day care and transportation) to survive and many more are working two or even three minimum wage jobs. Unemployment is down, but living in poverty remains a crushing reality for many working people.
This difficult issue raises significant challenges and poses a hard question for our community – is any job a good job if you can’t rent an apartment or feed your family? Many employers we see at JobTrain are struggling with this as well.
JobTrain is dedicated to helping people find jobs that allow them to build a career and a good life for their families. To do this, we have partnered with both Sequoia Adult Education and Cañada College on pathways that allow people to train for better paying jobs immediately but also access college credits that, we hope, could lead to expanded career opportunities in the future. JobTrain and its partners have pathways in the medical, business administration, and coding fields. We also have exciting partnerships with the Laborers and Carpenters Unions which provide a road to construction jobs, and with community businesses, many of which lead to culinary careers. And, we have just begun a partnership with Sequoia Union High School District to offer JobTrain programs for students at Redwood High School.
The “Road to Opportunity” is challenging, and given the ever-increasing cost of living in the Bay Area, the scope of this challenge is likely to continue to grow. I want to thank you for continuing to partner with us to make our community one of opportunity for all those we serve. Your support has never been more critical.