Thursday, October 27, 2011

In His Footsteps: Remembering the Legacy of OICW Founder Leon Sullivan

Teacher Knows Best: Randale Conner Receives LEON SULLIVAN Legacy Award

(Nomination Received)

Dear Selection Committee:

Math is an integral part of Project Build. As Chuck Bragg, the Project Build instructor likes to say, if you can’t do the math, you can’t survive in construction.

The first time I met this particular student was in the math class I teach to every incoming Project Build class. Some students figure they already know the math, some never want to know it, and some are determined to learn every- thing they can about it because they sense its role in their future. My nominee falls into the last group.

This student came into Project Build after some bad decisions that afforded him free housing as a guest of the county. Whether he didn’t like the food or the atmosphere, he was determined not to make that mistake again. He absorbed everything that Chuck and I had to offer him in the class.

After graduation from Project Build, he went into the Laborers’ Union. He did his initial apprenticeship training in San Ramon where one of the first classes the apprentices have is math. One evening, as I was standing by the front desk, in walked this student with a full-face grin. When I asked him what he was grinning about, he whipped out a decimal/fraction conversion card from his pocket. “We had a math test today. Remember the fraction/decimal conversions you taught us? Ishmael and I didn’t even need to refer to this. We shined!” I received the first of many hugs from this student.

He went on to distinguish himself in his apprenticeship training and was assigned to the SFPUC Hetch-Hetchy Project. His main job, among others, was to coat the weld seams of the pipe, both interior and exterior, with cement. This wasn’t just a task for him. he could explain WHY this was necessary and how the whole project fit together. He listened, he fit the bits and pieces of information together, he understood, and he was determined to do an excellent job because he understood how important this project is to the well-being of this and surrounding communities. He threw his whole heart into his work.

One night as I drove south on El Camino through Redwood City, I encountered the crew as they were in the process of crossing El Camino with the pipe line. This student was there directing the traffic around the detour. Two weeks later I encountered him again on Middlefield as they were running the pipe under that road. Again, his courtesy and clear involvement in the task grabbed my attention.

Several months later he was across the street helping to bury pipe under our parking lot. Whenever he had a chance, he would drop by to update us on the progress of the project and his own progress. His willingness to give it everything he had was paying off. Not only had he had steady well-paying work for over a year with more to come, he also proudly informed me that his superiors were so happy with him that they were going to cut his apprenticeship short a year and promote him to journeyman and make him a foreman. That’s the kind of progress we want to see in a JobTrain grad!

His determination to turn his life around, his full commitment to doing everything he could to be the best at what he was doing, his willingness to put his whole self into what he was doing has paid off. He has not only actualized the hopes that Chuck and I had for him, but he has validated the hope that Leon Sullivan had when he founded OIC. This JobTrain grad is day by day proving that opportunity, when accepted, can indeed change lives. It is my distinct pleasure to recommend Randale Conner for the 2011 Leon Sullivan Award.


Karen M. Lundberg

Lead instructor, ASE/GED Instructor

Friday, October 14, 2011

JobTrain's Sneak Preview of the NEW Facebook Campus!

Seeing is Believing: Facebook is AWESOME!

JobTrain staff had a MAGNIFICENT time at Facebook’s Sneak Preview event on October 13, 2011.

Dave Ebersman, Facebook CFO delivered a wonderful welcome address to the attendees. Menlo Park Mayor Rich Cline, was particularly proud to welcome Facebook to the community.

“This match is wonderful. For us as a community, I want you to start thinking BIG and broad about what this partnership means. What are the opportunities? This is a unique chance for the ultimate public and private partnership. Very rarely do you get to be around and part of the ‘change agent.’ And this is the ultimate ‘change agent’ for the city and particularly in the Belle Haven community.”

The event was perfectly organized and Facebook definitely showed their support of community and made each and every guest feel part of their family.

The Facebook chefs are brilliant and the food they prepared was quite literally, “out-of-this-world.” Special thanks to the event organizers and to Glenda Heidsick, Facebook’s Global Project Coordinator for the awesome tour of the extraordinary campus!

JobTrain Staff Enjoy Fleet Week Thanks to UNITED AIRLINES

San Francisco Fleet Week 2011

Our generous partners at UNITED AIRLINES, invited JobTrain staff and their families to attend Fleet Week in San Francisco on Sunday, October 9, 2011.

JobTrain staff had a WONDERFUL time watching the air show and enjoyed the amazing amenities provided as guests of UNITED’S Corporate Chalet.

The event was made especially memorable as we witnessed Assemblywoman Fiona Ma declare October 9th UNITED AIRLINES Day in San Francisco. We had front row seats for the proclamation ceremony too!

We wish to extend special appreciation to our friends at UNITED:

Maureen McLellan

Melinda Yee Franklin

Nicole Lee-Kline

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Living the American Dream: Juan's Story

How 3 Letters Led to Success

JUAN VAZZQUEZ earned his GED at JobTrain and his world of employment opportunities opened.

Without a high school diploma, Vazzquez faced years of rejection and limited prospects. He wanted to change his life and advance his education. Discovering JobTrain was a blessing and an opportunity to start a new life!

Vazzquez studied vigorously with Karen Lundberg, JobTrain’s GED instructor. After spending (6) hours in the classroom, he’d study an additional (4) hours at home. This time around, Vazzquez had a clear goal in mind and would allow nothing to stand in his way, impede his progress or obstruct his vision for achieving the American Dream.

Long weeks of dedication, sacrifice and focus became Vazzquez’s way of life. “I’ve never seen such perseverance with someone trying to earn their GED. I am very impressed and proud of him,” Karen said.

Now, Vazzquez has the promising future he’s long dreamt of. He was just hired as a cook at ALTA BATES SUMMIT MEDICAL CENTER and will earn $27.00 per hour. “I could not have done this without JobTrain and all of Karen’s support,” Juan humbly conveyed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

JobTrain Alumna Brittany Philpart Becomes Health Educator


Brittany Philpart, graduated from the Medical Office Assistant program at JobTrain in 2008.

After becoming a JobTrain graduate, Brittany was inspired to advance her education and began matriculating at Foothill College in Los Altos, Ca.

While pursuing her coursework, Brittany was hired at CVS and worked as a typist for their pharmacy department until August 2011.

TODAY, October 4, 2011, Brittany returned to JobTrain to share some amazing news. She was just hired to work as a Student Health Educator. Brittany is on an upward trajectory towards accomplishing her goals and becoming a Licensed Vocational Nurse.

Brittany will graduate with an Associate of Science degree in Education from Foothill College in 2012.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Alumnus Profile of Success: Randale Conner

Why JobTrain Matters to Me: Randale's Story

Before discovering JobTrain, RANDALE CONNER lived a regretful existence involving drugs, criminal behavior and even incarceration. However, when Randale came to JobTrain his life was completely TRANSFORMED!

Randale pursued a course of study in construction and graduated with high marks from JobTrain’s Project Build program in June 2010. In addition to the quality and free vocational training he received, Randale accredits JobTrain for giving his life both purpose and meaning and for “equipping him with the tools for creating a successful life.”

Now, Randale Conner is an apprentice laborer at MOUNTAIN CASCADE and is extensively involved in the Hetch Hetchy Project. This massive undertaking involves upgrading and purifying the drinking water in Northern California by spring 2012.

To learn more about Randale's story, please click HERE to watch the YouTube video. And if you're interested in becoming part of the JobTrain family, wish to schedule a personal tour or subscribe to our newsletter, please contact Kail Lubarsky, Director of Marketing & PR at