Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A New Way of Life, A New Beginning by Nora Sobolov, Executive Director

As a former investment fund manager, I know that metrics are important.  When choosing where to work next, I looked for an organization that could demonstrate real impact in past years and a great foundation for future growth.  JobTrain offered that option for me.  It is an organization that for nearly 50 years has thrived by constantly adapting to a changing marketplace while at the same time making sure it kept its impact for individuals and the community. 

JobTrain helps people secure a new way of life and a new beginning through vocational training, employment services and job placement.  It offers full-time programs at little or no cost to students.  Also offered are GED, computer literacy, an interview outfit, job readiness training, child care and access to other counseling and supportive services that have been proven to ensure success in getting and keeping a job.  Through partnerships with area employers, JobTrain makes sure its students gain work experience with field placements and paid internships and then, after graduation, helps them find jobs.

Maria, one of our graduates, is a great example of our impact.  Here is her story: “A year ago I was sent to the San Mateo County Women’s Correctional Center to serve a two year sentence.  I was in court when the bailiff tapped me on my shoulder – all I could think of was my children and my husband.  I could not bear to think of not being there for them.  That night in jail was the longest night of my life and I cried myself to sleep.

While in jail, I met with a corrections officer who offered me a place in a program called the “Women’s Transitional Facility,” also known as Honor’s Camp.  Through this program I was approved to attend classes at JobTrain.  This was my chance to make it right.  JobTrain was that chance.

As a student in JobTrain’s Culinary Arts program, I learned how to prepare food with pride and passion.  I was hired at a brand new restaurant in Menlo Park called The Refuge and I love it!  I wouldn’t have been able to land that job if it weren’t for JobTrain. From the first time I walked through JobTrain’s doors, I looked forward to coming to school, being greeted by people with a smile.  Suddenly, I was full of hope. 

After work, I went back to the San Mateo County Women’s Correctional Center to serve out my time.  On Mondays I volunteer at JobTrain.  JobTrain is a way of life, a new beginning, a family.  I am truly thankful to have so many different families, who have supported me through the toughest time in my life.”

JobTrain’s track record speaks volumes.  Last year more than 8,000 people benefited from a JobTrain program and hundreds took vocational training. Our graduates get and keep jobs – one year after placement, 88% of those hired are still employed and many have been promoted.  Our vocational training graduates earned nearly $10 million in wages last year alone.  You can’t beat JobTrain’s return on investment.

We are all interested in both past performance and future promise. Donations during JobTrain’s Holiday Campaign will help ensure 400 student scholarships for our vocational training programs and employment services for several thousand members of our community.  We invite you to join us in this important campaign.  Every donation will be matched from community leaders and JobTrain’s Board of Directors.  To make your secure online donation, please click HERE.

Please stay tuned as we continue our journey.  We’ve already started down the path looking at how best and most strategically to increase our economic impact for our students and graduates.  We hope you will join JobTrain as it shapes its future. 

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