Category: Workforce

Pathways to high-quality jobs for young adults

Martha Ross, Kristin Anderson Moore, Kelly Murphy, Nicole Bateman, Alex DeMand, and Vanessa Sacks

Helping young people prepare to engage in work and life as productive adults is a central challenge for any society. Yet, many young people in the United States—particularly those from low-income or less educated families—find that the path to employment and economic security in adulthood is poorly marked or inaccessible.

Using an advanced methodology and longitudinal data, this report examines two main questions:

  • The quality of jobs (as measured by wages, benefits, hours, and job satisfaction) held by 29-year-olds who experienced disadvantage in adolescence
  • Whether particular employment, education, and training experiences in adolescence and early adulthood predict higher-quality jobs for 29-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds

We found that while most 29-year-olds are employed, background matters. Among those who were disadvantaged as adolescents, 79 percent are employed at age 29, and among those workers, 38 percent have high-quality jobs as measured by our job quality index. Their counterparts—29-year-olds from non-disadvantaged backgrounds—fare better: 90 percent are employed, and 48 percent of those have high-quality jobs.

29-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to have high-quality jobs

Job quality among those from disadvantaged backgrounds varies by race and ethnicity: 21 percent of blacks have lower-quality jobs compared to 13 percent of whites and Hispanics. However, after controlling for education, training, work experience, and other characteristics, the gap in job quality scores between blacks and whites disappears, further emphasizing the value of equipping all young people for success in the labor market.

Authors

Turning to our second question, we identified the following factors as associated with higher quality jobs among 29-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds: 

Post-secondary education. Consistent with other research, this analysis finds that college degrees (associate, bachelor’s and graduate) are the strongest predictor of a high-quality job among young adults who were disadvantaged as adolescents, highlighting education’s potential as an equalizing force.

Internships, apprenticeships, cooperative education, and mentoring in high school. These work-based learning (WBL) experiences incorporate positive relationships with adults as supervisors and mentors. It is notable that they affect job quality a decade later, given that the effects of training programs sometimes fade over time.

Earlier experiences in the labor market.Having a job as a teenager (ages 16 to 18) predicts higher job quality in adulthood, as do higher wages at age 23. Given that the analysis controls for education, work experience, and other characteristics, the wage finding suggests that regardless of a young person’s education or work history, early good jobs (as measured by wages) lead to later good jobs.

Based on these findings, this report showcases key investments and education and training reforms that would provide more young people with a full range of opportunities as they develop and grow, and better prepare them to tackle the problems and jobs of the future.

Expand work-based learning within high school. Well-designed work-based learning (WBL) experiences enable adults to provide students with developmentally appropriate and incremental guidance that helps them develop the skills that employers seek in new hires. Moreover, it can link students to employers and contacts they would likely never reach on their own, especially if they and their families have limited social and professional networks

Increase completion rates of post-secondary degrees, with an explicit focus on quality and equity. The road to completion must run through quality teaching and curricula, since completion goals otherwise can be gamed by diluting curricula or screening out less-prepared students.

Improve on-ramps to employment for teens and young adults, particularly for those without post-secondary credentials. These on-ramps to employment can take many forms. In addition to the work-based learning programs in high school referenced above, nonprofits and community-based groups can offer them as well, and such organizations may be especially appropriate for older youth who are past high-school age and unsure about college. Programs for these young adults not in high school or college typically offer work readiness and technical skills development, often in combination with academics, mentoring, supportive services, and paid internships or stipends. Well-designed programs align training with local employer needs and look for employment opportunities with potential for advancement.

Promote further research and action on the role of positive relationships in employment and training programs for youth and young adults. Assess the feasibility and value of embedding supportive relationships between young people and caring adults as core principles in education and workforce programs. While it is not new or controversial to say that positive relationships are critical to human development, fostering and supporting such relationships is not always reflected in program design, funding, and implementation.

Download the full report.

One Million Workers: Looking into the future of California’s skilled workforce

NOVEMBER 01, 2018 BY ED COGHLAN


(Photo Credit: Energize Colleges)

The California Economic Summit’s challenge to train one million more skilled workers is a reflection that the Golden State’s workforce needs to be better prepared for the jobs in our fast changing 21st-century economy.

During the past year, Summit team members traveled the state with Van Ton-Quinlivan, executive vice chancellor for Workforce and Digital Futures, California Community Colleges, to discuss the future of workwith employers, leaders and educators in nearly two dozen different areas of California.

“Having completed 22 Future of Work MeetUps in cities of all types across California – urban, rural, suburban and affluent to struggling – I can attest to a common angst as communities anticipate how artificial intelligence and increased automation will impact the workplace,” said Ton-Quinlivan. “Employers and workers both want a playbook to future-proof and increase economic resiliency.”

Workers face several barriers, among them financial challenges and fitting college studies in between work and life responsibilities. These workers are “stranded” by technology and can’t access the current community college system because they either don’t have time to commute to school because of family and work obligations or simply because they live too far away. There are over eight million stranded workers in California, with 2.5 million of those under the age of 35.

Governor Brown signed legislation creating a California online community college to create a more flexible approach to competency-based education that can help many of them realize the California Dream.

“The online college is designed to let students go as fast as they want, with flexible start times to earn an industry valued credential, ” said Van Ton-Quinlivan.

Employers in the state not only have an immediate need to fill the skilled workers pipeline, but a fast-changing economy where employees must be reskilled often to keep pace with technological and competitive advances.

The Community Colleges are consolidating and expanding their work with California employers in ten different economic sectors to make sure that the system is nimbler in developing and offering Career Technical Education courses that can help meet that demand.

For the 2018 California Economic Summit attendees, who will gather in Santa Rosa on November 15-16, will have developing a skilled workforce prominent on its agenda.

Having more skilled workers not only meets the demands of employers but also creates more middle-income jobs, which can help more working-class Californians expand the state’s shrinking middle class.

The Summit is also exploring workforce innovations in the gig economy, which is attracting tens of thousands of workers to flexible but irregular employment. This rapidly growing sector is employing more and more people with upwards of 30 percent of the workforce already engaged in the gig economy. Businesses save resources in terms of benefits, office space and training. But what about the employee? What does their future look like? The Summit will dig into that issue.

To help students and workers advance careers or stay ahead of workplace automation, the Summit will also examine financial support and other ways to help students’ complete programs sooner at lower personal costs and make it easier to tap into training dollars. The Summit plans to discuss how current workforce and education investments, including financial aid policies, needs to be significantly re-imagined, elevating lifelong as a key tool to ensure our workforce and state can compete with the evolution of technology.

Finally, one of the winners from this year’s second annual Partnerships for Industry and Education (PIE) Contest – a competition to honor employer-education partnerships across the state – will lead a discussion on ways the Summit network can grow, strengthen and institutionalize successful partnerships. Public-private partnerships are another pivotal way for California to ensure a competitive workforce.

The California Economic Summit has emerged as the only statewide venue with a comprehensive agenda for taking on the challenges of our time: reducing income inequality, increasing economic security and community resiliency in a time of climate change, bolstering wealth generation, and restoring upward mobility.

http://caeconomy.org/reporting/entry/one-million-workers-looking-into-the-future-of-californias-skilled-workforc

 

Kern proposes $3 million hiring incentive for Amazon

Amazon would receive $3 million in local tax rebates in exchange for employing 1,000 Kern County residents at the 2.6 million-square-foot distribution center the retail giant is building next to Meadows Field Airport, according to a proposal released Thursday.

The incentives package, scheduled for a vote Tuesday by the county Board of Supervisors, would give annual refunds to one of the world’s most valuable companies in an amount equal to half its combined property, sales and use tax bills — an estimated $575,000 per year before the rebate — for an estimated 11 years.

In exchange, Amazon would be required to create 1,000 new jobs for Kern County residents with an average annual wage of $31,000 per job. At least 900 of those positions would have to be filled by October 2021.

The offer would expire in 30 years if the rebates have not been used by that time. The county could rescind the package at any time if Amazon does not meet and keep up its job-creation obligations under the agreement.

“The strength in the incentive being proposed is the time-bound nature of the job creation, coupled with the requirement that these are NEW jobs for Kern County residents,” county spokeswoman Megan Person said by email. “We have the ability to ensure our residents get these jobs, get paid a sustainable wage and they do it by a specific date.”

The incentive, if approved, would be the second time the county has used the Advance Kern Incentive Program the board created in 2017. The first, approved by the board in August, offered L’Oreal USA $2.3 million in tax rebates in exchange for the company’s pledge to create 155 new jobs at the distribution center it plans to open at the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center south of Bakersfield. No other Advance Kern incentives are currently under negotiation, Person wrote.

County officials confirmed in September Amazon’s plan to open a “fulfillment” center just north of Bakersfield at the 138-acre Landings Logistics Center LLC just north of Merle Haggard Drive. Industry observers have said the center might ultimately employ up to 2,000 people.

Amazon has not publicly confirmed its plan to open a distribution center in Kern. A company representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the incentives package.

John Cox can be reached at 661-395-7404. Follow him on Twitter: @TheThirdGraf.

Central Valley companies get more than

Central Valley Business Times

$2.6 Million to train workers

  • Employment Training Panel awards more than $13 million statewide
  • Will see about 9,000 workers trained California’s Employment Training Panel has approved 41 contracts worth more than $13 million to train nearly 9,000 workers.

The largest grant — nearly $895,000 — goes to Applied Materials Inc. in Santa Clara to train 710 workers in the manufacturing of semiconductor chips for electronics and other technologies. Applied Materials uses nano-manufacturing equipment, machines and tools to make input products for semiconductor wafers and chips, flat panel displays, high-density batteries, solar photovoltaic cells and modules, and other electronics.

“We are proud to support innovative businesses by helping them meet their needs for skilled workers,” says Employment Training Panel Executive Director Stewart Knox. “The funds approved address job creation and retention while increasing opportunities for workers through the development of job skills and training.”

Among the training aimed at companies in the Central Valley are these grants that total more than $2.6 million:

  • $187,200 to El Clasificado, a Norwalk-based Hispanic multimedia publication and advertising company, to train 18 workers in Kern, Fresno, and San Bernardino counties in business and computer skills. This will be El Clasificado’s seventh ETP agreement, the third within the last five years. In its first few projects, the company was funded as a small business starting with 30 employees. By its fifth ETP project in in 2013, it had reached more than 100 full-time employees with four new locations..

In this new proposal, El Clasificado says it will expand its training plan to more trainees. To remain competitive, El Clasificado says it must expand product offerings for social media services and video advertising. The company is now  building digital core competencies internally across all platforms which will be the focus of this training.

  • $199,576 to California Natural Products in Lathrop to train about 1216 workers in computer and hazardous materials skills, along with management and manufacturing skills. The company makes nutritional, natural and organic food ingredients, and patented the natural processes for rice syrup, rice syrup solids and rice milk.

The training is to ensure that the staff is up-to-date with all “lean goals. Supervisor training will include how to become a better communicator, excelling as a supervisor and management skills for first time supervisors.

  • $109,746 to College of the Sequoias in Visalia to train about 234 workers in business, computer, literacy, management and other skills. In this proposal, COS says it will collaborate with manufacturing companies including electric car maker Faraday Future and food products maker Nestle. These companies are experiencing significant growth and seek retraining to enhance employee skills.
  • $173,940 to Rancho Cordova-based Express Sewer & Drain Inc. to offer training to about 120 frontline supervisors, pipefitters, plumbers, laborers, administration staff and the company owner in managing larger projects and customer service. Topics include customer service, client services and communication among others.
  • $525,824 to the Gallo Cattle Company in Atwater to train about 316 workers. In this agreement, Gallo Cattle will focus on advanced training in computer software, comprehension and business development to allow trainees to increase their current skills while also being cross-trained in additional topics such as Six Sigma, Navision, JET Reporting and introduction to electrical.
  • $226,200 to Ready Roast Nut Company LLC of Madera to train about 250 workers to better meet customer demand. To do this, employees must be trained on enhanced production techniques and newly purchased high-speed equipment such as the mixer drum and drag tube conveyors. Ready Roast will also cross train production staff to support growth and upgrade skills of its current and future employees. Training will focus on upgrading trainees manufacturing skills, business skills and customer service for all trainees.
  • $195,247 to the San Joaquin County Economic Development Association of Stockton so it can offer customized training for individual employers at the employers’ facilities. This includes customer service, communication skills, and project management. Training is intended to provide the skills to effectively and efficiently maintain business operations.
  • $805,376 to the Wine Group Inc. of Tracy, one of the world’s largest wine producers. The company plans to train 484 workers in Alameda, Fresno, Kern, Madera, Monterey, San Joaquin and Tulare counties in computer and business skills along with continuous improvement in all occupations.
  • $198,978 to Vellutini Corporation dba Royal Electric Company of Sacramento to train more than 230 workers in business, computer, hazardous materials and other skills. Royal Electric says it has seen an increase in demand for its services, which has led to significant growth in recent years and thus it must upgrade staff skills to meet demand.
  • $73,632 to J.R. Putman Inc. of Rancho Cordova, which installs and repairs of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning HVAC); plumbing; and solar and insulation equipment, to train 82 workers in computer, business, management and other skills.

The Employment Training Panel reimburses employers for the costs of training existing workers, funds training for unemployed workers to re-enter the workforce and helps ensure California businesses have the skilled workers they need to remain competitive.

http://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/fe5aaf6a-6bac-4c82-8312-ea7f04d49b2a.pdf

New school for barbers and cosmetologists opens in Clovis

 

By Jason Oliveira

Monday, October 15, 2018 06:24PM

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) — For those looking to break into the cosmetology or barbering field Clovis’ Institute of Technology now offers a career training program.

Officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday to help kick off the Academy of Hair Design.

“Right now I have nine barbers enrolled and four cosmetologists, there’ s definitely a high demand for barbering,” said Program Director, Ramanda Ramirez.

Officials say the resurgence in men’s grooming was enough to launch the program.

In fact, the employment of barbers is projected to grow 13% over the next eight years, that’s faster than the average for all occupations.

Joseph Guzman of Corcoran decided to sign up for the new program after seeing an online ad.

He’s now part of the Institute’s first wave of students learning cutting-edge hair styling techniques.

And it’s not just all about the locks, these students are taught skills that can help them market themselves on social media.

Officials say the 10-month course not only promises real work training and experience but the business skills needed to succeed after graduation.

The idea to enroll in the school’s new venture into cosmetology and barbering is what drew Alyssa Parish of Mendota to the program.

“It’s really nice, we get a lot of new things and everything is brand new and it’s high tech,” said Alyssa Parish.

Once again the course goes 10-months and costs just under $20,000.

Students can begin cutting hair for $5 beginning in December.

https://abc30.com/careers/new-school-for-barbers-and-cosmetologists-opens-in-clovis/4491811/

Gap hiring in October for seasonal warehouse jobs

September 18, 2018 12:21 PM

Updated September 18, 2018 12:22 PM

You can get a job at Caltrans in two days. It still has 1,100 openings.

 

 

By Adam Ashton

September 12, 2018 05:15 AM

 

Forget the stereotypes of California state government’s painfully slow process for hiring new workers.

This summer, it was possible to walk into a Caltrans hiring fair and leave with a job offer.

Motivated by a wave of retirements and an urgency to fill new positions created by the state’s gas tax increase, Caltrans devised a bureaucracy-defying human resources program that let it bring on hundreds of new employees at a time during hiring events. Almost 600 people have joined the department through those two-day job fairs.

“It was a very quick turnaround,” said Andy Chou, 29, a new Caltrans structural engineer who went to a hiring fair at Sacramento State in May had a job offer within days. He started work last month. “I was definitely surprised by” the speed of the department’s hiring.

There’s more good news if you know someone looking for a job – Caltrans still has another 1,100 vacancies.

The rush to hire comes mainly from Senate Bill 1, the 10-year gas tax and vehicle fee increases the Legislature adopted in 2017 to fund a decade’s worth of transportation projects.

Voters in November will see a bid to repeal the tax on the ballot which would jeopardize funding. So far, unions, contractors and local governments working to defend SB 1 have raised more than $26 million to defeat the repeal. Groups that want to repeal the tax have raised about $2.5 million.

Caltrans is moving forward as if the repeal initiative would fail, and is filling jobs at a fast clip. The state budget Gov. Jerry Brown signed in June sets Caltrans on track to add 1,150 new positions over the next 11 months, up from 19,109 last year.

“We are making a dent,” said Michelle Tucker, the department’s human resources director. “I’m really pleased with the innovative hiring techniques we’ve done this summer.”

California’s web site for applying for state jobs – jobs.ca.gov – has been redesigned to guide applicants through the hiring process.

It’s racing to add staff in a hot economy in which other engineering firms and local governments also are bulking up.

“They need design staff to deliver state highway projects,” said Ted Toppin, executive director of Professional Engineers in California Government. “That’s what Californians expect. Right now they’re competing with other state and local departments and the private sector for engineers, so the need to on-board them is real or they’re going to lose them.”

Caltrans had a long-approaching retirement wave, especially among its engineering ranks. In 2016, the average age of the state’s civil engineers was 51, and 52 among electrical engineers.

Meanwhile, the Brown administration shrank the headcount at Caltrans over much of the past decade. The department had 10,143 employees in the division that plans road projects in 2013. That number shrank to about 7,000 two years ago. It’s expected to grow again to 8,700 by next year.

“The department did not hire engineers and related staff for over 10 years,” Toppin said. “From 2007 to 2017 they sort of shed 3,500 positions,” he said. “Year after year, it was no replacement of folks who retired, so they’re an older workforce.”

PECG’s three-year contract that expired in July also did not give engineers a reason to stay. Brown did not commit to a raise this year when his administration negotiated the contract with the union in 2015.

Between July 2017 and July 2018, 922 Caltrans employees retired.

PECG’s new contract includes some incentives that would keep longtime engineers in the workforce developing projects funded by the gas tax increase, including an immediate 4.5 percent raise and an escalating seniority differential that rises to an extra 5.5 percent for engineers with 23 years of experience at Caltrans by 2021.

Caltrans crafted four rapid-hiring events it held this year with the state human resources department. They allowed people to apply for jobs in person, be interviewed by panels of managers, have their qualifications reviewed and references checked within two days. If they passed, they’d walk out with a conditional job offer.

“We’re able to do hundreds of interviews in a day,” Tucker said.

Usually, landing a state job takes much longer. The only other state departments that regularly use rapid-hiring events are the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Prison Industry Authority, Cal HR spokesman Andrew LaMar said.

Jeff Wiley, Caltrans’ assistant division chief for project management, said the department has been attracting engineers with a range of experience, from new graduates to veterans from other states.

The department and PECG negotiated a compromise to get more experienced engineers working on projects as soon as possible. The agreement lets Caltrans slightly increase the amount of work it sends to private contractors, although the department has not yet exceeded its traditional outsourcing cap.

“We’ve got some plans out for making those goals,” Wiley said.

Toppin said the agreement was reasonable considering the department’s “sudden increase in revenue” and shortage of experienced engineering staff.

 

Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/the-state-worker/article218170925.html#storylink=cpy

Stronger job market seen for California, Central Valley to Lead

Central Valley Business Times

Sept. 11, 2018

•  Central Valley’s major markets expected to see some job growth

•  Stockton, Sacramento to outpace national growth rate

California employers expect to hire at a solid pace during the fourth quarter, according to surveys by the staffing firm ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN).

Among the state’s employers surveyed, 25 percent plan to hire more workers from October through December. This number is offset by the 4 percent that plan to reduce payrolls, while 70 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels and 1 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans. This yields a net employment outlook of 21 percent.

“Employers in the California anticipate a stronger hiring pace compared to Q3 2018 when the net employment outlook was 18 percent,” says ManpowerGroup spokesman Frank Armendariz. “At this time last year, employers expected remain stable hiring activity when the outlook was 20 percent.”

Manpower’s net employment outlook is derived by taking the percentage of employers anticipating an increase in hiring activity and subtracting from this the percentage of employers expecting a decrease in hiring activity.

Here are Manpower’s outlooks for the Central Valley’s four largest markets, from south to north:

•  Bakersfield Bakersfield employers expect to hire at a “respectable” pace during Q4, says ManpowerGroup.

Among employers surveyed, 21 percent plan to hire more employees from October through December. This number is

offset by the 5 percent that plan to reduce payrolls, while 72 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels and 2 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans. This yields a net employment outlook of 16 percent.

“Employers in the Bakersfield MSA anticipate a stonger hiring pace compared to Q3 2018 when the net employment outlook was 13 percent,” says Mr. Armendariz. “At this time last year, employers expected less hiring activity when the outlook was 20 percent.”

•  Fresno Fresno area employers expect to hire at a positive pace during the Fourth Quarter, says Manpower.

Among employers surveyed, 17 percent plan to hire more employees from October through December. This number is offset by the 3 percent that plan to reduce payrolls, while 80 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels and 0 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans. This

yields a net Employment Outlook of 14 percent.

“Employers in the Fresno MSA anticipate a steady hiring pace compared to Q3 2018 when the net employment outlook was 15 percent,” says Mr. Armendariz. “At this time last year, employers expected similar hiring activity when the outlook was 15 percent.”

•  Stockton Stockton-Lodi MSA employers expect to hire at an active pace during Quarter 4 2018, according to ManpowerGroup.

Among employers surveyed, 26 percent plan to hire more employees from October through December. This number is offset by the 2 percent that plan to reduce payrolls, while 71 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels and 1 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans. This yields a net employment outlook of 24 percent.

“Employers in the Stockton-Lodi MSA anticipate a stronger

hiring pace compared to Q3 2018 when the net employment outlook was 19 percent,” says ManpowerGroup spokeswoman Danielle Switalski. “At this time last year, employers expected similar hiring activity when the Outlook was 26 percent.”

•  Sacramento Employers in the metropolitan Sacramento area expect to hire at a solid pace during Quarter 4 2018, according to Manpower.

Among employers surveyed, 29 percent plan to hire more employees from October through December. This number is offset by the 6 percent that plan to reduce payrolls, while 64 percent of employers expect to maintain current staff levels and 1 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans. This yields a net employment outlook of 23 percent.

“Employers in the Sacramento MSA anticipate a steady hiring pace compared to Q3 2018 when the net employment outlook was 24 percent,” says Mr. Armendariz. “At this time last year, employers expected more hiring activity when the Outlook was

19 percent.”

Statewide, for the coming quarter, job prospects appear best in the following job categories: construction; durable goods manufacturing; nondurable goods manufacturing; transportation & utilities; wholesale & retail trade; information; financial activities; professional & business services; education & health services; leisure & hospitality; other services and government.

Of the more than 11,500 employers surveyed in the United States, 22 percent expect to add to their workforces and 5 percent expect a decline in their payrolls during Quarter 4 2018. Seventy- one percent of employers anticipate making no change to staff levels and the remaining 2 percent of employers are undecided about their hiring plans.

When seasonal variations are removed from the data, the net employment outlook is +19 percent which is relatively stable compared to the Quarter 3 2018 Outlook, +18 percent.

About the surveys The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey is conducted quarterly to measure employers’ intentions to increase or decrease the number of employees in their workforces during the next quarter. The United States results are based on interviews with 11,500+ employers located in the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which includes the largest 100 Metropolitan Statistical Areas based on the number of business establishments. The mix of industries within the survey follows the North American Industry Classification System Supersectors and is structured to be representative of the U.S. economy.

http://files.constantcontact.com/2cb20f61601/24b45bff-da33-42c3-8406-d3d2d7ee50ea.pdf

Ready to Work, ready to succeed

Roger Lawson

Aug. 22, 2018

A typical day for the 27-year-old Lawson begins with a breakfast of jail grub and continues with community-service volunteer work loading boxes or landscaping.

And after the work, it’s back to the Honor Farm, back to the jail grub, back to the nine other men in Lawson’s program, and back to the so-called mattress, with lights out at 10:30 p.m.

But you won’t hear Lawson complain because it’s the life he has chosen, at least for now.

“Once you get around people that actually want to help you,” Lawson said, “you actually want to start to better yourself, too.”

Lawson is one of the first 10 participants in the inaugural cohort of homeless men enrolled in a residential job-training program run by Ready To Work, a Stockton-based nonprofit that was awarded $1.4 million in grant funding three months ago by the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

Ready To Work’s aim is to set the men up with housing, job training and, ultimately, paying jobs — all aimed at giving participants a better opportunity to succeed once they leave the program after a maximum of 15 months.

“The people who are here want to be here and they’re focused,” said Jon Mendelson, Ready To Work’s executive director.

Mendelson has based his program — which may reach its 45-man capacity within a month — on one in New York that assists men who are leaving homeless shelters or the criminal justice system.

According to data from New York, nearly 80 percent of its participants are employed six months after they have exited and taxpayers save $3.60 for every dollar spent on the program.

Ready To Work is providing its participants training, food and sleeping quarters. After the initial adjustment to the program, the men are dispatched as supervised work groups in the community.

They are paid salaries, and with housing and food taken care of, the men have an opportunity to build a nest egg by the time they exit the program for their own apartments and a chance to build a new, independent life.

Lawson, who has a high school diploma and some college credits, moved from North Carolina to California several years ago, joining his mother in Stockton.

Strained family relations eventually pushed him out of his mother’s door and into the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless, where he lived while working for short stints at Walmart and for an alarm company.

While at the shelter, Lawson said he eventually met someone who knew of a job traveling with California Carnival Company setting up and tearing down the rides as various fairs moved from one city to another.

But the backbreaking work and 16-hour days were not what Lawson wanted for the rest of his life, so he returned once more to Stockton, staying at the shelter and at the Gospel Center Rescue Mission. When Lawson learned what Ready To Work was doing, he jumped at the opportunity.

“I need a steady source of income and transportation so I can get my own home,” he said. “I think this is a good stepping stone and opportunity for a lot of people to basically come up in the world.”

Leading visitors Wednesday around the yard, which includes a pingpong table and a basketball court, Mendelson pointed to 12-foot perimeter fencing covered with slats and topped by barbed wire, and he said there have yet to be any security breaches. Additionally, Ready To Work Program Director Deborah Johnson just happens to be the retired warden of the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, so she knows a thing or two about security. Johnson said collaboration between Ready To Work and the Sheriff’s Office led to the enhanced fencing and the barbed wire that tops it.

“We also worked on trying to ensure that the movement between their inmates and our clients out of that area is limited,” Johnson said. “So when (inmates are) moving to and from their dining facility … our clients are pretty much inside.”

 

Lawson said that in his mind, the precautions are unnecessary. His plans, he said, do not include attempting to interact with inmates. He has loftier visions.

“My own apartment, own place to stay, transportation, of course, maybe a nice car,” he said. “This is some foundation, some place that I can establish myself and be on my own feet without having to ask anybody for anything. It’s basically for independence and freedom, you know?”

http://www.recordnet.com/news/20180822/ready-to-work-ready-to-succeed

Fresno State named one of the 100 best schools in the country