East Contra Costa Nonprofit Expands Job Training Opportunities for Low-income Job Seekers

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Antioch, CA – Since its founding in 2000, East Contra Costa nonprofit Opportunity Junction has helped low-income Contra Costa residents gain the skills and confidence to get and keep jobs that support themselves and their families, today acting as a hub offering a range of services for local job seekers.

The need for employment services is great: in Contra Costa County, 61% of single mothers and 26% of families earn less than the California Self-Sufficiency Standard for measuring poverty and sustainable income. Many people are in a cycle of poverty, without educational and social support systems that enable them to access stable, well-paying jobs.

Opportunity Junction is pleased to highlight two upcoming job training opportunities aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty:

Job Training and Placement Program for Administrative Careers: In operation since 2000, the Job Training and Placement Program provides 12 weeks of Administrative Assistant training, followed by a four-month paid internship and job placement assistance at no cost. Trainees gain computer, office, and like skills essential for success in the workplace (Microsoft Office Specialist Certifications included). Onsite support includes a professional wardrobe, vision care, lunch daily, and groceries on Fridays, as well as coaching and counseling. 90% of graduates get a job within 6 months of completing the program.

The next session starts on Monday, February 4, 2019 and Opportunity Junction will begin accepting applications in January. There are weekly information sessions about all of the programs for job seekers Tuesdays at 10 am at Opportunity Junction’s Antioch office.

New Healthcare Career Pathways Training: An aging population brings with it a greater need for healthcare services. With an increasing number of healthcare jobs and healthcare acting as a significant driver of the County’s economy, there is an opportunity for low-income individuals to enter the field earning a higher wage and accessing a pathway to greater economic success and stability. This starts with a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Training Program as a first step in creating a healthcare careers pipeline.

John Muir Community Health Fund approved a grant for Opportunity Junction and Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa & Solano, in partnership with Mount Diablo Adult Education, to launch the Health Career Pathway initiative to create a regional response to significant allied health professional staffing and quality improvement needs for those delivering care (to uninsured, underinsured, underserved and vulnerable Contra Costa residents most at-risk for poor health), while providing a pathway towards economic sufficiency for low-income individuals.

This program is the first of its kind creating a new model of delivery for CNA training incorporating wrap around services including one-on-one case management, food and transportation support, job placement assistance, and professional skills. Employers engaged in the development process will be part of the actual training, ensuring that the students receive the most relevant and patient-centered education. Most importantly, the support in this program doesn’t end with the first job. Students will be supported and encouraged in continuing education opportunities as they launch their healthcare careers.

CNAs provide basic patient care under the direction of nursing staff, performing duties such as feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, and moving patients. Median hourly wages are nearly $16/hour and demand for CNAs means jobs are consistently available. Within the healthcare field, CNA certification is a relatively low barrier to entry with candidates completing a course in as little as 160 hours, passing a written and oral test, and accomplishing a skills evaluation. Additionally, CNAs exposed to the healthcare field and with the right kind of social and professional supports can successfully make the leap towards a higher paying job such as a Licensed Vocational Nurse, Medical Assistant, Registered Nurse, or health care administrator.

The first cohort of the CNA Training Program is slated to start in Spring 2019 at Mt. Diablo Adult Education in Concord, providing training as well as extensive social support services and ongoing support for life and career advancement for careers in medical assistance, nursing, and other higher-paying medical professions.

For information about the CNA Training Program, contact Carmela at (925) 776-1133.

About Opportunity Junction

Driven by the fundamental belief that everyone who is willing to work hard deserves an opportunity to succeed, Opportunity Junction’s mission is, “to fight poverty by helping low-income Contra Costa residents gain the skills and confidence to get and keep jobs that support themselves and their families.”

Incorporated in 1999, Opportunity Junction has grown from a start-up nonprofit running a single job training and placement program into a regional hub with six programs, all offered at no charge to participants. Last year, Opportunity Junction served 1,124 East Contra Costa residents and helped 140 of them enter employment or earn raises, while providing computer training to hundreds more.


2 COMMENTS

  1. We really need programs like this that will teach a trade such as Plumbing, carpentry, electrical ect.

    • Future Build is accepting applications for training in solar, Hazardwoper 40, Refinery Safety and the construction trades. Free training for low income East Contra Costa County residents, 18 years and older, Cohort 15 runs January 14-Nay 1, 2019.

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