Here’s food for thought . . . San Jose Works – By building resumes rather than rap sheets.
Under the creative leadership of Mayor Sam Liccardo and his Council colleagues, the innovative program known as “San Jose Works” has just completed its first summer with measurable success.
How encouraging to see results rather than rhetoric:
In all, 247 young people – all from at-risk neighborhoods in which crime and gangs are prevalent – participated in San Jose Works this summer.
- Ninety-five percent of the kids who began the program completed the program.
- Jobs included public sector posts like libraries and community centers.
- San Jose Works also provided private sector jobs in retail and back office administrative work, as supportive employers like Lowe’s and Target stepped forward.
So why has the San Jose Works program succeeded where similar programs often fail? Follow-up.
With San Jose Works, at-risk teens aren’t just provided with a job, they are provided with job skills, coaching, mentoring and supportive services:
- Through a Citibank grant, the teens were provided with financial literacy courses.
- Coaches helped teens prep for their jobs, guided them through the entire summer, and checked in with employers to make sure each kid was meeting expectations.
- Through non-profits and faith-based groups, services like tattoo removal and counseling were provided for kids who needed a leg-up, rather than to be left-out.
Yes, “San Jose Works” because San Jose leaders – from Mayor Liccardo and the Council on down – cared enough to design a program that offered more than a job. They provided a path to success which will last much longer than a summer’s worth of employment.