Year in Review 2020-2021

Dear OJ Supporters and Partners,

Each year, when the end of June brings our fiscal year to a close, I take the opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months. The hardest part, always, is keeping it brief.

For all of us, these past 12 months have been extraordinary. I am filled with admiration and gratitude for:

  • Job seekers who carved out spaces in their homes, sometimes with children in and out during remote schooling, to train for new careers;
  • Certified Nursing Assistant graduates entering positions in skilled nursing facilities despite knowing the risks of contracting COVID-19 were higher there;
  • Donors who increased their support to help their neighbors get the training needed to return to work; and
  • Staff members who used new tools to relate to their job seekers and who persisted through collective and vicarious trauma.

Thank you for your part in this as an employer, donor, volunteer, participant, alum, or community partner.

This year, we adopted a new mission statement, one that more fully reflects the assets and aspirations of the job seekers we serve: "To help motivated Contra Costa job seekers develop the skills and confidence to launch careers that lead to financial security."

The outcomes, meanwhile, remained impressive, given that so many members of our community could not participate in our programs or start new jobs because of childcare and health concerns:

We are also delighted to introduce you to our new staff members this year, including three alumni of our Administrative Careers Training (ACT) program. Maro'jene Alexander, our former career center coordinator, re-joined us as a career counselor on the Antioch Career Counseling and Placement Assistance (CCPA) team, while Alana Chisholm, our senior session leader on the Do-It-Yourself Tax Assistance team, joined us as the ACT Computer Skills Instructor. New to staff was ACT alumna Nadya Poveda, who took over as the Technology Center Coordinator.

  • We helped 66 local job seekers enter initial post-program employment at an average starting wage of $19.25 per hour working an average of 36 hours per week.
  • Most of those were graduates of our Administrative Careers Training program, which pivoted to online program delivery and ran a full schedule of classes
  • Graduates of our Certified Nursing Assistant program were also hired quickly after licensing, and we laid the groundwork (licensing, hiring, classroom conversion) to begin offering a twin version of the program in our Antioch office. (The class started July 19th!)
  • Despite all the challenges (including broadband and computer access), we served more than 500 unique local residents across all programs.

Our donors and sponsors were especially generous in support of this work throughout the year, including at the virtual 2021 Imagine Gala. Check out Frank's Story, Cocktails with Carol, my sponsor Thank You song, or the whole event with emcee Renee Reid!

Meanwhile, our foundation supporters remained the cornerstone of our funding mix, and we were grateful for the new and renewed support we list in each of our newsletters.

Another important step during the year was developing and working toward fulfilling our Racial Justice Commitments, spanning program management, internal operations, and our role in the community.

We're also pleased to have welcomed to the Board of Directors new members Donna Rucker (of Kaiser Permanente), Raushanah Davis (of PwC), Young Kim (of LinkedIn), and Karolyn Wilhelmsen (of CSAA).

With great appreciation to all of you,

Alissa Friedman, President and CEO