I am proud of our team’s results for the year ending June 30, not least because of the challenges they had to overcome along the way. We returned to the office, then we left, then we returned again. We stretched to provide rental assistance during an extremely challenging period for the folks we serve. We even survived a Zoom-bomb during the Imagine Gala.
Many of us faced personal challenges, too: the deaths of beloved family members, quarantines and bouts of COVID, reduced availability of childcare and afterschool programs.
In the face of these challenges, our team of staff and volunteers persisted and filled in for each other. The results they achieved do not betray any hint of the adversity they faced.
In FY2021-22 (July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022), our team made 97 initial post-program placements of motivated, low-income job seekers into positions averaging $20 per hour (exactly) working an average of 35 hours per week. That compares to 68 initial placements averaging $19.22 the year before.
This increased number of placements reflects, in large part, our launch of Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) training in our Antioch office. To expand CNA training from Concord to Antioch, our VP of Programs had to navigate both the California Department of Public Health and the Bureau of Private Postsecondary Education, as well as managing the logistics of the actual program launch. She succeeded. Her team enrolled and trained a full three cohorts during the year.
We made huge strides in serving alumni this year, too. Graduates of our CNA training are now encouraged to work with a career advancement coach to plan and execute the next steps in their careers. Like the alumni of our Administrative Careers Training (ACT) program, who have their own alumni program manager, they are supported in continuing their professional growth.
The CNA program’s two-year pilot of alumni services (the Career Advancement Project) is fully funded by a grant from JPMorgan Chase. That is unusual for us. Every other program relies on braided funding from government and foundation sources, as well as on donations and event income.
That event income, from our annual Imagine Gala, raises flexible funding that can be used where we need it most. So it was with trepidation that we decided to run the event online over Zoom for a third year. To make the most of it, we promoted the gala heavily online through our social media. Unfortunately, some un-invited individuals “Zoom-bombed” the event. Our real guests, though, followed us to a new Zoom link and were treated to an inspiring program featuring Cocktails with Carol, emcee Renee Reid, the success story of Linh Luangrath, and my sponsor tribute song. Our supporters helped us reach our fundraising goal for the evening, ultimately supporting our programs.
It was a year of making the best of difficult situations. Thank you for being by our side during this strange, unpredictable, and ever-changing pandemic period, as we continue to help motivated Contra Costa County job seekers overcome challenges to launch careers that make their families and our community stronger.
Alissa Friedman, President and CEO