In This Edition:
Maria Capote and family

Thanks to you: Maria has launched a dream career

"Through this amazing experience and working with the supportive and encouraging staff of OJ, I made it to the next step of my journey. Each staff member has helped guide and educate me along the way in order for me to reach my goals. There are not enough words to express how this organization has been a blessing to my life. I am grateful for taking that first step and taking a chance on this wonderful place that has become my second home." Click here to read Maria's story in her own words...

EDD report graph

Pilot project shows program's impact on earnings over years

The long-term impact our programs have on our participants' earnings over the years has been hard to measure... until now. Tipping Point Community chose Opportunity Junction to pilot a data draw from the Employment Development Department. Read more...

Chevron Volunteers

Thanks, Chevron volunteers!

We were honored to host Chevron employees for their annual Corporate Caring Volunteer Week. From conducting mock interviews for our participants to organizing the storage closet to taking photos of staff, Chevron volunteers really did it all! Click here to view the full story....

graduates

Congratulations to our job training graduates!

We celebrated the graduation of the 53rd class of our Job Training and Placement Program on Thursday night, September 21, at the El Campanil Theater. Pittsburg Mayor Merl Craft served as our special guest speaker, telling the graduates: "When you are lifted up, bring someone with you." Read more...

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Thanks to you: Maria has launched a dream career

Maria Capote and family "Thanks to Opportunity Junction, I am in a career I never imagined for myself."

Maria Capote is a Class 51 graduate of Opportunity Junction's Job Training and Placement Program. Maria is now working for Future State, a business management consulting firm in Oakland. Here is her story in her own words.

"I've always dreamed of having a career of my own, but there was just no time to fully explore the opportunities of getting back into the workforce because I was a full-time wife and mother. When my mother retired, she told me she would take care of my children if I wanted to go back to work. I took the chance and decided to apply for Opportunity Junction's Job Training and Placement Program.

I had very little experience with computer software and minimal exposure to the administrative field. I knew it would take an attitude of "all or nothing" to succeed.

Maria Capote I was nervous at first being in an unfamiliar place and meeting new people, but before I knew it, I had found new long-term friendships and Opportunity Junction became my second home. I also had a great learning experience in both technology and in my own personal development through the life skills classes. As I completed the intensive 12-week training program, I advanced my skills in both Word and Excel, increased my typing speed, and afterwards obtained four Microsoft Office Specialist certifications.

During my internship, I became the Executive Assistant to the Executive Director Alissa Friedman where I was given an assignment to complete for the COO of Future State, Kathy Krumpe. When I was given the task of creating an e-learning project from scratch, I must admit apprehension came over me once again. But I was determined to dive right in and do the best that I could do.

After many weeks of applying my new-found skills towards creating and editing this e-learning project, it was finally completed and Kathy loved it. She told me she admired my fearless way of jumping into a project where I had no experience and trying my best to "figure it out" while learning something totally new. I was elated and grateful for the amazing experience and very wonderfully shocked when Kathy asked me if this was something I would consider doing as a career. I told her Yes! That same day Kathy decided to create a job position for me! My emotions welled up, and I found myself crying with joy.

Through this amazing experience and working with the supportive and encouraging staff of OJ, I made it to the next step of my journey. Each staff member has helped guide and educate me along the way in order for me to reach my goals. There are not enough words to express how this organization has been a blessing to my life. I am grateful for taking that first step and taking a chance on this wonderful place that has become my second home."

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Pilot project shows program's impact on earnings over years

EDD report graph

One of the most challenging things to quantify with our programs is the lasting impact to our participants and their families. Because we have had to collect this data from our alumni ourselves, our standard follow-up window cuts off after 18 months. The long-term impact we have on our participants’ earnings has been hard to measure…until now.

Several months ago, Opportunity Junction was invited by Tipping Point Community and the Bay Area Workforce Funders Collaborative to participate in a pilot project in conjunction with the Employment Development Department (EDD). The aim of this project was to analyze the combined, anonymous wage data from EDD and Opportunity Junction to measure what impact participating in our Job Training and Placement Program has on our participants’ future earnings. EDD provided wage data for 1,436 individuals from 1995 to the present.

The results of this project were very promising. Three years post-program, the average wage for participants who completed our program was more than double that of those who applied but were not accepted or those who were accepted but withdrew from our program before completion. While the results cannot be statistically deemed “proof” that our program works, the results are very compelling.

Moving forward, Tipping Point Community plans on expanding the project to include other job training programs. Opportunity Junction will continue to work with Tipping Point Community to further evaluate our data analysis and to monitor long-term results.

If you would like more detail about the results, the complete report can be found here.

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Thanks, Chevron volunteers!

Chevron Mock Interviews

Our friends at Chevron joined us for their Corporate Caring Volunteer Week. Each September, Chevron employees participate in a week of volunteerism partnering with local nonprofits in the Bay Area. A special thanks to the Contra Costa Crisis Center for organizing the event!

Chevron Photography Club Volunteers The first volunteer group conducted mock interviews to help our interns hone their interview skills. Set up as panel interviews, our interns received invaluable feedback they will use to conquer their next interview. Intern Ifeoma says, "The mock interviews gave me confidence and I'm very glad I participated. One of the volunteers encouraged me to believe in myself, to believe that I deserve the job, and believe that I will get it." Intern Laquisa says, "The mock interviews provided very insightful insider tips on how to give a successful and relevant interview. Getting feedback from several professionals really helped me feel more prepared and empowered with knowledge to move forward and be excellent at the interview process."

Here is an interview tip from the volunteers: incorporate the responsibilities from the job posting into some of your answers – relevance to the job posting is key!

Midweek, Suzanne tidied up our cramped storage closet. This mighty volunteer cleaned up our storage room full of office supplies, decorations, and other miscellaneous items. She navigated through the storage room to reorganize and declutter the space to make items more accessible for our staff.

Our last volunteer group, led by Mark, helped build our photo library for future marketing materials. It was picture day for participants and staff! The volunteers worked directly with our interns to take perfect LinkedIn profile pictures, and snapped candid and posed shots of them and staff. This was our third year working with this volunteer group and we look forward to it every year.

Thanks, Chevron volunteers, for all of your help this week! We loved having you here and each one of you made a difference to our organization. Until next year...

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Congratulations to our job training graduates

graduationFriends, family, staff, and volunteers all celebrated the accomplishments of Class 53 of the Job Training and Placement Program Thursday night, September 21st. The graduation ceremony was held at the historic El Campanil Theater in Antioch, sponsored by the Antioch Community Foundation.

Merl CraftPittsburg Mayor Merl Craft served as our special guest speaker. Her message to the graduates was personal and inspiring, recognizing that none of us succeeds alone: “When you are lifted up, bring someone with you.” Ms. Craft, who also directs a successful pre-apprenticeship program in Pittsburg, shared stories of overcoming adversity that reinforced her message of gratitude and giving back.

Two of the graduates have already been offered employment, and the rest are now completing internships at Opportunity Junction or with our community partners. During this next phase of the program, they gain valuable work experience while engaging in job search and placement activities.

graduationgraduation

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New Grants and Support for our Programs

We are proud and grateful to announce the following new grants and funding partnerships:

The Antioch Area Community Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation: The Antioch Area Community Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation has issued a grant of extremely valuable core operating support. The fund focuses on the high-need communities of East Contra Costa, with a special emphasis on Antioch.

East Bay Community Foundation:: The East Bay Community Foundation is committed to advancing a Just East Bay – where all communities have supports in place not only to survive, but to thrive. The foundation has awarded Opportunity Junction a grant of core operating support.

Keller Canyon Landfill Mitigation Fund: Opportunity Junction is proud to have been awarded grant from the County's Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund to support Bay Point and Pittsburg residents participating in our Job Training and Placement Program. Supervisor Federal Glover leads the board that administers the funding to support a wide range of programs affecting quality of life for residents in the vicinity of the Keller Canyon Landfill, including public safety, youth development, and community beautification.

NRG: NRG has renewed its support for Bay Point and Pittsburg residents participating in our Job Training and Placement Program. NRG has also provided key support to Opportunity Junction as a source of volunteers and as a sponsor of the Imagine Gala.

Tipping Point Community: Tipping Point Community renewed Opportunity Junction’s annual core operating grant, as well as provided payment for our participation in the pilot project through the California Employment Development Department (highlighted in this newsletter).

Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo has award Opportunity Junction a regional Economic Opportunity Grant. The EOG funding will support the comprehensive training and support offered by the Job Training and Placement Program so that participants achieve long-term employment outcomes.

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Newsletter Contributors: Eva Luo, Brianna Robinson, Cynthia Dial, and Alissa Friedman. Photographs by Brianna Robinson, Eva Luo, and PhotoSophistry.com. Newsletter assembled by Lea Mason. (Thanks, Lea!)

On the Road to Self-Sufficiency — Opportunity Junction fights poverty by helping low-income Contra Costa residents gain the skills and confidence to get and keep jobs that support themselves and their families.

Opportunity Junction is exempt from federal income taxation under Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
© Opportunity Junction 2017