Last month, the BOSS Career Training and Employment Center (CTEC) had an unusually high number of individuals enroll in the program. Typically, CTEC enrolls between 18-25 individuals per month – last month, they enrolled 28 individuals. Not only that, they measured great short and long-term follow up results: 11 job placements, 11 thirty-day job retentions, 4 ninety-day retentions, and 1 six-month retention.
“We don’t give up, and we don’t let them give up”.
According to Ronald Broach, BOSS Manager of Reentry Services (and part of the first CTEC graduating class of 2014!), the high level of enrollments can be attributed to a number of factors – the availability of paid on-the-job training (immediate income), the poor economy, and the aggressive connection and engagement tactics employed by staff.
“We try to contact people every day,” Ronald said. “We don’t give up, and we don’t let them give up”.
When I walked through that door, they were the doors of a new life for me
The proof of this approach is visible outside the CTEC offices, where Ronald and other CTEC staff regularly stand outside chatting with participants – people who’ve been referred by Probation and showed up, but maybe they aren’t quite sure CTEC can help. They’re suspicious, tired, and not feeling hopeful or motivated – until Ronald starts talking up the magic of CTEC services, and the community of peers who will stay with them every step of the way. Recent graduates can vouch for this.
“When I walked through that door, they were the doors of a new life for me,” 2020 CTEC Graduate Antwain recently said. “These are people who are going to be friends for the rest of my life.”
The importance of this relational bonding and persistent contact is hard to overestimate. Without it, it is easy for people to return to habits, relationships, and life choices that are self-destructive. But CTEC is staffed by 90% individuals with personal experience in the justice system – they provide an example of the change that’s possible, and they press this point daily, with personalized coaching, realistic advice, and constant encouragement.
“It’s our secret sauce,” Ronald says. “Relentless compassion.”
CTEC Staff (L-R) Shahid, Ronald, Charlette, Ivey
After closing their doors briefly at the start of the pandemic, CTEC quickly took their services virtual, and today offer a weekly series of job readiness and job search classes to help individuals find work:
It’s our secret sauce -relentless compassion.”
- Monday – Professional development and entrepreneurship
- Tuesday – Soft skills
- Wednesday – Life skills
- Thursday – Peralta college opportunities (including Career Technical Education/CTE) and obtaining GEDs
- Fridays – Cognitive skill building and employer spotlight (visiting employers who talk about jobs in their company, or industry)
The virtual schedule includes classes from 10 am-12 noon, a short lunch break until 12:30, then classes continue until 2 pm.
Of course it’s inevitable that some people don’t stay the course, stop coming, and fall out of touch. The primary reasons for this are substance use relapse, or the lure of illegal higher income activity. But for the majority, even in the extremely challenging job search environment of the pandemic and pervasive business closures, they work hard every day in CTEC to turn their lives around – including the 11 who found work last month!
Please help our newest 28 enrollees be successful – your contribution helps CTEC continue to provide daily assistance to community members who are building new lives.
For more information, contact Ronald Broach, Manager of Reentry Services, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-844-8221.