CTEC Graduate Profile Series – Part III: John Walker

For the third and final segment the last 2018 graduate we are profiling is John Walker, who used the help of CTEC to find a job doing what he loves. Walker’s life has had its ups and downs, but through perseverance and guidance nothing is impossible!

Read about April Owens in Part I of our series, Julius Butler in Part II.


John Walker

Living most of his life in Oakland, 60-year old John Walker has a history of positive engagement and leadership in his community. From 1990-1996 he served as a youth pastor at the Holy Temple Church of God and Christ in North Oakland, and when he was 35 pursued a career in positive rap music. After an end to his second marriage however, things changed. John experienced depression, started selling drugs, and found himself going to prison. When he got out he developed a drug addiction, causing him to continue to break the law. Finally after his last conviction, he decided in 2017 to turn his life around.

John first contacted CTEC when his probation officer insisted that he go. After contacting Case Manager Ronald Broach and joining in September 2017, he spent the next 7 months searching for employment, taking career development courses, and building his resume at CTEC. John appreciates the experience he had, and says

“The treatment of the workers and employees was great. They were very interested in helping you get your life together.”

Through BOSS he was able to re-ignite one of his passions — helping people. 

After graduating in 2018, John now works at the Alameda County Social Services Agency as a program worker in the welfare office. Working for the County, John helps people get their services such as CalWORKS, CalFresh, and General Assistance. John loves the benefits of his job and helping families improve their economic well-being.

“I’m happy to be helping poor people. When I was addicted I took a lot from a lot of people. As a former minister, giving back to people is what I do best,” he says.

Now drug free and in good standing, John says that he’s definitely turned his life around. Something he wants to do now is compile some old music he recorded in the 90s, and put together an old school EP, or half-album. 


John shows what it means to be a CTEC graduate. Despite heavy setback, he shows that nothing is impossible if one has the will and guidance to get there. At BOSS we fight everyday to make that happen; to build opportunities for self-sufficiency. Everyone deserves a fair chance to succeed and become self-sufficient, no matter where they came from, and through CTEC that dream can come true. We can’t wait to see what our amazing 2019 graduates will do.

Read about our October 25, 2019 CTEC Graduation.