October 25, 2019, Oakland, CA – The First Unitarian Church in downtown Oakland hosted graduates, guests, family members, BOSS staff, La Familia staff, elected officials, stakeholders and many more to celebrate loved ones who were graduating from the BOSS Career Training & Employment Center. Special guests included, LaNiece Jones, Executive Director of the Peralta Colleges Foundation, Makedah Shartukar and Sue Sam from Good Eggs (BOSS employer partner), Marlo Da Motivator, Nathan Pirtle, performer/2018 CTEC graduate Larrie “Ray Ryda” Noble Jr., and the community at large. Elected officials and/or their representative included the offices of Oakland City councilmember Loren Taylor, councilmember Lynette Gibson Mcelhaney, and Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan.
CTEC began in 2014, in partnership with the Alameda County Probation Department, with the goal of helping citizens returning from incarceration find jobs and reduce prison recidivism. The employment program consists of an intensive job readiness curriculum and job placement assistance. CTEC also has a Career Pathways program, where a career goal is mapped out and participants are connected to the Peralta Colleges. La Familia, CTEC’s partner organization service people who live in the South County/Hayward area. While BOSS serves those who live in the Oakland, Berkeley, and surrounding areas. The majority of the participants going through these programs are returning citizens with barriers in employment.
98 graduates were honored at the BOSS CTEC Graduation gala had completed the CTEC education and training curriculum, and are now employed in the community, and are actively rebuilding their lives and supporting themselves and their families. This is the definition of success! Many graduates are also participants within other BOSS programs such as Casa Maria, Ursula Sherman Village, and South County Housing Project, as many participants within BOSS are referred to CTEC.
This year’s theme of the graduation was “Family”. Many graduates expressed their notion of what family means to them. The room was also filled with the graduates family. The graduation was a true representation healing – individual, family, and community healing.
Arnold Perkins, the Master of Ceremonies, introduced the amazing Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir to open the evening. Both BOSS Executive Director Donald Frazier and La Familia Executive Director Aaron Ortiz spoke on their personal stories, their vision for their respective organizations, and congratulated the graduates for ahcieving this milestone. Marlo Da Motivator, motivational speaker with lived reentry experience, spoke on his journey and gave the graduates encouragement with their journey. Good Eggs representatives shared that it is their privilege to partner with BOSS regarding employment opportunities. Peralta Community College Foundation Executive Director LaNiece Jones gave graduates information on scholarship opportunities and expanding their career with the many CTE/degree programs that Peralta has to offer!
The graduation recognized two valedictorians, one each from BOSS and La Familia. Jennifer Dugan-Mosley (BOSS) and Richard Sanchez (La Familia) shared their journeys and offered thanks to CTEC for placing them in viable employment. Jennifer Dugan-Mosley was placed at Alameda County through BOSS services and Richard Sanchez was placed to work at La Familia through La Familia! Jennifer stated that she is happy with her new milestone in life. Richard spoke on his new publishing opportunity as a writer of novels.
Charlette Viney and Martin Malone of BOSS/CTEC presented the names of the graduates, while Ronald Broach and Ivey Williams gifted the graduates their certificates and gift bags. This moment is very monumental as many graduates have never experienced a graduation in their lives. Graduates and the audience were all smiles and the mood was lively and celebratory as names were being called and graduates walked to the stage. After the ceremony, catered food prepared by Satia Fraizer-North was enjoyed by the guests and graduates.
Oakland City Mayor Libby Schaaf signed a Proclamation to the 2019 graduates, and the graduates also received certificates from: Oakland City Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan; State Senator Nancy Skinner; California Assemblymembers Rob Bonta, Bill Quirk, and Buffy Wicks; and Alameda County Board of Supervisors Keith Carson, Scott Haggerty, Wilma Chan, and Nate Miley
Graduates also received a gift bag containing items donated by Blaidell’s Business Products; Claremont Club & Spa, a Fairmount Hotel; Peralta Community College Foundation; La Familia & BOSS.
Thank you to our partners & sponsors: Berkeley Patients Group, Kaiser Permanente, Mechanics Bank, AC Transit, Nonstop Wellness, Alameda County Probation Department, Peralta Community College District, and Five Keys Schools & Programs!
View more pictures on the Graduation 2019 photo album here – stay tuned for the video which we will post soon!
To partner with CTEC and become a mentor or employer to someone trying to make a fresh start, contact CTEC staff at 510-419-0669.
To sponsor the 2020 Graduation, contact Sonja Fitz, BOSS Director of Development and Communication, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510.649.1930 x 1008