On Friday, October 27th the community gathered to recognize and celebrate the achievement of over 50 individuals who acquired life-changing careers! The evening felt more like late summer than mid-autumn, and the excitement and support in the air lent additional joy to the event.
The graduates received graduation certificates from BOSS, plus personalized certificates from State Senator Nancy Skinner, Assembly Members Rob Bonta, Tony Thurmond, and Bill Quirk, as well as Mayor Libby Schaaf.
Arnold Perkins was our Emcee for the evening, and the graduates received words of power, hope, and pride from many influential people:
- Wendy Still, Chief Alameda County Probation Officer. CTEC is a partnership between BOSS and Alameda County Probation. The commitment of Ms. Still and her department shows how transformative a career can be of an individual, for their family, for the entire community! Alameda County Probation had several officers at the celebration to lend their support and joy to the graduates in their celebration.
- Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf who talked about resilience and how the graduates exemplify the word. She passed along hopes that each graduate persevere through life with their “own style,” as well as compassion, creativity, and curiosity.
- Heather Hubbard, HR Supervisor at UPS. One of our greatest ‘Second Chance Employers’, UPS has been a longtime supporter of the CTEC program, but Ms. Hubbard also took this moment to share her story of difficulty and triumph with the assembly. We are so grateful to her for all the work she has done on behalf of CTEC participants, as well as for the faith and trust she put in us by sharing her story.
- Suga-T, local artist and entrepreneur, recognized the hard work and sacrifice of the graduates, and also gave advice for continued success.
We had performances by iStevie an Suga-T to set the mood and bring a celebratory vibe to the evening. We closed the evening with a shared meal catered by Just 8 Catering, an fantastic Oakland-based catering agency started by former CTEC Graduate April Freeman!
Many of the participants of the Career Training & Employment Center (CTEC) are post incarceration and referred to the program by our partner, Alameda County Probation. CTEC has a computer lab where participants learn or polish their computer skills. They learn how to look and apply for jobs online. CTEC staff and volunteers work with the participants to write and update resumes and help with cover letter creation. CTEC also has a large list of ‘Second Chance Employers’ who will hire individuals who have exited incarceration, including Alameda County Social Services Agency, Fidelity Home Energy, FORD Go Bike, Goodyear Tire, Rhino Staging, Shell Oil Refinery, United Parcel Service and many others, and the program even hosts monthly job fairs that are open to the public!
That is what CTEC, and the Graduation Celebration is all about: Second Chances, New Beginnings, Hope, and Community!
If you are looking for a second chance, please reach out to our CTEC staff. They are here to help. If you are an employer and want to tap a wealth of valuable and dedicated employees, and partner with the BOSS CTEC program, please do not hesitate to contact us. For photos and video of BOSS events including Graduations, visit our Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, and YouTube pages!
We are so proud of all our graduates, past and present, and are humbled by their dedication and hard work. They are Turning Lives Around!