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Charles came to JobTrain feeling his life lacked direction. Homeless and living in his car, Charles still managed to graduate from our Web Development Boot Camp program and found a job at John Muir Health.

He is not alone. JobTrain graduates over 75 skilled coding professionals a year. While many of them are finding contract jobs, finding pathways into careers can be tough. In a study about the need for middle income job pathways, JP Morgan found that 75% of entry level technology jobs in Silicon Valley require a college degree, while only 49% of the same jobs require a degree in other parts of the country.

College degrees are important. JobTrain has many partnerships and programs that provide college credits and we are always proud when our students continue their studies. But for many, time and circumstances require a quicker pathway to a middle income job. Some companies believe that people with degrees demonstrate persistence and an ability to accomplish goals. JobTrain students like Charles prove that they too are persistent and overcome extraordinary barriers to meet every challenge.

Much has been written about the increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour (approx. $31,200 per year). With average rents across Silicon Valley at $33,600 a year, we need to reach higher. We need to reach for jobs that may begin at the entry level, but that can lead to real careers. Many people feel strongly that $15 or $25 an hour is unrealistic, but JobTrain has seen again and again that with the right training, our students’ potential is limitless. As we end our 50th year celebrations, we continue to aim high. We will focus this year on working with new corporate partners to help them build pathways inside their companies to take advantage of the talent in their communities. We want them to experience what so many others have: that welcoming people from a variety of backgrounds provides a richness that contributes to innovation, creative vision and great corporate bottom lines.

At the Breakfast of Champions you will hear stories about how students have been able to rise to meet and overcome incredible challenges to be amazing employees. I know you will be inspired and come away believing that leaving talent like Charles for someone else’s company is not only bad for our community but also bad for business.

With your help, JobTrain has found pathways for over 190,000 people, many who have become mentors and people who have hired others themselves. Join us on June 3rd at the Santa Clara Convention Center and with your help, we can launch into our next 50 years to ensure a bright future for thousands more.

Nora Sobolov
President and CEO