JobTrain students photo for newsletter

“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” Helen Keller

Helen Keller was, by any standard, a miracle. Despite facing a myriad of challenges, she became an amazing role model of success in the face of incredible odds. She didn’t do it alone; she had advocates in her family, her teacher and her friend. She contributed at a time in society that would have relegated her to silence, in a place where she could make no contribution.

We witnessed another amazing story at this year’s Breakfast of Champions when Rickey W., told us his story through poetry. At 40, having experienced years of incarceration, he came to JobTrain, trained for a construction job and ended up with his first full time job as an employee at San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. Rickey should not have been able to make that speech, or ever find a job. But with the right combination of support, training, and most especially his own determination and will power… we all shared in that incredible moment. The bottom line, had he not been optimistic, and had we not believed, his success would never have happened.

JobTrain and its amazing supporters have, for over 50 years, made sure that people who are willing to make that leap have the opportunity to realize their dreams. As our annual report in September will show, our impact and people served continues to grow. However, thousands more need our help and we need to tell their story.

I am heartened to see that both major political parties have started to talk about the importance of a skills development pathway for people like Rickey. But we know that we need more information to help convince policy makers and people beyond our immediate community to invest time and resources for those we serve. They need to understand that a direct pathway to college and university cannot be the only road. With the help of Tipping Point Community, we are developing a report that will use data to demonstrate both the need and the impact of creating a bridge to mend the part of the pathway that is broken.

As Helen Keller said, “optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” We know that this report (coming in late November) is just the beginning. We believe that there is a story to be told and that JobTrain can be the voice to tell that story. Stay tuned!

Nora Sobolov
President & CEO