On March 28, 2013, JobTrain
celebrated the first graduating class of the LIFE SKILLS BOOT CAMP. Fourteen
students completed the pilot program, which spanned 10-weeks and consisted of 20
individual workshops. The initial core classes emphasized goal setting and
conflict resolution, the requisite soft skills needed for strong interpersonal communication
and relationships. The curriculum concluded with survival skills and taught students
the principles of how to manage their day-to-day lives.
The Life
Skills Boot Camp was the brainchild of Russell Pyne, a longtime JobTrain advocate,
board member for 17 years and former chairman of the board of directors.
 “In a way, I like
to think I was promoted,” he said of leading the workshop. “It was the next
step in my evolution of getting to know JobTrain. Previously, I didn’t get to
spend a lot of time with the clients.”
boot camp and its curriculum were developed approximately a year ago, after
Pyne taught a workshop on personal finance as encouraged by his dear friend and
JobTrain Executive Director Sharon Williams. “As a VC, my life is focused on
finance and entrepreneurship,” said Russell, who is founder and Managing
Director of Menlo Park-based Atrium Capital.  ”Teaching the workshop
was a wonderful experience. My students responded so positively that I decided
I wanted to do more.”
 In order to
launch the first ever JobTrain Life Skills Boot Camp, Pyne worked with one of
his students, Alfred Banks and created a life skills curriculum. The objective
of the pilot program was to level the playing field and establish opportunities
for clients regardless of their backgrounds. “Some people have the benefit of
growing up being mentored by parents, teachers and bosses. Others have no
positive role models. Alfred and I tried to focus on the basic life skills
you need to be prepared for the working world,” said Pyne.
The Life
Skills Boot Camp graduation was remarkable, the enthusiasm and pride of its
graduates and their families and friends was undeniable.  Philanthropist, community activist and
comedian Michael Pritchard delivered an unforgettable keynote speech. 

let the mediocre blow your candle out.  Create
a group of people here in this room with this first graduating class. Make this
a solid and tight of a group as you have ever been around. Stay close to each
other in every way that you can. Love each other; support each other – and you
will change our community, our country, our planet – our world,” said

 After receiving
their certificates of completion, the graduates presented select JobTrain staff
with awards signifying their appreciation for their ongoing support and