Disappointed workers need a hand up

SAN FRANCISCO — The term “discouraged workers” barely captures the despair facing African-American neighborhoods nationally, where the official unemployment rate topped 15 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday. But more than 20 percent of those who have not even sought a job in the last four weeks are African-American.
One of those neighborhoods where jobs are in such short supply that many potential workers don’t even know where to begin to look is the Western Addition, which stretches out in the blocks just beyond San Francisco City Hall.
But on Monday, May 18, more than 75 percent of 30 hopeful job seekers will receive certificates for completion of a six-week job readiness program conducted by an arm of the city’s oldest African-American church, most of them African-American males, the group most heavily impacted by the nation’s rising unemployment rates.
The Western Addition Job Readiness Program will provide 22 of its graduates with the skills necessary to keep a job, says program director Rev. Regnaldo Woods. Seven have already been placed, he said. They’ve received basic computer training, visited truck driving schools and heard from potential employers
District Attorney Kamala D. Harris is the scheduled speaker for the graduation ceremony at Bethel A.M.E. Church, 916 Laguna St. at 6 p.m. Monday, May 18. Rev. J. Edgar Boyd, Bethel’s pastor and executive director of the Allen Community Development Corp., fired up the group on the first day by noting that they had their future in their own hands.
Students were also excited to meet a legend of the computer industry, Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame member Dr. Frank Greene, now a venture capitalist, who showed them his VRE Leadership Model.

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