EMPOWERING UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES
THROUGH ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY
California has the 5th highest unemployment rate and the 4th highest youth unemployment rate in the nation. According to the IMF, a 3rd of the U.S. unemployment rate can be explained by the skills gap. On local levels, we have seen the striking scale of this gap and its effects. For example, many communities in San Mateo County suffer greatly from high unemployment rates of because of language and educational barriers. For instance, 37 percent of Menlo Park’s residents suffer from language barriers, and 34% have less than a high school degree. CALSO aims to address the unemployment issue in California by reducing the skills gaps with programs that provide educational and employment services to those in need.
In 2015, CALSO and JobTrain launched WISE SV, a social enterprise providing long-term unemployed and underemployed people with on-the-job training in the restaurant and catering industry. Beyond a paycheck, WISE SV offers socio-professional support, such as assistance in job search and placement services, personal coaching, and career development. 85 people benefit annually from our yearlong program. Our aim is to bring people back to the job market with a job placement rate of 85%.
For more info, visit: WISE SV
Imani Smothers is a 44-year-old East Palo resident and the mother of three boys. She used to be in a medical assistant program in a local community college but when it did not work out, job counselors pointed her to the Culinary Arts program at JobTrain. Imani was thrilled since she loves to cook and cooks all the time for her sons and her neighbors.
“I loved learning about being a chef in terms of safety and health and how to avoid cross-contamination. I had two job offers when graduating but chose to join the social enterprise because I appreciated being in a supportive environment while I continue to learn.”
Imani is an employee at Rendezvous Café for a year before moving onto a local line cook job.