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Training beyond tech skills in Silicon Valley

For more than five decades, the nonprofit JobTrain has helped residents build successful, sustainable careers

The global economy is constantly shifting to account for changes in industries as diverse as health care, manufacturing and transportation. As a result, workers must constantly assess and adjust their skills to keep pace. Nowhere is that reality more obvious than in Silicon Valley —where technology, agriculture and housing innovations have dramatically transformed business over the past 30 years.

Local nonprofit JobTrain gives people from low-income communities across Silicon Valley the education, skills and real-world experience they need to create long successful careers. While this part of California is one of the wealthiest enclaves in the world, that wealth is not enjoyed by all. “Talent is evenly distributed throughout communities and socioeconomic landscapes, but opportunity is not,” says Barrie Hathaway, JobTrain president and CEO. “We offer career training that provides economic mobility to strengthen communities and bridge the economic divide.”

JobTrain provides no-cost courses and job placement services in high-demand fields ranging from carpentry and the culinary arts to IT and health care, plus life-skills classes covering interview skills, digital literacy and more. Students include single parents, new immigrants and people who have experienced homelessness. Nearly six out of 10 participants are unemployed, and 33% have been incarcerated. The organization’s track record is impressive: 85% of students complete the career training, and three-quarters of graduates obtain a job that pays significantly more than minimum wage.

Funding from Bank of America is helping to expand JobTrain’s career training programs and skills upgrade and job placement services — serving more than 1,000 trainees in 2021. Learn more about the Bank’s $1.25 billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity in local communities around the country.