Seizing Opportunities

“I now understand how to take care of myself in order to help someone else. We’ve learned dedication, commitment, responsibility. We’ve learned how to be on time, conservative, a team player, active, and most of all, we’ve learned that we can do anything when we are determined.” – Denise

EXCEL participant, Denise, and JVS instructor Ache’ Lytle

December was a busy and successful month for the EXCEL program! Our two EXCEL cohorts celebrated big accomplishments this month, and it is my pleasure to share news of their success.

Our EXCEL program, a partnership with UCSF and the Human Services Agency, continues to move hard-working individuals into career positions in medical administration. The program begins with 10 weeks of classroom training at JVS, where participants build technical and customer service skills, followed by a 4-month paid internship within UCSF. Throughout the internship, the participants continue to come back to JVS for ongoing training and support to navigate any challenges they are encountering in the workplace.

We had two celebrations this month – one for the group of students that completed their classroom training, and one for the group that completed the entire program, including their internships at UCSF.

EXCEL particiapant, Imani, reflects on how much she learned over the 10-week training

Of the class that completed the entire program, three people continue to work in their internships, eight people have been offered extensions or temporary placements at UCSF, and six had been offered career positions at UCSF or another organization! The eighteen graduates have shown incredible drive, motivation and professionalism in both their internships and search for permanent employment. UCSF posted an inspiring article on their website.

The other group of students completed their 10 weeks of classroom training, and they selected two people to represent their class as speakers. These two participants spoke eloquently and passionately about their experience so far in the EXCEL program and shared how they’ve grown. I want to share an excerpt from Denise’s speech:

“Thank you all for the opportunity to believe in myself, and learn how to walk on my own two feet. I owe a great deal of my success to you all for showing me how to show up for life. I am walking away from this training with the ability to trust myself, make better decisions for myself and to show these same abilities to others wherever God will allow me to be.”

Wonderfully, hiring managers and supervisors at UCSF and beyond are recognizing the skills and potential of the EXCEL participants, creating an opportunity for the graduates to reach their goal of attaining a satisfying career and becoming self-sufficient. One common theme I have heard from the supervisors of the EXCEL interns is summed up in one phrase a supervisor used to describe the intern in her department: “We need people like this at UCSF.”

EXCEL Graduates

As we end the year, I feel truly blessed to witness this success; between the partnerships, funding and support for this program and the hard work of our participants, this is truly an amazing chance for people to transform their lives.

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