Skills to Work in Healthcare – Yasmeen’s Story

At JVS we believe the best way out of poverty, is a job.

Despite the remarkable growth of the tech industry, inequality is increasing in the Bay Area faster than in any other part of the country. Good jobs at living wages exist, but thousands of people remain unemployed or underemployed because they lack the skills employers seek, and can’t afford additional training. JVS is bridging this gap by helping people like Yasmeen build in-demand skills, get career-building jobs, and provide better lives for themselves and their families.

Patricia, UCSF

Patricia, a native San Franciscan and mother of three, had a solid job until the recession hit. She witnessed her office shut down piece by piece when operations – and her job – moved overseas. Initially, she was not worried; she was a Navy veteran with over 25 years of work experience. But three years later, she was still unemployed.

JVS was her job coach, advocate and connector. Through a training program for UCSF medical administrative assistants, Patricia learned new skills, built confidence and impressed her colleagues during a 4-month paid internship at UCSF. A self-professed “slow and steady” learner, Patricia reinvented herself with strong determination and tenacity. Today she is a proud Senior Secretary at UCSF’s School of Dentistry.

“Life was difficult for me and my boys for a while, but JVS gave me what I needed to lift myself up and find work. My work is so much more than a job — it’s my lifeline.” – Patricia

Sean, Carpenters Local 22

Sean knew from a young age that he wanted to work with his hands. He had spent countless hours learning from his father and helping his family’s curtain installation business in San Francisco. School didn’t interest him much, and skipping classes were the norm during his early high school days. He and his friends kept getting into trouble, and he knew that if things didn’t change soon, he would end up in Juvenile Hall or even worse.

JVS was there for Sean at the right time and the right place. Through a JVS program at John O’Connell High School, Sean was able to graduate high school and turn his love for carpentry into a promising career path. At age 19, Sean is a union Apprentice Carpenter at the Historic Pier 70 Project, where his skilled work in restoring antique windows is playing an important part in the transformation of the city’s landscape.

“My path was not straight and narrow. JVS opened doors for me and helped me figure out each step. I’m grateful to have a career that allows me to pay my bills and help my parents.” – Sean

A Job Well-Done – JVS Youth Speech

Some lessons are straight-forward and tangible, and others are more difficult to instill – like knowing the value of a job well-done.

Rae proudly delivered the following speech at the completion of his high school summer internship last year. The feelings of accomplishment, pride and teamwork that he felt on his internship will drive his work ethic in both work and school for years to come — attractive qualities to any employer!


Good afternoon, everyone! I would like to speak to you about my summer job experience at the Bay Area Video Coalition. First of all, the Bay Area Video Coalition is a major hub for broadcasted media throughout the Bay Area. People go there to take classes about making movies, working with social media, or they go there to run the public broadcasting channel, among many other things.

However, my task there was much different than the other jobs people worked. I was assigned to the financial office. There, my help was needed to make all of their paperwork physically ready to be scanned and processed into digital files. To do that, I removed staples, grouped together paper with paper clips, and made copies of check stubs and receipts for what may have been hundreds of papers!

To anyone else, this might sounds like an arduous and even tedious task to do from day to day. But despite all of that, I had absolutely no problems with my job.

For me, it was all a simple matter of doing my job as best as I can, so that those who work with the papers afterwards can rest easy, knowing the hard part had been done for them.

 I went into work every day with a sense of personal pride and accomplishment, because I knew from the first day that it was an important responsibility to attend to. And I left my workplace every day feeling proud to have been able to do a job well done.

My experience at the BAVC financial office has taught me to be committed to working efficiently. To do that, I must be patient. And to do that, I must value my place in the overall team. I was aware the whole time that even a duty as modest as removing staples can have a very big impact for my co-workers.

I thank everyone for the opportunities they have given me, and I wish my co-workers good luck for the future.

I am glad to have been of service to you. Thank you.

Nursing Grad Goes Techie

Nursing Refresher graduate, Maya Zitrin, is bringing her skills to the business side of nursing with naviHealth.

Six months ago, Maya Zitrin, 29, was crossing a stage at City College of San Francisco, a graduate of JVS’s Nursing Refresher program. Yesterday, she started a 10-day training in Nashville, TN for her new job at a healthcare start-up, naviHealth.

“The JVS program really helped me be ready to get a job. I had been out of nursing for a few years. Being in a hospital setting did wonders for my confidence and helped me re-orient to nursing again,” said Zitrin.

The nursing refresher program, profiled in the J. Weekly, is designed to refresh the skills of foreign and U.S.-trained nurses. Maya’s class was made up of 20 nurses from 13 countries.

“For more than 20 years, this program has been a very successful way for nurses to regain their competitive edge in a changing workforce. The most recent class graduated 4 weeks ago and just over half of them have already secured positions,” said Leah Olson, Health Professionals Coordinator.

Maya’s story of securing her new job is not unique. She learned about this emerging healthcare field through networking.

“I met with a friend from High School who was pre-med in college. Now she’s directs quality improvement in healthcare. She told me about naviHealth and this position and said they were looking for people with long-term care experience. I would never have thought that I was qualified for a job like this. I wouldn’t have known had I not taken the time to connect with her and learn about her job,” said Zitrin.

NaviHealth has developed a tool to help them focus on reducing re-admissions to acute care facilities. They have a database of 800,000+ patients that helps them to analyze the needed level of care and the cost, while improving quality of care. As part of Zitrin’s job, she will be following and tracking the progress of patients at St. Francis and St. Mary’s Hospitals –both part of Dignity Health in San Francisco and who use this new tool.

“I’m looking forward to learning the business side of nursing. Healthcare is becoming more technology-based and evidence-based in developing standards of care. Patients also have more autonomy, so they need more direction. All of us need to be informed to be able to make the right decisions about our health,” said Zitrin.

One day, Zitrin hopes to have her own business that involves chronic disease care management. She is passionate about integrating many kinds of care to improve the health of patients. She looks forward to returning to JVS’s Nursing Refresher program in the fall as a guest speaker, and introducing more JVS clients to this exciting line of work.

What advice do you have for Maya as she begins this new leg of her career? Let us know in the comments below!