Best Practices for New Apprenticeships

The Veterinary Assistant Apprenticeship program exemplifies an aspect of JVS’s work that is less visible, but vital. More than a job training provider, JVS leverages 40+ years of Bay Area connections to forge innovative, life-changing partnerships.

On July 11, 2018, the California Workforce Development Board hosted a webinar to demonstrate the best practices of its grantees through the Workforce Accelerator Fund. In the webinar, JVS and the San Francisco SPCA shared their insights about what it takes to bring apprenticeships into non-traditional workplaces to offer people living wage career pathways. This is one of many opportunities where JVS has been selected to share best practices regarding this program. A full-recording of a similar webinar can be found here.

Varied Interests – One Program

The Veterinary Assistant Apprenticeship program, the product of a partnership between JVS, the SF SPCA and Foothill College, began in 2015. The SF SPCA was faced with a hiring challenge and, searching for assistance from an experienced workforce intermediary, connected with JVS. They concluded that an apprenticeship program would be the ideal solution to meet the hiring needs of the SF SPCA, while also benefiting low-income job seekers with an interest in building skills to secure living wage jobs.

As the expert connector, JVS aligned each partner’s interests towards a common goal and created an innovative partnership. For the SF SPCA, the program solves a hiring challenge by creating a strong candidate pipeline for the future. For Foothill College, the program motivates its students to engage and succeed academically and acts as a selling point to attract prospective students. For JVS, the program fulfills our mission of transforming lives by providing the participants access to good, living wage career paths.

Innovative Models for the Future of Work

The program is also an opportunity for JVS to test an innovative workforce model that future partners can adopt. The partnership has proved successful because it identified a labor market need, took into account the interests of the various partners and coalesced those interests around a mutually beneficial program.  

It took almost three years to move from conception to program launch. Yet that significant upfront investment in the program was crucial in order to create better, more sustainable results. Rather than rushing to solve its hiring challenge in a sloppy way, the SF SPCA is making a long-term investment in its employees, helping train the apprentices and then retaining them after they graduate with an offer of employment. Likewise, Foothill College is providing its students with hands-on work experience and an opportunity for a career path in veterinary medicine. As a result, we expect this program to have a positive and sustained impact on the community for years to come.

In addition to acting as a direct service provider for Bay Area job seekers, JVS regularly facilitates innovative partnerships that bring together partners across multiple sectors, such as community-based organizations, centers for higher learning and employers — aligning their interests towards a common goal. This partnership model, in combination with a strategic long-term plan, is a recipe for success in the field of workforce development.

Further Reading

About the Veterinary Assistant Apprenticeship program

A Brookings Report highlighting JVS’s role in facilitating partnerships

About the history and impact of JVS

Social Policy Research Associates webinar recording 

image copyright Mark Rogers, 2018

The Future of (Water) Work

Is California headed back into a drought? Did we ever come out? Californians spend a lot of time worrying about having enough water, but there’s another question we can’t ignore.

How can we build the pipeline of workers to ensure our water supply is reliable and safe?

This is the question that’s top of mind for water and wastewater agencies nationwide. And in 2016, JVS and BAYWORK, a consortium of Bay Area water and wastewater utilities, conducted research and produced a report to answer this and other questions that are informing the future of water jobs.

Baywork Report Water Career Pathways coverWhy JVS?

Core to its strategy, JVS identifies opportunities to train people for good, career path jobs, such as those in the water industry. As part of its services for young people, JVS exposes high school students to career paths, connects them to work experience, and helps to identify the training and education they need to move into middle class lives and stay in the Bay Area. Work experience and education support are particularly important for the JVS’s young job seekers, primarily young people of color from San Francisco’s most underserved communities.

As an example, JVS students participate in summer programming with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. While internships and job shadowing are great ways to gain exposure, the Bay Area’s need for a more comprehensive strategy is clear. The Water and Wastewater Career Pathways report identifies alarming information, such as the impending wave of retirements of key water industry staff. There simply are not enough people ready to take the jobs that baby boomers will vacate in the coming years.

Career Pathway Shortfalls

The report focuses on nine mission-critical occupations within the water industry, examines the anticipated hiring needs and current shortfalls and identifies gaps/opportunities in the career pathways for these jobs.

Here are a few of the ways the current career pathways is not meeting the hiring needs of the water industry:

  • There is a widespread lack of awareness of the industry and trades which is limiting the pipeline of candidates.
  • There are insufficient entry-level job opportunities where candidates can get relevant work experience.
  • Tuition, fees and the income lost by taking unpaid work (i.e. internships) are major barriers for students who must support themselves and their families financially.

In 2018, JVS launched a new industry team focused on public utilities to address many of these career pathway gaps. Here are a few of the ways we’ve kicked off this work:

  • We’re helping inform the curriculum developed by Bay Area teachers by taking them on tours of water agencies.  
  • We’ve launched an automotive technician program with the City and County of San Francisco and City College San Francisco to help people build academic and work skills they need to enter apprenticeship programs.
  • We’re seeking partners in existing pre-apprenticeship programs and other community-based organizations focused on helping underrepresented job seekers secure employment in skilled trades.

Read the recommendations informing our work in the Water and Wastewater Career Pathways report.

JVS as a Convener for Better Jobs

The employment issues facing the water industry will require a multi-faceted approach to workforce development, and the report identifies the ways that water and wastewater utilities, nonprofit organizations, foundations, union, education providers, as well as state, local and national government agencies can work together to build career pathways for these skilled trades. We’ll keep you updated as we build out these opportunities in the months to come.

Transitions at JVS

A Message From JVS Board President, Michael Walker

Together with the JVS Board of Directors, I’m writing to share some important news.

Abby Snay, CEO

After working at JVS since 1975 and serving as Executive Director and CEO since 1984, Abby Snay has decided to step down from her leadership role at the end of December. While her transition will certainly be bittersweet, many years of preparation have led to this moment, and I am confident in JVS’s leadership and the support of our community, including each one of you.

For 40+ years, JVS has helped more than 80,000 people to build skills, find work and transform their lives. Today, JVS is focused on good, living-wage jobs on career pathways. Since affirming this approach in 2015, the agency has tripled the numbers of people who find work in growing Bay Area industries, such as healthcare, technology, skilled trades and financial services.

As the leader of this formidable organization, Abby is responsible for the growth and strength of JVS. She has grown the organization to a budget of $13M with nearly 100 staff members. Tens of thousands of lives have been transformed under her tenure, and like many great leaders, she has propelled JVS’s impact forward by building the smart, nimble and connected leadership of JVS. The Board of Directors brings strategic insight, market intelligence and philanthropic leadership to JVS, while JVS’s executive management team is composed of well-regarded experts in workforce development, fundraising and nonprofit management.

The JVS Board of Directors, under the leadership of Board President Emeritus Jim Koshland, has assembled a search committee and engaged the renowned search firm, Russell Reynolds, to recruit JVS’s next Chief Executive Officer. Russell Reynolds is in the process of completing stakeholder interviews and expects to begin identifying and interviewing candidates in the coming weeks.

As for Abby, she has no plans to retire. She will bring her 40 years of building partnerships and programs to make a new kind of impact on our community. We look forward to benefiting from her expertise as a close thought partner and workforce development advisor.

In the coming months, as you hear about the lives that are transformed as we continue our mission, keep your eye out for information about opportunities to thank and honor Abby. We look forward to your enthusiastic engagement as we celebrate this next chapter with you.

Michael Walker
JVS Board President
Executive Vice President and Regional Executive, City National Bank

What We’re Reading

What’s on your fall reading list? Here’s a bit of what we’ve been reading in the world of work:

On Age Discrimination

We weren’t shocked to read The New York Time’s piece about how job searching gets more difficult with age. Age discrimination is real, and we work with thousands of job seekers each year to combat it. In fact, of all JVS job seekers who found work last year, 50% were over age 40. Still, we all need to advocate for age diversity in our workplaces. Would your company pass the “shoe test”?

An Eye on Inequality

We’re deeply concerned with the Bay Area’s growing income inequality. These new census figures take into account California’s high cost of housing in the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which lists California as having the highest poverty rate in the nation. The Economist discusses how the poor are especially affected by financial penalties and price discrimination – all which contribute to inequality that is much greater than income inequality.

What’s Working

For 40+ years, JVS has strategically brought together government, philanthropy and job training to move people from poverty to self-sufficiency. Our EXCEL program, which trains people for administrative positions within UCSF, is a prime example of the intensive efforts needed to help people find jobs and transform their lives. The Atlantic’s Article describes the dangerous outcomes of programs that do not have the proper structures in place. The effect on our nation’s working poor are disastrous.

What your unemployed friend actually needs

Do’s and Don’ts to support your friend who is in transition, between jobs or just plain unemployed

A recently unemployed client shared, “Becoming unemployed is emotionally wrought, especially if you’re like me and your whole identity is wrapped up in your career.”

Supporting someone through a job search is tricky business. What words can you offer to help them through this difficult, sensitive time? What can you actually do for them? As a job search coach, I give you my advice.

Avoid These:

Don’t be dismissive. “You will be fine.” or “All my unemployed friends got jobs in less than 3 months.” These words belittle his experience and may not give the hope you intend to give. Remember, your intention may not be equal to your impact.

Don’t offer well intentioned advice. “My friend got a job by doing this… you should do that!” Your friend may be in an entirely different situation, with an entirely different set of skills than your other friend. Also, be sure to ask, “Can I give you some advice?” before you launch in with your well intentioned ideas. And please, if they say, “No thank you,” hold your tongue!

Don’t say “I know how you feel” or “You must be thrilled to have all this free time!” I have news for you. If you are not currently unemployed, you don’t know how she feels. This is another common mistake that will trivialize the situation and make you seem oblivious to the reality of her feelings.

Don’t ask again and again, “How’s the job search going?” Your friend is still a friend who has interests outside their job search. Ask him about something that isn’t related to the job search. Tell him a funny story. Be human. Rest assured, he will invite you to celebrate when he lands a new job.

Do These:

1) Ask her what she is looking for and what she really wants to do. What industry or job title or company is your friend targeting? She’ll feel empowered by making these choices. You’ll have what you need to start thinking of introductions. Be a good listener. Listen with compassion and without judgement.

2) Connect with your friend on LinkedIn. While you’re at it, update your own connections. You never know when they will be useful to you, or your friends.

3) Offer to attend a networking event with him. Help him find the event, and be his wingman. Having a supportive person in the room can make all the difference in one’s confidence.

4) Offer to loan out your extra laptop or electronic device.

5) Offer to baby sit or help out in other ways. It’s easy to get consumed by household duties and family obligations when you’re not working.

6) Offer to meet her mid-day, perhaps at a local coffee shop or library, to encourage 2 things: getting out of the house to avoid isolation and increasing her job exploration productivity.

7) Offer to get together for fun stuff the two of you would normally do. Hiking, a potluck, $5 movie night, chatting on the phone, walking your dog, getting coffee on a weekend. Be mindful when inviting him to events that are overly expensive.

8) Offer to do a mock interview, especially if you have experience hiring. The experience will be very helpful.

9) Be honest and supportive when you offer to proof read resumes, LinkedIn profile, cover letters, business cards. If you are tech-savvy, consider offering support with online applications or monitoring their online reputation.

10) Last, but not least…help your friend see the positive. Count their small wins. 10 phone calls, and 5 resume submissions? AWESOME!!!!

And of course, send your friend to JVS!

Job seekers – what do you think? What other ways would you like to be supported?

#AwesomeAdmins Featured at Dreamforce

As part of the massive Dreamforce conference, Salesforce gathered expert trainers, including JVS, to lead a session about innovative job training programs that are helping people transform their skills to become Salesforce professionals.

JVS’s Skills to Work in Technology program for Salesforce Administrators is not only transforming our JVS clients into #AwesomeAdmins. The program, and many others, are leading the way for more diverse communities to join the Salesforce workforce, and are also opening doors for people who were not finding work, despite extensive professional backgrounds.

Stephanie Bachar, JVS’s Technology Training Program Coordinator, and Rajat Dutta, a participant in our Salesforce Administration program, spoke about the incredible confidence of the participants, which was so clear at Dreamforce.

One of our participants wrote to us after the conference echoing what we already saw to be true:

“I am truly appreciative to JVS and its partners and supporters for establishing this top-notch program. I am now a Certified Salesforce Administrator and a Certified Salesforce Developer. After attending the Dreamforce conference last week, I now know the value of my certifications and how much further ahead of my peers I am because of the integrated nature of this training program that combined business analysis, career development and Salesforce training.”
– 2015 Salesforce Participant

To be able to say that they are part of the professional Salesforce community has invigorated the participants’ career ambitions. One of the greatest successes of the program has been the 90% pass rate of the Administrator certification exam. Some participants have even passed the more advanced Developer certification. Participants in JVS’s program are passing at a higher rate than other first-time test takers. The level of excitement is quite high.

As the Salesforce community has become more aware of the program, many have enthusiastically reached out about the work we’re doing. Right now, qualified Administrators and Developers are in high demand, so many are hoping programs like ours could prove to be a reliable pipeline for their staffing needs.

Do you know someone who may be a good fit for our Salesforce Administrator training program? Send them to our website for more information.

Are you interested in finding qualified Salesforce professionals for internships or jobs? Find out more here: www.jvs.org/sfa-employers