Unemployed Seek Work at West Oakland Job Resource Center

Photo by V. Hamlin/Tradeswomen, Inc.

Photo by V. Hamlin/Tradeswomen, Inc.

Job seekers flock to the West Oakland Job Resource Center (WOJRC) each month, seeking work to support themselves and their families.

They attend monthly orientations and are met with a list of requirements for apprenticeship programs throughout the Bay Area.


Started in March with funding from the City of Oakland, the resource center was designed to connect job seekers with contractors working on the Oakland Army Base project seeking to meet local hire requirements.

However, when the start of the development project took longer than expected, staff at the job center pulled from other sources to give the men and women that come through their doors a way to find work.

“We narrowed our focus to construction and expanded our approach, really looking at how to move people into the trade apprenticeship programs,” said Susie Suafai, Program Manager at WOJRC.

The center’s staff has encouraged job seekers to pursue positions that can lead to long-term careers like construction, carpentry, engineering, and other skilled trades. Most of these jobs require applicants to first complete an apprenticeship and join a union to be eligible to work.

Basic requirements for job seekers are to be 18 years or older, provide proof of legal eligibility to work in the U.S., proof of Oakland residency for six months, preferably a high school diploma or GED, to pass a drug test, have a valid California Driver’s License and access to reliable transportation.

Yet, there serious obstacles for many job seekers,who are unemployed and looking for a steady income. Without work, they often do not have the cars or money to travel long distances to and from work sites, and they are unable to buy work tools and other equipment, or to pay the upfront union fees.

The process can be discouraging for those who are trying to get in the door.

“When they find out the process that it takes to become qualified, we don’t see a lot of them [come back],” said Suafai.

“They just want a job, and they need it yesterday.”

The job center will have an electrician apprenticeship workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 7, from 10 a.m. to noon at the West Oakland library, 1801 Adeline St., 2nd floor in Oakland. A representative from the apprenticeship program will be presenting.

The minimum requirements for this apprenticeship include: be at least 18 years old, have graduated from high school or have a GED, have a valid driver’s license, and have successfully completed high school algebra.

To reserve a space for this workshop, call WOJRC at (510) 419-0509.

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One Comment

  1. Becoming marketable has long been a big obstacle for job seekers coming out of communities that have traditionally, and I often feel deliberately marginalized by structured economics that are carefully planned and carried out for the sole purpose of stunning the grow and development of a targeted community. Whats scary is that traditions have changed, it is no longer always a black community that’s targeted. I started mustered up a little faith in myself back in 1985. The only tools I had to run the plumbing repair company I wanted to start was a big wooden handle screwdriver, a pair of tin snips and a lug wrench. Two years later, from reading pluming installation bboks and teaching myself the California and the Unified Plubing code, I was operating the NU-Drain drain cleaning and Plumbing repair service, the A-A Drain Company, where I used the marketing personallity named Jake the Snake and doing very impressive pre-inspection and post inspection plumbing work All SELF TAUGHT. Living testimony of my accomlishment are still there today. Ever see the strip mall out on Broadway in Oakland, across the street from Oakland Tech, you will find a project where I started by putting a 6″ sewer line, five public restrooms and one laundry Mat from reading and teaching myself. Go the Berkeley and the famous Delaware Project, where I went in to help finish up the final plumbing work. Again reading and teaching my own self. Listen… two(2) black men living in the Bay Area went in, there in the city of Berkeley, bought up a whole block, both sides of the street. You must see to believe. Don’t ever let anyone, not even your mother tell you you can’t because you are a minority. The little known Jim Walk Ministry has responded to this outrage by providing online job training that can be done online at home or you can use a computer a public library. Just schedule yourself a time and day of the week and be faithful, you can only cheat yourself by not doing something to better your future, a better self will show by virtue of your own personal hands on take charge of yourself. Respecting others. Not loud and vulgar. It is not impressive to see young people doing such. If you are a job seek and would be interested in 5 week business ownership and Intake secretary job readiness workshop by home study. We also are responding to the current in store credit card machine hacking. WE are also arranging corporate training in the Bay Area and training people to become agents, much like an insurance agent. Candidates will be certified at no cost to open and operate their own VISA and MASTER CARD BANKCARD processing service provider agency from their small office or from home with the whole state of California open to you as a territory. Visa and Mastercard has issued a mandate to replace all the old unsafe credit card machines. This is a windfall. The revenue is flowing. Please have your social worker or career adviser to contact us. Non Vets and Veterans can be helped. Call me after you visit our web site at https//:veted.us Call us directly only after you have spoke with your counselor.

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