Mimi Rohr and Greg McConnell of the Oakland Jobs Foundation present a check for job training to Bishop Bob Jackson and Pastor Jerald Simpkins for members of the Men of Valor Academy.
The Oakland Jobs Foundation has taken a major step towards helping the city’s underserved communities obtain job training so that they can participate in Oakland’s economic renaissance.
On April 16, the foundation made its first grant of $100,000 to the Men of Valor Academy, founded by Bishop Bob Jackson, pastor of Acts Full Gospel Church of God In Christ in East Oakland. The academy focuses on helping the formerly incarcerated rebuild their lives by providing housing, life skills and job skills training.
The Oakland Jobs Foundation was founded in 2017. Its mission is to ensure that all Oakland residents have the opportunity to share in Oakland’s economic boom times.
“We have found that those who have the skills to work are already working. Those who need jobs, too often don’t have the skills to find gainful employment,” said Mimi Rohr, executive director of the Oakland Jobs Foundation.
Rohr said a review of unemployment by census tracts makes it crystal clear that “not all residents have benefitted from Oakland’s recent boom.” Despite a city-wide unemployment rate of 4 percent, there are many census tracts, predominately in East and West Oakland, where unemployment reaches as high as 10 percent. Further analysis shows that unemployment for African Americans and Latinos can run as high as 17 percent.
“We are so very disappointed to see so many young men and women hanging around with nothing to do. We hope for a better future for them,” said Greg McConnell, president of the Oakland Jobs Foundation.
McConnell said they are trying to help change these dismal statistics by identifying and funding life skills and job training programs, “This first check was just the beginning.”