Opportunity Junction, an innovative job training and placement program in Antioch, celebrates a milestone when its 25th graduating class walks the aisle on April 24 at 6 p.m. The event, held at the Opportunity Junction office, 3102 Delta Fair Blvd., is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.
The nonprofit organization fights poverty by helping low-income adults get the skills and confidence they need to support themselves and their families. Founded in 1999 under the name Opportunities for Technology Information Careers (OPTIC) by a collaboration of the private sector, government and the education community, Opportunity Junction's Job Training and Placement Program, launched in February of 2000, is based on the best practices in workforce development. Students receive training in a broad range of skills, from Microsoft Office to nutrition and personal finance.
The 17 members of Class 25 worked hard to acquire their new skills during the 12-week intensive training program. I can't believe how quickly the time has passed and how much we have learned, said Jamie Maaske of Class 25.
I feel so much better prepared to begin my search for the perfect career, says Class 25 trainee Daffany Popejoy. I have the confidence in my skills now to apply for jobs that would have been beyond my expectations before this training.
Opportunity Junction Founder Meryl Natchez will be the featured speaker for the graduation event. Natchez, CEO of TechProse, provided the founding vision for the organization when serving as chair of the Technology Task Force of the Contra Costa Council in 1997. I know firsthand how entrepreneurial you have to be when you are struggling to make ends meet, Natchez said. Training and support can help people transform these skills in the very assets we need to stay competitive in today's fast-paced, rapidly evolving workplace.
Opportunity Junction does not charge students for the training, but obtains funding through a variety of sources, including the Anonymous Fund of the East Bay Community Foundation; Antioch Area Community Fund; Chevron; Community Development Block Grant Funds from the City of Antioch, the city of Pittsburg; Contra Costa County; the Contra Costa Employment and Human Services Department; Keller Canyon Mitigation Funds; Thomas J. Long Foundation; United Way of the Bay Area; Wells Fargo Foundation; and the Dean and Margaret Lesher Foundation. For a complete list, visit www.opportunityjunction.org.