By Conway Jones
The Oakland Chinatown Chamber hosted its 26th annual Spring Banquet in Chinatown. Over 300 attendees participated in silent and live auctions, the proceeds of which will benefit the Chamber.
This gala event introduced Chamber Board of Directors and officers to its guest. The banquet showcased the organizations and businesses that contribute exemplary services to Chinatown.
Oakland Mayor Jean Quan said that she will actively promote Oakland’s Chinatown as a ‘destination’ when she visits China. Mayor Quan said that our community offers equal accessibility to the wine country, Silicon Valley and local airports and offers a much greater value that surrounding cities.
This year’s banquet honored the Oakland Private Industry Council (PIC) for their dedication in providing high quality training and employment services to local residents, including Oakland Chinatown.
PG&E was recognized for the sustained leadership and dedication efforts of the PG&E East Bay Community Relations Team and their efforts to encourage energy saving programs in Oakland Chinatown which have been replicated state wide.
Liftech Consultants, Inc. was honored for their pursuit of providing excellent engineering services to improve the quality of life to the City’s Port and local business enterprises. The PIC serves a large population of Chinese-speaking job seekers, both through the Oakland One-Stop Career Center and through services targeted to laid-off workers. One of the first places that many newly arrived Asian immigrants visit for assistance is the One-Stop Career Center, centrally located in downtown Oakland at 1212 Broadway. Operated by the PIC in partnership with the Employment Development Department, the Career Center provides a variety of free services and resources such as career counseling, job search workshops, job listings, and computers with internet access. Assistance is available in multiple languages, including Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese.
The PIC also provides workforce development services designed to meet the needs of specific populations. When the a local sewing factory in downtown Oakland recently shut its doors, more than 130 laid off employees – many of whom were Chinese immigrants – turned to the PIC for help in getting back to work. The PIC supplied vocational training assistance, employment counseling, English as a Second Language (ESL) career classes, and supportive services.
In addition to its work with local job seekers and employers, since 2009 the PIC has hosted five trade delegations from different provinces in China, in coordination with the United States–China Exchange Council. Chinese government officials from fields including human resources and social security have met with PIC staff and toured the Career Center in order to learn firsthand about the one-stop career center model and other innovative strategies designed to combat unemployment.
Since 1978 the Oakland PIC has been helping adults and youth find work, make a career change, and connect with training and educational opportunities. “The Oakland PIC is deeply honored to be recognized by the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce,” said Gay Plair Cobb, CEO of the PIC. “We value our longstanding relationship with the Chamber, and we look forward to continuing to work with Chamber members as well as with the larger Oakland community to provide exceptional workforce development services.”