Tagged Ken Epstein

Jobs and Youth Mentoring Are Priorities for Mayor Jean Quan

By Ken A. Epstein

Oakland Mayor-Elect Jean Quan (second from left) and Rev. Harvey Blomberg (second from right) present Thanksgiving gifts to neighbors of Miracles of Faith Community Church.

While most of our neighbors are preparing to celebrate Thanksgiving, Oakland’s  Mayor elect Jean Quan is working furiously to prepare to step into her new role as chief executive of the city.
On top of her busy schedule of meetings and meeting with community leaders are the large numbers of requests for media interviews, some coming from reporters as far away as Hong Kong, Taiwan and Shanghai who are fascinated by Quan’s status as a pioneering Chinese American  mayor of a major U.S. city.
To come to grips with Oakland’s still catastrophic unemployment rate, Quan says she believes that the city’s upcoming development projects, including the Oak to 9th Street, the airport connector and the Oakland Army Base projects, can provide many Oakland residents with jobs for six to 10 years, if local hiring rules are strictly enforced and companies are not allowed to avoid, sidetrack or dead-end the new workers
“I want to make sure it is tracked, and (the newly hired workers) get all the way through the program to get their union cards, guaranteeing compliance of the city and unions,”said Quan in an interview with the Post. “They have to be able get through the apprenticeship get their union cards. Read more

Reentry Support Helps Young Man Land on His Feet

By Ken Epstein

A few years ago, people may have thought Marc Calloway, 25, was down for the count.  He had some conflicts with his parents, which ended up with him spending three months in San Rita Jail.
Now, with the help of a reentry program and job training paid by federal funding, he has a job that pays him well, and he is helping to support his hospitalized mother and his four brothers and sisters.
“I feel blessed,” he said.  It’s been one thing after another. I have had a lot of hard times. I was working at a restaurant making $40 a day, and now I’m making $40 an hour.”
With the support of America Works in Oakland, Calloway first attended a wild lands fire fighter intern program run by the East Bay Conservation Corps.
Then, Breaking Through Barriers, a program of the Oakland Private Industry Council, arranged for him to receive a federal voucher to pay for a 40-hour hazardous materials training course. As a result of this course, he qualified for a high paying job working with hazardous materials.
“With that company, I’ve worked at Lake Shasta, Redding, and we may be going to San Jose and Woodland,” he said. “I’m new to construction, but I’m learning to operate heavy machinery.” Read more