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Oakland nonprofit gets $3.5 mil for job training

By Josh Richman
Friday, February 12th, 2010 at 12:38 pm in Barbara Lee, economy, Oakland, U.S. House.

Just got off a conference call with U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Rep. Barbara Lee and other House members, on which they announced the release of more than $225 million in health care and high growth training grants funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Unity Council, an Oakland-based economic and neighborhood development nonprofit, will get $3.5 million for its Healthcare Sector Career Initiative, a job-training program aiming to builds the pool of qualified bilingual/bicultural healthcare workers, strengthens job retention, and promotes career advancement within Alameda County’s healthcare industry.

Lee, D-Oakland, said the funding will help this “phenomenal organization … in ensuring that low-income and unemployed residents throughout the region will receive high-quality training and employment services that will lead to good-paying jobs in the ever growing health care industry.”

Unity Council CEO Gilda Gonzales said in an e-mailed statement that the money will help expand the program geographically and in the number of individuals participating.

“These are not just jobs,” Solis said of the overall funding release, but rather jobs with good pay, benefits and advancement opportunities. Well over 700 applications came in for this funding, she said, and 55 were granted.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, was on the call too, touting a $5 million grant to San Jose State University for job retraining for unemployed people, particularly veterans; she said it’s important to Silicon Valley in this economic downturn that workers can upgrade their skills for better jobs.

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