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Jose Escoto went to Fresno City College and earned his certificate for auto body repair, but he wasn’t able to land a job. “I liked it, but I wasn’t able to get hired because employers wanted people with experience.”

Jose didn’t give up on building a future. Instead, he turned to Fresno EOC’s Workforce Connection Young Adult Program and shifted gears on a career. Jose was able to sign up for a paid internship, attend a job readiness workshop, and benefit from support services. He is now employed in construction with California Tiny Homes in Fresno. Jose says his work internship taught him valuable skills, from “framing, electrical, plumbing, trimming, and repairs like patching up holes and fixing up walls. Everything you need to know to make the interior look nice.”

Patrick Turner is the Senior Assistant Director of Employment Services at Fresno EOC and oversees the Workforce Connection Young Adult Program. He says a top priority of the program is placing clients in careers that fit their interests and abilities. “I’m not going to push you to work in construction if you want to work in clerical. I’m not going to put you in clerical if you want to work in healthcare. We’re trying to find jobs that fit the career goals that youth want because they really need to be exposed to what they want to do in the future. If they are exposed to an industry, they can decide right there if they like it or not—with no cost to the employer.”

Each client can be set up with an employer and complete 200 hours of paid work experience. Patrick says, “It’s basically a chance to explore the world of work on our dime. The Regional Workforce Development Board provides funding for our program to pay clients to go and test out a job for 200 hours.”

Pat Mosley, a co-founder of California Tiny Homes, said it’s a win-win situation. “We hired Jose and may soon hire another person from the Fresno EOC program. So, it’s worked out for us because we get free labor and the opportunity to hire a trained employee once they complete the program. The client gets on-the-job experience and the chance to find out if it is something they enjoy doing.”

Aside from work experience, clients can benefit from a number of support services provided by the program. Patrick says, “They have access to a job developer who can do the ground work of identifying employers that are hiring in the career field the youth is looking to get into and a case manager who is going to help them out with any issues that may pop up. They have access to a facilitator who will walk them through workshops. They receive assessment testing to help them make sure they can do what they want to do. We use the O*Net Interest Profiler, which identifies an individual’s career interest areas.”

Jose says he is pleased with his outcome and proud to be employed in a career that helps to provide homes in Fresno. “It feels great. I’m doing something good for my future and for my community.”

About Fresno EOC Workforce Connection Young Adult Program

Our career readiness program is designed to guide young adults, ages 14-24, along the pathway to education, training, personal development, and, ultimately, a rewarding career!

We understand young adults need a solid foundation of academic and job readiness skills to compete in today’s economy. For this reason, the Fresno EOC Workforce Connection Young Adult Program exists and provides services including academic assistance, strong support systems, job readiness workshops, and job placement assistance.

To find out more about this program, click here to open the Workforce Connection Young Adult Program webpage.

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