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[Press] At graduation ceremony, nearly 100 formerly incarcerated people celebrate new jobs

This article written on October 29, 2019 by Michelle Pitcher describes the programs BOSS runs at the Career Training and Employment Center (CTEC). These programs are set up for previously incarcerated people and other individuals without certain resources to find jobs. CTEC has programs to learn interview, computer, and resume building skills, along with other important resources, to assist with job searching.


The graduates had all recently completed programs with the Career Training and Employment Center (CTEC), a group that aims to help formerly incarcerated people and others who don’t have the resources to navigate a job search on their own. On Friday, which marked the program’s eighth graduating class, 96 people stepped off the stage with a diploma in hand and a job offer already lined up. The center is run by Berkeley-based Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency (BOSS), in collaboration with La Familia Counseling Services, which provides mental health services in Alameda and Contra Costa counties; Five Keys Schools & Programs, a nonprofit that began as a charter school run out of a county jail; the Alameda County Probation Department and Peralta Community Colleges.

BOSS began in the 1970s as a program focusing primarily on mitigating homelessness in Berkeley, spurred by then-Governor Ronald Reagan’s policies that dramatically cut resources to mental health services across the state and led to an increase in the number of people with mental illnesses who were without permanent housing. Over the course of a few decades, program directors and volunteers opened and ran shelters across the Bay Area in places like Oakland, Berkeley and Hayward.

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