Skip to main content

Supervisors Support "Whole Person" Approach to Career Advancement

SAN JOSE – The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a one-time grant for a new, innovative employment program designed to assist some of our hardest-to-place residents. The program will be administered by NOVAworks and will provide resources, support, job preparatory services, and training individually tailored to program participants. The NOVAworks effort is designed to increase household wealth, career mobility, and provide access to employment opportunities in several industries.

“Sometimes it’s not enough – just having a good resumé in hand – to get a job,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Joe Simitian. “Sometimes there are hardships that prevent someone from even making it to an interview. This new effort will give folks the best possible chance to secure meaningful employment and a livable wage.”

The NOVAworks “Whole Person Pilot Program” is designed to eliminate barriers to employment while providing a comprehensive range of workforce and supportive services to address the “whole person”. These services include access to:

  • Career navigation training;
  • Occupational skills training;
  • Childcare, housing, and other supportive subsidies that will enable participants to focus on training, learning, and employment opportunities; and,
  • Employment opportunities with upward career mobility.

NOVAworks is a nonprofit employment and training agency that focuses on workforce development skills. They will be looking to identify potential program participants from historically excluded communities in their service area of Cupertino, Los Altos, Milpitas, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale.

“We’ll have a widespread and inclusive outreach process, and aim to assist everyone who’s looking for a job or career training; through this pilot program, or through our standard NOVAworks services,” says Marlena Sessions, Director at NOVAworks. “We want to screen people in, not filter them out.”

NOVAworks will leverage its existing partnerships with local colleges and universities, adult schools, and other educational and training institutions to provide appropriate short-term job training for program participants.

With goals of higher wages and upward career mobility, NOVAworks will provide the following core services for the program:

  • Training in resumé development;
  • Training in interview participation; and,
  • Training for professional work development.

In addition, NOVAworks will partner with regional employers with job vacancies. Potential partners include:

  • Local universities and colleges;
  • Union apprenticeships;
  • Companies within the life sciences and semiconductor industries;
  • Regional Chambers of Commerce; and,
  • Santa Clara County.

To increase the success rate of the Whole Person Pilot Program, NOVAworks is looking to develop partnerships with public and private childcare providers to provide limited childcare support for program participants. Other supportive services, such as housing subsidies or transportation assistance, may be made available on an “as needed” basis.

“This partnership between the County of Santa Clara and NOVAworks couldn’t come at a better time,” said Simitian. “Local companies are hiring, so the jobs are there. We just need to match the skills of our candidates with what the market is looking for.”

“That means meeting each candidate where they are, and helping them get to where they need to be. Given the combination of inflation and the high cost of living in our area, securing a job with room for growth can be the difference between thriving and homelessness. This is an incredible opportunity for those who are accepted into the NOVAworks pilot program. I’m glad we found a way to include out County in the pilot,” said Simitian.

# # #