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County Recognizes CalWORKs Participants’ Success at 20th Annual Achievement Awards Ceremony

Local Residents Praised for their Efforts to Succeed with Training and Support Through Social Services Agency Employment Program

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – Today, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors honored ten CalWORKs participants for their personal, educational, and employment accomplishments, along with De Anza Community College-Occupational Training Institute (OTI) and local employer Edible Arrangements. The recognition was part of the 20th Annual CalWORKs Achievement Awards ceremony that acknowledges participants’ outstanding efforts to succeed through the Social Services Agency employment program training, and support from local organizations and employers.

“I am truly inspired by these honorees,” said Supervisor Ken Yeager, President of the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “Their stories remind us that a little support and a lot of determination can help us overcome even the biggest obstacles.”

“It is encouraging to see the County Social Services Agency build strong partnerships within the community to assist residents in need,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Dave Cortese, Chair of the Board’s Children, Seniors and Families Committee. “We commend the Social Services Agency and the organizations and employers who have contributed to the participants’ success.”

The Board of Supervisors highlighted the contributions of two outstanding community partners for their commitment to hiring and supporting CalWORKs participants.

Long-standing Social Services Agency partner De Anza Community College – Occupational Training Institute (OTI) received the Community Partner of the Year Award for their work with participants on new educational, training and professional journeys, through the SCC Works program. Over the years, Occupational Training Institute, in partnership with the Employment Services Bureau, has successfully implemented numerous programs benefiting hundreds of individuals and families.

Edible Arrangements received The CalWORKs Employer of the Year Award for their active participation in the SCC Works program and for offering CalWORKs participants with permanent employment opportunities. In the past 12 months, Edible Arrangements has trained over 12 SCC Works participants and hired six CalWORKs clients.

“The local businesses and community partners supporting these programs make it possible for poor local residents to move their families from poverty to self-sufficiency,” said Social Services Agency Director Will Lightbourne. “We salute both OTI and Edible Arrangements for training and hiring welfare-to-work participants transitioning them to employment.”

Individuals recognized today were CalWORKs participants Loan Bui, Brielle Ciarlanti, Jearenna Franklin, David Morales, Olga Rodriguez, Veronica Torres, Anh Tran, Joshua Sanchez-Cornillez, Tara Sotelo and Sarah Valentine. OTI Supervisor Daniel Dishno received the Community Partner of the Year on behalf of De Anza College Occupational Training Institute; Xochitl Rodriguez received the Employer of the Year Award on behalf of Edible Arrangements for their outstanding contribution to Social Services Agency’s CalWORKs program and the community.

Immediately following the awards ceremony, honorees, their families, and Board members attended a reception outside the Board Chambers.

About the County’s CalWORKs and the SCC Works Program

The CalWORKs program provides participants with relevant job skills, a plan for success, and the tools to prepare participants for employment opportunities that lead to self-sufficiency.
Currently, there are approximately 16,093 families on public assistance and 6,007 individuals are participating in the CalWORKs Employment Services program. This year, eight of the ten honored clients also participated in the SCC Works Program. SCC Works is the County’s subsidized employment program made possible by the Federal Stimulus Program. Over 1,500 individuals obtained subsidized employment, which made it possible for them to gain valuable skills through on-the-job training.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Dana McQuary, Social Services Agency (408) 491-6750
Posted: December 14, 2010