With a snip of the scissors by Interim President Marie-Elaine Burns, the long-awaited Career Institute and Job Center officially opened to a crowd of well-wishers and a promise of training and employment assistance to students and community members seeking help. Faculty, staff, students, community members, and special guests flowed into the newly renovated space filled with computers, phones, and other tools offering opportunities for success. Photos of career programs at Merritt rotated across two screens.
“Thank you for celebrating with us,” said Dean Robbie Kunkel, who coordinated and oversees the Center. “It’s because of the many streams of funding that we are able to open this center to serve community members at whatever point they are in their lives. We are here to serve a variety of populations who may need individual support in creating new directions, and we look forward to being part of the journey to sustainable employment and successful careers.”
Dr. Jeff Lamb, Vice President of Instruction, spoke of the center’s ability to “create connections between students and industry partners, as well as offer a broadened scope of training, spanning the range from academic and career-technical education to career-readiness and career-development.
Special guests and speakers included Dr. Yashica Crawford, District Chief of Staff, as well as representatives from the Salvation Army, Employment Development Department, and Oakland Workforce Development Board, one of the center’s partners. The newly formed Career Institute staff (pictured) introduced themselves and spoke enthusiastically of the contributions they would be ma
king to the Center.
The Career Institute was dedicated to former President Barack Obama, whose Workforce Innovations and Opportunities Act (WIOA), which provided federal funds to the Center, made it possible.