Why I Give Wednesday: MEDA Workforce Development Program Manager Orrian Willis

1931-12092015_dev-why i give wednesday images-orrian willis_blog_v1To celebrate this season of giving and thankfulness, every Wednesday we will showcase staff, Board members, volunteers and clients telling what this Mission District, San Francisco nonprofit brings to their lives.

After graduating from college a little over five years ago, I applied to a number of jobs. Like many recent college graduates, I was confused and anxious about my career path. I knew I wanted to find meaningful work, but struggled to find anything substantial. I became increasingly frustrated, realizing that my college education had not prepared me to navigate the hypercompetitive job market of the San Francisco Bay Area. After some challenging times, I decided to seek outside help. I worked with a local employment services organization so I could polish my resume and job search skills. The relationship I developed with my job coach was, without a doubt, one of the most valuable educational experiences I’ve ever been a part of. Ironically, I ended up being hired as a counselor for the organization from which I had originally sought help.

“Little did I know it would be one of the best decisions I ever made. After two and half years of professional growth, I made the transition to MEDA, an organization with a strong reputation for economic opportunity. I knew that my role as a job developer was the right fit for me at that stage in my career. I empathize with our clients because, like them, I have sought job coaching help in the past. I saw so much value in MEDA’s work and was appreciative for its broad range of free asset-building programs. Programs like Workforce Development have a special place in my heart because I know that they’re not everywhere and they give people hope.

“As for my attraction to the neighborhood, I’ve had a special affinity for the Mission District since I was kid. At one time, I even enrolled in neighborhood Spanish classes. Not only has the community helped my education, but it has also inspired me. To this day, I still consider the Mission to be the heart and soul of San Francisco. The neighborhood never ceases to amaze me — it’s literally the warmest place in the city, and the most energetic.

“I’ve grown much during my time with MEDA, professionally and personally, from an early career professional to a seasoned Workforce Development program manager. MEDA has also supported me as a new father. I’m very grateful to work at MEDA because it feels like my extended family. MEDA is an organization that really practices what it preaches — it’s creating equal opportunities for everyone to thrive, from clients to staff!

Orrian Willis
MEDA Workforce Development Program Manager

Please donate today to empower your community and help MEDA continue to provide free services to over 7,000 low-income clients each year!

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