Plaza Adelante was filled with youthful enthusiasm yesterday, as 10 Young Adult program graduates celebrated the successful completion of their courses. The families of clients, MEDA staff and community members were on hand to applaud the achievements of these latest cohorts. MEDA’s free programs are aimed at young adults from underserved communities, offering a path to a career.
Bilingual Bank Tellers
The first graduation, scheduled for late morning, was for the Bilingual Bank Teller program. Such jobs are the gateway to a successful career in the financial sector.
To showcase the maturation that had occurred, the six graduates shared their experience of the past 10 weeks. They concurred that they were nervous at the beginning, but that their confidence was now boosted.
Besides having a honed skill set, the group explained how they now also have a revised resume, an elevator pitch at the ready and improved interview skills, the latter because of mock interviews held at MEDA under the guidance of Job Coach Olivia Quinonez.
Additionally, VISTA SparkPoint volunteer Mark Marsella taught financial capability to the cohort, with certificates being handed out for this complementary course.
Graduate Wilfredo Gil spoke on behalf of his cohort, explaining the value of the Bilingual Bank Teller program as follows: “I feel as if I have gained many skills. I learned how to do standard banking things, while also learning how to budget my expenses. Leo and Olivia were the best instructors we could have asked for–they helped us every step of the way.”
The room was then packed for the 1pm festivities for the Mission Techies, where a path to an IT career is started, with everything from coding to soft skills in the curriculum.
Family and friends evidencing looks of pride on their faces surrounded the four equally beaming graduates. Technology Training Coordinator Leo Sosa, who spearheads this innovative program, welcomed the attendees.
The crowd even included Mission Techie Mercy Mena’s five-year-old son and fellow classmate Ramiro Quezada’s three-month-old daughter. Mercy, who graduated at an older age than the once maximum age of 24 to be eligible for the program, set a precedent for the community. Ramiro works nights and wants a job in the tech sector to better the life of his family.
The Mission Techies celebration was emceed by Elijah Toluao (photo), who eloquently stated how Sosa’s “drilling” had “made him a better man.” Mercy claimed she had “never met a man with as much enthusiasm” as Sosa.
Everyone was inspired by the graduates’ determination to be a part of San Francisco’s tech sector. They dare to dream of such a job despite the diversity gap of only three percent of the tech workforce being African-American and only four percent being Latino, according to statistics presented in the keynote speech delivered by MEDA Policy Manager Gabriel Medina. The Techies were advised that they are now part of the MEDA family and should never hesitate to come through the doors of Plaza Adelante if they need assistance. “We will fight for you,” finished Medina.
“The Mission Techies Program continues to be a successful, fast track IT career path for those looking to be part of the tech sector. This class was very special, as we included such competencies as Coding (Java), Intro to Networking and College Preparation,” stated Sosa, who knows this program is making an impact.