Workforce Accelerator Grant in Sacramento Opens Doors to Exciting Educational Partnerships

From the top seats of Raley Field, baseball fans can enjoy a beautiful view of the Sacramento River and city skyline. The river is an icon of Sacramento culture, as evidenced by two of our newest partners: the Sacramento River Cats and American River College. Together, Juma Sacramento is thriving and expanding their program offerings to ensure every young person in California’s capital city has access to the opportunities they need to thrive.

The Sacramento River Cats, a Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, and Juma Sacramento launched their partnership in 2018. Unlike most sports teams who run their concessions services through a contract with a national concession company, the River Cats management team personally handles every aspect of the field and its many vendors, creating a great fit for a Juma partnership. “Juma is able to help the River Cats by ensuring youth are fully trained and equipped to provide top tier customer service, and to fill in any gaps in their staffing while providing youth with more opportunities to earn and learn”, says Stephen Norris, Juma Sacramento Director of Development.

Alongside the expanded employment opportunities, Juma Sacramento will also be working in 2019 to pilot an innovative education partnership with American River College thanks to a grant from the California Workforce Development Board’s Workforce Accelerator Fund. “The goal of an Accelerator Grant like this one is not to fund strategies that have been proven, but to try new things which could be scaled successfully to other programs and parts of the state,” says Stephen. “We’re excited to gain learnings that can help not only Juma but also potentially inform the actions of other organizations.”

While the California community college system is renowned for its inclusivity and excellence in educational programming, for many youth, navigating such a large system can be daunting. Schools often have programs and services for everything from grants to cover the cost of books and supplies to mental health resources for managing stress, but for a first generation college student, accessing those resources can be a barrier in and of itself. The partnership between Juma and American River College will help youth to navigate the system by allowing Juma managers and case managers at the college to work hand-in-hand to help youth overcome barriers and access resources. “Our goal is to create a learning community for Juma youth who can come together with their shared experiences and help support one another,” says Stephen. Like Juma, American River College works to bridge gaps between training and employment, so there will be opportunities for youth who earn a certification to move straight into a career. Certification diplomas range from from agricultural skills to electric and utilities repair to automotive repair, offering youth more options to find a program that suits their individual interests and needs.