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Destination: Work

It has become increasingly difficult for low-income residents to secure and maintain stable housing. There is no metropolitan area in the country where a minimum wage worker can afford a modest 2-bedroom apartment, and living wage job opportunities remain limited for our poorest and most vulnerable residents – particularly those who are either experiencing homelessness or have recently exited homelessness.

Through our Destination: Work initiative, we’re developing new pathways to living-wage careers that are critical to helping more people achieve long-term housing stability, and ultimately, reducing homelessness in our community.

Employment Pathway Initiatives, Operations Manual »

The Need to Create Living Wage Job Pathways

In 2017, we launched an effort to help recently-housed individuals earn a living wage. Through this two-year pilot, we found that formerly homeless individuals faced significant barriers to securing full-time, living wage employment and achieving longer-term economic mobility.

For one, recently-housed individuals often lack one or more of the requisite job skills needed to succeed in the workforce. Many also continue to struggle with trauma from their time on the streets that can affect their motivation or preparedness to take on and maintain full-time work. In addition, many people with lived experience have significant employment gaps or a criminal history, making them less attractive to prospective employers in a competitive job market. Thus, it should come as little surprise that only 17% of employed clients in our Supportive Housing System make $17.50/hour or more.

From this assessment, it became clear that formerly homeless individuals need specialized employment assistance and graduated pathways towards living-wage employment in order to increase economic mobility and long-term housing stability.

Connecting Formerly Homeless Individuals
to Living Wage Jobs

Through our Destination: Work initiative, we’re creating living wage job pathways that will help formerly homeless individuals secure the income necessary to remain stably housed and become economically self-sufficient. The initiative is currently focused on helping recently-housed individuals secure living wage jobs, and built around two key strategies:

Providing Targeted Employment Assistance

Helping Individuals Earn
Immediate Income

While not all recently-housed individuals may be prepared for a living-wage employment, we’ll help clients secure part- or full- time jobs that can serve as a critical first step towards self-sufficiency and future employment success.

Providing Individuals with Career & Vocational Training
As individuals start earning income, we’ll also help them build the job skills and training that will be necessary to transition into living-wage employment.

Connecting Individuals with
Living Wage Jobs

Once individuals fill out their resume with both recent job experience and a robust set of job skills, we’ll help connect them with the type of full-time, living-wage jobs needed to remain stably housed.

Expanding Living Wage Job Opportunities

Forging Employment Pathways
in Local Government

Following the model established by the ACE program in San Francisco, we’re partnering with the City of San Jose and the County of Santa Clara to create a direct pathway for formerly homeless individuals to start a career in public service.

Building Bridges to Careers
within the Tech Industry

We’re working with tech companies to break down barriers to accessing the tremendous job opportunities in the private market.

Creating Social Enterprises
Recognizing the growing need for peer mentors, case managers, and property management as our County builds more supportive and deeply affordable housing developments, we’ll pilot the launch of a Property Management social enterprise staffed by formerly homeless individuals.

High-Growth Industry Pathways


Building & Construction Trades

Advanced Manufacturing

Technology & Professional

Our Targets

We’ve set aggressive targets for our first year, which we hope will serve as the foundation for the years to come. By the end of 2020:

We will have enrolled more than 85 people into JobTrain’s employment assistance program

85% or more will remain employed
90 days after being hired

65% or more will remain employed
180 days after being hired

60% or more will remain employed
1 year after being hired

More than 70% of individuals will be employed 30+ hours/week

More than 50% of individuals will earn a Living Wage of $17.50/hour or more

Generously supported by

City National BankExcite Credit UnionHeartland AllianceJobTrainCity of San JoseThe County of Santa Clara