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East Bay Food Service Workers Take Another Step Towards Creating Local Food Economy

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Photo used by permission of RichmondWORKSThe 21 East Bay residents hired by Food Service Partners (FSP) for its new Richmond food processing facility were among the graduates of a recent ACES (Accelerating Careers Through Essential Skills) program created by RichmondWORKS, a city-funded one-stop career center.

The ACES program will train a total of 100 food sector job-seekers on job retention and workplace skills, with a focus on “attitude, attendance, appearance, ambition, accountability, acceptance and appreciation.”

The FSP hires are helping to build a local, sustainable food economy in the East Bay as part of ECC’s Anchors for Resilient Communities initiative. “The initiative’s ultimate aim is to increase economic and climate resilience in three frontline communities, including the East Bay, thereby building community health and wealth,” explained Emerald Cities Oakland Director Tara Marchant.

“The RichmondWORKS training was well-timed,” she added, “as the local FSP hires began working on April 10, shortly after graduating from ACES.”

This innovative ACES program, run by the Richmond Employment and Development Department, is funded by the State of California Workforce Accelerator Fund. Richmond Employment and Training Director Sal Vaca, and Project Coordinator Rosemary Viramontes, along with the RichmondWORKS team, launched the first ACES class, which focused on food manufacturing, warehouse and production jobs.  

“The team members at RichmondWORKS are remarkable in their commitment to programs that support Richmond residents in employment and long-term career paths,” Marchant said. “We look forward to continued partnership with this team.”

Marchant noted that the ACES graduation was the same day as a graduation at RichmondBUILD, a 10-year-old public-private program that builds local residents’ skills in construction and renewable energy.

The RichmondBUILD website says its reputation for placing graduates in good-paying jobs in these high-growth, high-wage fields has led to fierce competition for enrollment – more than 100 residents compete for each class of 35. The website adds that all participants are from low-income households; 95 percent are minorities; and more than 30 percent have a history with the justice system. 

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