Bayview Hunters Point Community Celebrates Groundbreaking Education and Jobs Program
Graduation Ceremony And All-Day Block Party Brings Together Over 300 Community Members, City Officials, Families, And Labor Leaders To Celebrate The First Class Of Ten Students In A Program Designed To Help Residents Succeed As San Francisco Local Hires
SAN FRANCISCO—In a community where the media and even the general public are too often quick to highlight negative incidents or tragedies, June 8 found Bayview Hunters Point coming together for a community-wide celebration of success as over 300 residents join in the uplifting recognition of the achievements of 10 young people participating in a groundbreaking education and jobs initiative. The ABU GED Program is part of a comprehensive partnership between Bayview job advocates Aboriginal Blackman United, nonprofits the A. Philip Randolph Institute and Brightline Defense Project, and the City and County of San Francisco to prepare residents of San Francisco’s low-income communities for success under San Francisco’s landmark local hiring law.
In six short months, the program has already helped six students obtain their General Educational Development certificate to meet the high school diploma requirement of many construction apprenticeship programs, and four more students are only one test short of their certificate. Twenty-five more students have already signed up for the next class, and graduates will be saluted during a ceremony today from noon to 1, which will be bookended by an all-day neighborhood block party, featuring food, music, beverages with cotton candy, popcorn, jump houses, and face painting for the young people.
Graduates of the program will now qualify for employment on San Francisco city-funded construction projects under the city’s mandatory local hiring law, which guarantees job opportunities in the construction industry for San Francisco residents. Labor leaders from different local unions such as the Laborers Union Local 261 will be on hand to support today’s celebration. For many young people and adults, the lack of a high school diploma can be a barrier to employment as a local hire, and the ABU GED program is part of an overarching approach to breaking down these barriers and continuing the City’s successful implementation of the landmark law.
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan Kelly, a key supporter of the program within city leadership, celebrated with graduates and their families, alongside District Ten Supervisor Malia Cohen.
"The graduates of ABU's groundbreaking program now have a critical educational tool in order to embark on the next stage of their career, not only as a potential local hire in construction, but in other fields as well," said Brightline executive director Joshua Arce.