EAST PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 27, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sharon Williams, JobTrain's long-time executive director, will step away from her position in late spring or early summer. A reception and dinner will be held at the Four Seasons Silicon Valley in East Palo Alto on March 9 to celebrate Sharon's leadership and to raise funds for her "Life Skills" legacy to JobTrain.
Sharon joined JobTrain as a GED teacher in 1973 and became Director of Development in 1978. She took the helm as Executive Director in 1979. During her thirty plus years in JobTrain's top spot, Sharon and her team transformed a beleaguered nonprofit into a premier job training and placement institution. Major accomplishments include the purchase and renovation of a 31,000 square foot training facility; accreditation through Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC); creation of cutting edge training; and a diverse funding base that includes support from prestigious Silicon Valley leaders and corporations.Sharon's most valuable contribution to JobTrain is perhaps the most difficult to define. Often referred to as JobTrain's "secret sauce", it is the upbeat and energetic spirit that permeates the organization. "We believe in the potential of every person who comes to us," says Sharon, "and that helps them believe in themselves. Once they know they can succeed, the challenge is nearly won." JobTrain currently helps 8,000 people each year, 500-600 of them through full-time vocational training. At least 85% of those who enroll complete their training; 75% are placed in jobs; and 12 months after placement, 84% are still working. Vocational training skills constitute one important aspect of a multi-faceted approach to success. "Vocational skills prepare our graduates for employment. These skills get them hired and help them launch careers," says Sharon. "But their life skills, their attitudes and habits, will determine long-term life success and deeper happiness." Life skills are modeled by JobTrain staff and are incorporated into every trainee's daily experience at JobTrain. Life skills are also taught as a stand-alone course.