Program prepares graduates for workforce in Fremont

Bay Area

FREMONT, Calif. (KRON) – The future looks bright for the first round of graduates of a free first of its kind program in Fremont, that helped place them into jobs during the pandemic.

The free program in Fremont is called ‘Earn and Learn.’ We first told you about this in March.

Two months later, that’s exactly what happened for the graduates of that manufacturing course.

The whole point was to give locals the gift of a better paying job in the thick of the pandemic.

KRON4 spoke with the professor and one of the graduates who says he has been blessed by the opportunity.

California ended 2020 with a ten percent unemployment rate – the third highest in the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Fortunately for Reginald Battle, not only did he get a job but a better-paying career during the pandemic – all thanks to a free, first-of-its-kind program, born from a partnership between the city of Fremont, Ohlone College, Work 2 Future, Alameda County and evolve manufacturing technologies.

“When you’re down and out you really think that there’s no hope and so that’s the first thing we need to keep alive is the hope and keep the determination. The way I look at it, if you look real hard, someone will see that and someone will help you. That’s what happened to me,” Reginald Battle said. 

Battle now works at Evolve and is one of 17 people who all graduated from the pilot program called ‘Earn and Learn Fremont’ to help people jumpstart a new career in manufacturing.

The help they got during the pandemic is in turn helping others getting through the pandemic too.

Most of the graduates are manufacturing rapid COVID-19 test kits, ventilators, and other necessities.

Professor Dr. Rose-Margaret Ekeng-Itua is happy the curriculum cultivated local talent in the span of about two months to reenter the workforce with new skills when many people struggled to get back on their feet.

Keeping more manufacturing jobs in the U.S. could potentially help the problem in the supply chain exposed during the pandemic.

Dr. Ekeng-Itua shared that our report on KRON4 in March really helped get the word out so hopefully more people learn about the earn and learn Fremont program.

If you are interested, email the city at econdev@fremont.gov or visit the website.

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