Free Workshop Helps Oakland Businesses Connect with Local Talent Pools to fill Vacant Positions

Date Posted: July 9th, 2019 @ 11:04 AM
Last Updated: July 22nd, 2019 @ 1:39 PM

In response to one of the most frequent challenges faced by Oakland business owners, the City’s Economic & Workforce Development Department (EWDD) will host a free workshop on attracting, training and retaining employees on Thursday, July 25. The Hidden Figures: The Power of the Untapped Talent Pool workshop will be held in the Huey Newton & Bobby Seale Student Lounge at Merritt College, 12500 Campus Drive, from 8 to 11:15 a.m.

“With the region’s historically low unemployment rate, we often hear from business owners how challenging it is to hire and retain employees,” said Mark Sawicki, Director of Economic & Workforce Development. “This workshop will feature panelists who have successfully connected with untapped local talent, and taken advantage of the resources provided by the City and our partners to help employers attract, train and retain workers.”

Register for the free workshop at

During the first panel, local employers will share their success in tapping into hidden talent pools to find candidates for vacant positions. Panelists will include:

  • Rehana Lerandeau, Fair Chance Programs Manager at Checkr
  • Anthea Charles, Director at Marriott Foundation Bridges
  • Tony Ozuna, Field HR Specialist at U.S. Coast Guard

During the second panel, business owners will share case studies on how they have successfully grown their own talent within their companies through internships and training. Participants on the second panel will be:

  • Felicia Duncan, Program Manager for KP LAUNCH at Kaiser Permanente
  • James Gardner, Ph.D., Executive Director, Association of Manufacturers Bay Area
  • Pamm Shaw, Vice President, Early Childhood Impact, YMCA of the East Bay

The event concludes with a panel of service providers to highlight the resources and services available to Oakland business owners to attract, train and retain employees.

  • Renée Pierce, Economic Development Analyst, CA Employment Training Panel
  • Alfredo Mathew, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Earn & Learn East Bay
  • Poonum Patel, Senior Business Development Specialist, California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development
  • Sonja Brooks, Business Services/Community Relations Manager, Oakland Private Industry Council

Mr. Bob Lanter, Executive Director of the California Workforce Association, will serve as emcee of the event.

This event is the latest in an ongoing series of City-hosted business service workshops for companies of all sizes held in Oakland’s neighborhoods versus at City Hall.

In addition to the informative panels, there will be a resource fair where participants can learn about available business support services offered by the City and its partners.

The panels will be delivered in English with simultaneous ASL, Cantonese and Spanish interpretation. The meeting location is wheelchair accessible. To request any additional disability-related accommodations or interpretation in an additional language, please email or call (510) 238-3630 (711 for relay service) at least five working days before the meeting.

The workshop is presented by the Oakland Workforce Development Board, a program of the Economic & Workforce Development Department.

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Media Contact

Harry Hamilton
Economic & Workforce Development Department

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