Mid-Market Businesses Promote Jobs for Locals
| By Ted Andersen |
Getting a new job isn’t easy, and even amid a thriving technology industry in San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood, a stark disconnect persists between an underserved community and local employers.
But public and private sector jobs do exist, and with this in mind, a handful of companies hosted a job fair on August 9 at The Hall on Market Street. About a dozen groups tabled at the event, including the city’s Office of Economic Development and Workforce and Code Tenderloin, a local non-profit dedicated getting people off the streets and into local tech jobs.
“This is the easy door to walk into because there are not a bunch of suits and security guards. It’s hard to walk into those other buildings with the security guards and try to ask for an application,” said Del Seymour, founder of Code Tenderloin who helped plan the job fair six months ago. “So this gives that confidence of I can walk in and people will talk to me.”
The job fair drew a visit from Mayor Ed Lee, who signaled his support for a balanced development along Market Street.
“This is the center of the city—I think Market Street has been our road to real evidence of success,” Mayor Lee said. “As long as we keep the people here, whether they’re in the Tenderloin or South of Market or on Mid-Market, to be our focus and be part of it rather than be moved by it, I think we’re doing the right thing and I think this part of what the DNA of San Francisco is all about.”
Other organizations tabling at the event included Larkin Street Youth Services, the Tenderloin Housing Clinic, Solutions SF and the non-profit CityBuild, which offers construction job readiness training and employment sponsorship as a union apprentice for San Francisco residents.
For those whose criminal records stand in the way of a good job, Code for America offered a “Clear My Record” booth. According to Jazmyn Latimer, lead designer for Code for America’s Safety and Justice Team, the program represents a partnership with the SF Public Defender’s Office aiming to expunge low-level crimes from people’s records in order to get them back to work.
“One of the biggest barriers to getting jobs, especially in this area, is having a previous criminal conviction on their record,” Latimer said. “It’s very difficult to get your record cleared—it’s complicated. So we decided to take the footwork away and make it easier.”
SFPD Tenderloin Station Captain Teresa Ewins also attended the event. Ewins said the fast money associated with drug dealing and theft is what often draws people to a life of crime, but that more and more, people looking for employment are approaching her for tips.
“We are trying to change the conversation,” Ewins said. “The goal is to let people know that there is another option.”