Walking young lives out of poverty You can change lives today! Make a gift
Taller San Jose is an innovative program in Central Orange County that empowers young adults--who have fallen through the cracks of all existing support services—to move out of poverty by teaching them how to get and keep employment with a living wage.
Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange in 1995 in Santa Ana, California, Taller San Jose provides unemployed, undereducated and unskilled young adults, who have gotten off track in life, with the job training and life skills necessary to support themselves and their families.
In Spanish, a taller is a workshop, a place to build and repair things. “San Jose” is Spanish for St. Joseph, the patron of workers. At Taller San Jose, troubled young people work to both turn their lives around and develop job skills for a brighter future.
Taller San Jose recruits Orange County youth, who are completely disconnected from the workforce and all educational opportunities. The program targets young adults, who are:
- Between the ages of 18-28
- Unemployed or underemployed and unskilled
- Low income
- Gang or criminally involved
- Pregnant or parenting
Young people who enroll in Taller San Jose demonstrate that they are ready to change their life trajectories by: completing and submitting an application, participating in an interview, passing a drug test, meeting basic skills (5th – 8th grade math and reading level) requirements and possessing right-to-work documents.
Based on the belief that young people don’t learn how to work by sitting in a classroom, Taller San Jose is a 24-month intensive program that simulates the workforce. Youth are paid a $100 weekly stipend during their 16-20 weeks of skills training and are expected to show up every day, on time and drug free. Each training academy has three focuses: Hard Skill Development—hands-on training in Construction, Healthcare or General Business; Life Skills—case management and ongoing personal development; and Employability—job readiness preparation, job placement and retention.
Since 1995, Taller San Jose has helped more than 4,500 young adults finish their education and develop marketable skills. The average starting wage of graduates is $11.13/hr and 70% of students remain employed one year after graduation.