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2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Jewish Vocational & Career Counseling Service

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Job Training, Vocational Counseling, Vocational Rehabilitation

Mission: JVS transforms lives by helping people build skills and find jobs to achieve self-sufficiency. For more than 40 years, JVS (Jewish Vocational Service) has strengthened our Bay Area community by helping Bay Area job seekers to build in-demand skills and confidence, make connections and secure work within a career pathway.

Results: Since 1973, more than 80,000 job seekers have developed in-demand skills, made connections and landed jobs through JVS. Last year, JVS helped job seekers find nearly 800 jobs at an adult average wage of $29/hour.

Geographic areas served: the Bay Area.

Programs: Our programs focus on three in-demand industries where we have connections and a strong training background: healthcare, technology and financial services.

Healthcare

We have decades of experience helping people secure jobs in healthcare with partnerships with some of the Bay Area’s largest employers, such as Kaiser Permanente, California Pacific Medical Center, University of California San Francisco Medical Center and John Muir Health. We retrain foreign nurses and help them be competitive here in the United States. We also lead the City’s Healthcare Academy and coordinate the efforts of many service providers to train people for jobs as medical assistants, medical administrative assistants and personal caregivers.

Technology

Through a grant from the Department of Labor, JVS launched a suite of technology programs to help long-term unemployed adults build skills to become competitive for jobs in the Bay Area. We currently offer programs in Salesforce administration, digital marketing and tech business administration.

Financial Services

BankWork$ is a nationally recognized program where job seekers can apply for an 8-week training to prepare for entry-level sales and service positions within banking.

Our Job Search Accelerator covers the essentials for job seekers to get organized and assess what is needed for their job search. The program starts with 36 hours of in-person job search essentials training, followed by weekly group meetings and opportunities to meet one-on-one with a career advisor. We also offer workshops that focus on specific job search topics, such as resume writing, job search strategy, networking, interviewing, LinkedIn and more.

Working with Youth

We have a 20+ year history of collaborating with many other organizations such as the San Francisco Unified School District and the Department of Children, Youth and Their Families to help youth with barriers to employment (ages 14-24) graduate high school, get work experience and build skills to succeed as adults. Services and programs incorporate career exploration, job shadowing opportunities and internship experience to promote the long-term success of youth.

Community Stories

13 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Susan P.

Client Served

Rating: 5

JVS is the BEST. They provide the most comprehensive, compassionate service. What cannot be quantified is the intense humanity of nearly every interaction I have had with their staff. It is a place that walks the talk in terms of respect and dignity. After a brutal termination, JVS has played a crucial role in my ability to stay sane and even recover from a horribly wounding experience. I really don't know what I would have done without them. When I rule the world, JVS is funded for eternity.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a disabled person with an invisible disability that causes a lot of problems for me at work. JVS, as they are known here in San Francisco, has an excellent vocational program specifically tailored to the disability community. I worked with Brandi Mandato as my careeer counselor who was very, very, good. She had great professional boundaries while at the same time was genuine and empathetic to my particular case. With Brandi, I learned that I could actually find work that could meet my personal and professional needs. She actually convinced me that a primary goal of finding a job was for me to be happy. I had never been taught that before. I actually began to cry. With her help I was able to discover a field that meshed with my schedule and ADA accommodation needs. In addition to the counseling services I utilized and occassionally still use the TAC which is JVS' computer lab and resource center for all matter of job search needs. Directed by the marvelous, Rachel Schapira, the TAC is a place for all JVS clients to check their email; revise and update their resumes; create cover letters; learn new or sharpen skills with current and vital computer applications; and, of course, to search for and apply for jobs. It is an excellent resource!! The TAC is staffed by Rachel, an intern, and a slew of volunteers. Rachel is kind, gentle, professional and very knowledgeable about the tools needed to effectively communicate with prospective employers. Same for her support team. Always gracious and focused, it is easy to ask questions ranging from the seemingly minor ("Do you like this font on my resume?") to the very technical and/or nuanced (in my case: how to write a pungent yet brief cover letter, for example.) Excellent! Excellent!! Excellent!!! I could go on for hours singing the praises of this outstanding, professional, well-run, and mission-achieving organization. I am so glad I finally let myself stumble through their doors. I didn't really stumble, I walked upright--but it took me a long time to give myself the gift of this organization. And I am so glad I did! USE JVS! Just go there, no matter what your issues are, they have tools to help address them. Excellent workshops, recruiting sessions, mock-interviews: all of which I participated in and all led by dedicated, and conscious, knowledgeable professionals who have the outstanding knowledge and expertise to effectively educate the job seeker. Finally, I'll close with this anecdote: When your esteem is low because you are out of work, it easy to feel like your questions are an inconvenience, and I found myself and heard many of my fellow job-seekers open a request for help in the TAC with, "I'm sorry, but..." Rachel Schapira unfailingly responded with this very generous reply, "There's no need to apologize," and then get down to the business of helping us clients find good solutions. That really impressed me! And I now use that same expression often in my dealings with all matter of people who apologize to me when they haven't harmed or offended me in any way. I find it is a subtle reminder to people that it is always safe to ask to have their needs met. As a PTSD sufferer as a result of childhood abuse and neglect, this practice and gentle reminder of my own dignity is a great, great gift.

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

JVS is the most effective non-profit I have ever been associated with. I have served on many boards in both the for profit and non-profit sectors and I find this organization uses its board resources better than any other that I have ever seen. I have used JVS services for my business prior to joining the JVS board and I have recommended JVS to many of my friends who have been looking to find new work or upgrade careers. I have been on the JVS board for more than 10 years and am proud to note that from a user standpoint (both job seekers and businesses looking to find qualified candidates) as well as from a board perspective there is no better workforce development Agency within Northern California.

13 Jim Torrens

Former staff

Rating: 5

As a member of the JVS staff for more than seven years, I was immensely proud to be a part of an organization that was so effective at developing and implementing innovative services to help an incredible range of people - adults transitioning from welfare to work, refugees, people with disabilities, youth, low-wage workers - find not just jobs but careers. Now that I work at an organization, the Insight Center for Community Economic Development, whose National Network of Sector Partners initiative highlights best practices in workforce development, I find myself referring to JVS frequently as an exemplar and leader for the field and consulting with JVS staff as experts with lessons to share with others around the country.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

After 20 years of a very successful career as a freelance photo stylist, I found myself unemployed in May 2009. When I began to explore several options, I realized how much I needed to learn before I could actually apply for a job. Everything had changed in the entire job search process. In August, I discovered JVS and since then have been on an amazing journey. I soon became a full-time student taking advantage of the opportunity to learn many useful and important skills. The level of instruction has been excellent! Now I am fortified and supported in a most important way amd there is no question in my mind that without JVS I would not have a "Victory Garden" in my heart knowing that I will find a new job that fits and I will enjoy. I truly wish that JVS existed in every city and town throughout the US. I am forever grateful to JVS. Sandy Gasser, JVS Client

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer with JVS for the past year, and I am blown away by the scope of their services, the commitment of their staff and their ability to move clients from despair to hope in these difficult economic times.

7

Client Served

Rating: 4

JVS is a wonderfully supportive organization the is dedicated to helping individuals get back into the workforce. I've used their computer center which runs all the standard business software programs and has Internet access. I've also participated in their job support groups and 1 to 1 job counseling. JVS does great work and I highly recommend their programs and talented personnel.

3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer and board member for JVS for the last 13 years. I endorse everything said by the other reviewers about how effectively JVS meets its critical mission of connecting people with work. Perhaps I have remained involved so long because this agency, under the remarkable stewardship of its Executive Director and other committed professionals, is dynamic and nimble enough to adapt to changing economic conditions - all to the benefit of JVS's thousands of individual clients. More than anything else, helping people achieve their own potential, whether through finding the right job or through skills training, is the measure of JVS's success. I cannot imagine time or other resources better spent than in support of this organization.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

I just wrote about JVS on Facebook, and am including my review here: If you saw my post earlier this month, I shared my top New Year's Resolution - to pay it forward by choosing one charity a month to make a contribution to, and then to blog about it here on Facebook. I've set out to support a wide array of non-profits, from the arts and the environment to health and human services. This month, I made a gift to Jewish Vocational Service in San Francisco (JVS). I only became aware of JVS when my friend Jean Strunsky started extending invitations to their annual Strictly Business lunch (this year it's April 12). While the event lives up to its name and is known for its efficiency in getting everyone out of the ballroom within a two hour timeframe, it's the stories of the people who come through their programs that is so moving and inspiring. Imagine fleeing your war-torn country and having to start all over again, learning a new language, a new culture, and trying to find a job. Or being born with severe disabilities, physical or otherwise, and yearning to live independently. Or having your life radically altered by an accident, and suddenly you find yourself on another track. JVS helps people who have barriers to employment by offering a full range of services, from job training and skills building to resume writing and job placement, giving them the tools they need to become actively employed and self-sufficient. They also team up with a host of companies, from major retailers to law offices and hospitals, to help those companies find great employees. The work that JVS does is nothing short of astonishing. I've been wholly impressed by the organization's executive director, Abby Snay, and her ability to run JVS (they've earned the 4-star rating on Charity Navigator). I can only imagine that during this economic downturn when so many people are looking for work, JVS provides a vital service to our community. You can learn more about JVS by visiting their website at www.jvs.org. I hope you'll be just as inspired as I've been to support this wonderful organization.

5

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm so proud to be a client of this organization ,having such a very good staff and a lot of volunteers make JVS special. Coming from The War in Bosnia 1995 and be a new in this Country is very hard but with JVS was much easier Offering LVN Refresh Course for Immigrate Nurses was resolving my biggest problem,I Got back to track to be a Nurse and be wiling to do work what coming from the heart.I was recipient Award Employee of the year 2009.Thank You to JVS and I hope they will have more sponsors to help this Company to continue to help people get back to track with education and counseling

4

Client Served

Rating: 5

My experience with JVS was in 2007 when I applied to and was accepted into their Nurse Re-entry program that they ran in conjunction with City College of San Francisco. The training I received to be able to return to bedside nursing after an 18 year abscence was invaluable. Not only was I able to participate in brushing up on my nursing skills, JVS provided me with much needed help on resume building, interview skills and job hunting. I cannot say enough good things about them. In particular I would like to mention Jola Zandecki who is a wonderful asset to JVS. She really made the difference for me, helping me with my self-confidence and pushing me to keep trying even when I felt sure that no one would offer me a job. In closing, I would like to say that I have been working again as a Critical Care nurse in one of the major hospitals in San Francisco for the past 2 years.....thanks JVS!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

JVS consistently impresses me as one of the most effective, caring and well-run organizations in the local field. I work with a number of nonprofits that engage in job training, so I know that JVS rises above the pack with its range of programs, reach in the community, depth of services, integrity, and incredible attention to tracking and measuring the impact of its work. In the San Francisco Bay Area, it is consistently regarded as one of the top organizations doing this work. The executive director, Abby Snay, has an excellent reputation for compassion and competence - and she deserves it! The more I get to know JVS, the more impressed I am.

5

Board Member

Rating: 5

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." JVS is an amazing and effective organization, and I'm proud to have been on the board for five years. JVS helps thousands of people each year -- to find jobs, to train for new opportunities or new careers, to learn computer and vocation skills. I'm particularly proud of the work that JVS does with youth, particularly young people in foster care and youth with disabilities. The staff is innovative, resourceful and effective. JVS' work is particularly important in these stressful economic times, as the agency serves job seekers from every walk of life. JVS operates with lean efficiency, and each dollar donated is leveraged many times over by funding from government agencies and foundations.