Over the last 20 years, thousands of Juvenile Court and
Community Schools students have gotten employment opportunities at a wide
variety of businesses thanks to the JCCS Work Readiness program.
Ed Rulenz, a JCCS resource teacher, started the program in
1994 and has organized it ever since.
In addition to helping students find jobs, the program also
helps them get back into school and find appropriate housing. The program
includes career centers in San Diego and East County, resource fairs, field
trips, occupational training, and driver education.
Rulenz even help students get shirts, ties and shoes for
interviews if they need it.
“I do whatever I can to help them get that job,” he said.
A former JCCS student who was hired fulltime after
an internship is Andrew Baldwin, who has worked at the San Diego County Office
of Education (SDCOE) for the last 10 years.
When he was 17, he was a Juvenile Court and Community
Schools student and was having a hard time finding a job. Then, he heard about
the Work Readiness program and got help with where to look, how to tighten up
his resume, and how to do well in a job interview.
“I wouldn’t be here
if it wasn’t for that program and for Ed Rulenz,” he said. “It’s crazy to think
about how different my life would be.”
The JCCS Work Readiness program has been supported through a
variety of grants and partnerships. Grant money from the San Diego Workforce
Partnership covers the paid internships. Money from the Office of Juvenile
Justice pays for re-entry services and to help students pursue high-tech
The students in the program usually get about 100 hours of
work over the course of a couple of months as part of their internships. They
get paid and can get school credit as well.
Rulenz says he tries to find students a job that they’re
interested in. He works with many partners in the community to help them find
the right opportunity.