Student Success Stories

Jenice Gonzales

Jenice Gonzales was a single mother of two seeking a typing certificate to start her on the path to a secretarial job. Her dream position was to work in a school setting, but that seemed pretty distant.
Until it wasn’t.

After contacting EASTBAYWorks, Gonzales quickly learned of the opportunities to expand her education and improve her job prospects. She also found out she could get financial assistance for tuition through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

“I had no clue they offered all of the things they did,” she says.

With the aid, Gonzales began taking classes at Liberty Adult Education in Brentwood. She jumped into training on Advanced Microsoft Office programs, gaining mastery of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It boosted her résumé with the skills she needed to get the job she wanted.

In October 2016, Gonzales landed a secretarial job at O’Hara Park Middle School in Oakley. The job is what she had always hoped for.

Abraham Acianoh

A language barrier and culture shock made traditional high school difficult for Abraham Acianoh.

“I was intimidated because of the language. It was a fast-paced environment,” he says. “That’s why I wasn’t a fan of high school. I didn’t want to go.”

A native of Guinea, Acianoh immigrated to the U.S. at age 17 to be with his family in Concord. His mother, who moved to the United States when Acianoh was just 3 years old, had already learned English thanks to Mt. Diablo Adult Education.

But Acianoh needed to catch up. He started taking English as a second language (ESL) classes through a Mt. Diablo Adult Education program held at the Loma Vista Adult Center.

Hamida Hakimi Roshangar

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Hamida Hakimi Roshangar left Afghanistan in 2016 to reunite with her husband who had been in the U.S. for two years already.

She brought with her a bachelor’s degree and 10 years of experience working within the Afghan Parliament. Eager to begin working in the United States, Hamida promptly submitted her résumé to many employers. Given her experience, she expected to find a job quickly. But she didn’t. This left Hakimi struggling with an overwhelming feeling of uselessness.

“I was totally lost. I lost my identity I was really helpless, really scared,” Hamida says. “There was nobody to help me. There was nobody to guide me. Where do I start from? I had no idea.”

At that point, she realized she needed to become educated in the United States to work here. Her husband had taken ESL classes through Mt. Diablo Adult Education and recommended Project ACCESS to Hamida.