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The Center’s Construction Liaisons Steer Residents to Jobs


The Center’s Construction Liaisons Steer Residents to Jobs

Ever since the groundbreaking for The Center in April 2016, Neighborhood Construction Liaisons Nayaa Lacy and Renia Webb have felt more excited about the positive community-wide impacts of the project as it progresses toward completion in 2017. They were hired from the community to update residents about the project and to ensure that local concerns  and needs are taken into account.


Through a state-of-the-art Central Kitchen, Instructional Farm and Education Center,  The Center in West Oakland aims to give kids the healthy food they deserve. Among other features, The Center will provide: roughly 30,000 square feet of space housing a new OUSD Central Kitchen, a teaching kitchen and instructional space to support Linked Learning career pathways in agriculture, culinary arts, botany and related fields, and a one acre instructional urban farm, greenhouse and produce market.


The Center will also eventually provide jobs for approximately 200 - 300 workers, and while all Oakland residents count toward the local hire goal for the project, preference will be given to residents in West Oakland.


Ms. Lacy and Ms. Webb are working hard to get the West Oakland community engaged in the building process. “I am taking flyers to all kinds of places where our community members congregate," Ms. Lacy said. “Mexicali Rose, libraries, churches, the Alameda County -Oakland Community Action Partnership, the Resident Action Council, and EBALDC (East Bay Asian Local Development Company) to name a few."


The flyers direct potential applicants to the West Oakland Job Resource Center for job-readiness training. Welders and electricians are among the skilled workers needed, but the community liaisons stress that there will be opportunities for “unskilled” positions as well. “We want West Oakland residents to know that there are jobs available and that they can get these jobs,” Ms. Lacy said.


By insisting on hiring locally in the early stages of construction, OUSD is sending a powerful message to the community. “We have to think about the kids, yes, but if we are not taking care of the families, we’re not doing enough,” Ms. Lacy said. “Hiring locally is an important step.”


Charisse Griffin, former OUSD student works with OUSD Project Manager John Esposito. At least two job fairs have already been held and another is currently in the planning stages. For more information about construction opportunities at The Center and construction-related resources, please contact Shevonne May at 510.836.0360 or To learn more about The Center, please visit:


Pictured: Charisse Griffin, former OUSD student now working on the project with Bay Cities Construction and OUSD Facilities Project Manager John Esposito.