Code Tenderloin: SF Jobs program teams with tech industry, gives hope

Image 1 of 2

A job training program in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District is helping community members find jobs where they least expected…across the street.

Code Tenderloin partners with tech companies like Twitter and Dolby Laboratories to mentor and train students and get them ready for jobs at tech companies in the city’s Mid-Market neighborhood.

“They help you, they give you more hope,” said new graduate Porsha Dixson.

On Wednesday, eight students graduated from the five-week program. Cornell Hoss was among those getting their certificates. “It’s good to have a Code Tenderloin and positive people like Dolby and Twitter and people that really care about the community,” Hoss said, dressed in a suit and bow tie. “To just say, you know what? Focus on your interviewing, get your resume together and you know what? Possibility is for you.”

Students spend five weeks learning job and interview skills. They are styled from head to toe, and mentored by workers in the Mid-Market tech industry.

“These people know what they have to offer,” said Joan Scott of Dolby Laboratories. “and are really excited about getting to work in their local community.” Scott was Dixson’s mentor.

For decades, Market Street has been a divide between north and south. As tech companies moved into Mid-Market, that divide became a wall. “They were afraid to cross market street,“ Code Tenderloin founder Del Seymour said of the Tenderloin residents. “Because they didn’t know what was over here. They didn’t know if they would be accepted.

Not only are they accepted, but some of the Code Tenderloin graduates have already accepted jobs in the city. Others have interviews with some of the Mid-Market companies that helped teach and mentor them. “They own you,” said Dixson. She said her mentor kept in touch and held her accountable. “So you don’t even get a chance to be like okay, I give up,” she explained.

Seymour said his Code Tenderloin program won’t change the neighborhood, but it can change lives, one person at a time. “It’s about me,” said Hoss. “It’s about what are you going to do? How are you going to make a difference, Cornell?”