Coronavirus response: New jobs and emergency services website launched in California now expanding across U.S.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Hundreds of thousands of unemployed Californians are turning to a unique public-private partnership for emergency assistance and jobs. After launching just two weeks ago in California in response to the pandemic, a new website is announcing it's expanding to other parts of the country.

People no doubt are hurting, but they now have a unique new website launched by a tech start-up and an Oakland-based non-profit to turn to for help and inspiration: OnwardCA.org.

Freada Kapor Klein runs the Kapor Center, the non-profit arm of the VC firm, Kapor Capital. The charity in Oakland works to bring more low-income youth into computer programming and STEM.

"To date more than 300,000 Californians have logged on and have actually gotten linked to one of three types of services," said Kapor Klein.

The Kapor Center, along with several philanthropic and corporate partners, are funding OnwardCA.org.

The site provides access to emergency services like food and childcare.

It offers job training as well as more than 100,000 job opportunities from companies hiring now.

Governor Newsom says the goal is to get people back to work.

"We can get you off unemployment insurance or if you haven't gone on, to make sure you don't have to get on," he said.

OnwardCA is the brainchild of Fresno-based Bitwise, a tech start-up with the goal of creating a vibrant tech community in what they call "underdog cities."

20 women of color in the company's apprenticeship program built OnwardCA.

Bitwise says the effort is totally philanthropic.

And in just two weeks, the idea is catching on.

"Many other states reached out to Bitwise and the Kapor Center and said 'we need this.' Today we announced the launch of OnwardUS.org, said Kapor Klein.

She says about a dozen states have already begun uploading job opportunities to the new site.

The goal is to get all 50 states on board. Colorado is the first to announce its participation.

"I'm very excited to see a group of people who want to solve real problems roll up their sleeves, bring their tech skills, bring their heart, bring their sense of fairness all to play in solving these problems," Kapor Klein said.

Bitwise is looking for more corporate foundations and non-profits to join its effort.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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