SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- A new concept in job training is helping Silicon Valley companies deal with a need for more workers. At the same time, the program is helping at-risk youth, victims of domestic violence and the homeless to get hired and to gain experience.
By some estimates, Silicon Valley has 13,000 people who are disconnected from the economy. Some are homeless. Some have other kinds of challenges.
A program called PeopleShores is doing something unique about that. It is training people for tech jobs but goes a step further. It is set up as a for-profit company, so once trained, trainees are hired to do coding and other projects for a number of tech companies.
Melinda Burns was homeless. "To work with actual people instead of just sitting around and learning; we're actually learning and using at the same time, so it's been great," she said.
Mohan Krishnan is a musician but hasn't been working lately.
"I mean I know I can bartend any day, but that's not something I want... I don't see myself as a retiree, moving into my retiree years as a bartender," he said.
Once their two months of training ends, they will be paid $15 an hour. After a three-month probationary period, they will get benefits, including medical, paid time off and holidays.
The concept started in India under the name RuralShores, where 4,000 people have been trained. CEO Murali Vullaganti brought the model to Silicon Valley last August. He says it works because the trainees are able to use their new skills immediately, putting worries behind them.
"So give them that comfort," said Vullaganti. "It starts with comfort. That leads to commitment. That leads of high-quality work. That leads to getting more and more work."
PeopleShores partners with nonprofits and the city to find applicants for the program.
"This really works as Silicon Valley should work -- private sector, nonprofits, government, all working together," said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, who visited PeopleShores on Thursday.
The program is working so well since it launched in San Jose last August that PeopleShores is preparing to expand soon to Mississippi.
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