Bridging Opportunities


On Dec. 4, 2017, New Door officially launched its employment program to youth in the East Bay, starting with a partnership at Dewey Academy, the first and largest continuation school in Oakland.

“We are excited to be in the East Bay,” says Tess Reynolds, New Door’s CEO. “With nearly 40,000 disconnected youth living across Alameda and Contra Costa counties, the need for our employment program is great. We feel welcomed in the East Bay and are looking forward to partnering with Dewey and the other nonprofits who serve youth there.”

New Door’s employment program is being delivered as part of Dewey Academy’s Expanded Learning program. The first Dewey Academy cohort features 13 students, and in the year ahead, three more cohorts from the school will participate in the program. New Door also plans to start offering its employment program in the coming months to other East Bay youth who are referred from our partner organizations.

“Dewey Academy is excited to have New Door Ventures as a partner on-site, supporting our mission and vision to provide additional college and career readiness skills, job opportunities, and social awareness in a collaborative environment,” says Mr. Darrell Ross, Dewey Academy’s Principal.

New Door’s staff is grateful for this collaborative environment as well. Dewey Academy has given New Door access to a classroom and other facilities, and promoted the program to its students and staff.

“This successful launch would not have been possible without Juan Campos, the academy’s director of expanded learning, and his predecessor, Brooklyn Williams,” says Vamsey Palagummi, who is managing New Door’s East Bay expansion effort.

New Door Ventures has been serving youth in San Francisco since 2002, and has exclusively focused on 16-24 year-olds who face barriers to employment and education, such as homelessness, poverty, and involvement in the justice or foster care systems, since 2005. In the past 12 years, New Door has served more than 4,000 youth, and its flagship employment program has employed more than 1,400 youth. The employment program consists of a paid job internship, skill building workshops, intensive case management, and educational supports, all totaling to more than 250 hours. Paid jobs are provided by New Door through its two wholly-owned social enterprises, Ashbury Images and Pedal Revolution, and more than 60 local businesses serving as Ally Employment Partners. On average, nearly 90 percent of graduates are still working next jobs and/or pursuing further education six months after program completion.

Having developed and refined its programs in San Francisco, New Door set geographic expansion as a key priority in its 2016-2020 strategic plan. The decision to start in Alameda County was determined following rigorous landscape analysis by Threllfall Consulting, and a planning study sponsored by the Walter S. Johnson Foundation. Deciding factors included the large numbers of young people disconnected from employment and education, community needs, and the potential organizations and businesses willing to partner with New Door to make a difference in the region. An event celebrating the launch will take place this spring.