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SEE grant and Jose Aviles making a difference in the lives of youth on probation

Earlier this summer, the SEE Workforce Development Program completed a 14-month grant through Workforce Investment Board of Tulare County (WIB). The grant, which was titled Readiness for Employment through Sustainable Education & Training for Youth (R2Y), provided work readiness training and work experience opportunities for youth, ages 16-19, who were under the jurisdiction of the Tulare County Juvenile Probation Department.

The purpose of the grant was to reduce recidivism by establishing an education and training program specifically for youth probationers, bridging the service gaps experienced by some. R2Y assisted 11 youth in obtaining a diploma or the equivalency, provided career exploration and guidance, and assisted in gaining work skills for a successful transition to employment and/or further education. Students gained work experience through placements at Porterville Unified’s Citrus High School, CVS, Lucky’s Wholesale, and Lindsay Wireless.

SEE Workforce Development Program

Linda Patino, employment services coordinator for the SEE Workforce Development Program, says that the staff provided plenty of counseling and support for the youth in the program – developing their soft skills and interview experience, helping with résumé writing, and strengthening their communication abilities. “In addition to all of our support, there’s one person who went above and beyond to make sure students were successful,” she said.

Last week, staff from the SEE program, Porterville Unified, WIB, and Tulare County Probation honored Jose Aviles for his mentorship while supervising students who worked at Citrus High School. Mr. Aviles was 19 years old when he came to the United States from Mexico. He is currently a manager at the Walmart Distribution Center and also works as head custodian at Citrus High School.

School principal Scott Braden reports that Mr. Aviles took the students under his wing to make sure that they were prepared to live better lives. At times, he provided transportation and supplied them with food and groceries. “Mr. Aviles was a mentor, leader, friend, and confidant during the time he was supervising these students,” said Steve Tellez, SEE youth development specialist. “Even after the students had completed their work experience hours, he kept in contact with all of them, letting them know he was available to help them in any way possible.”

One student Jose Aviles made an impact on was Oscar, a 16-year-old youth recently released from Juvenile Hall. Oscar wore his hair in a braid that extended to his waist. On his face was a gang-related tattoo.

Respectful, prompt and motivated to work, Oscar was placed at Citrus High School on a maintenance work assignment with Mr. Aviles. Four weeks into his work assignment, Oscar had cut his braid, telling Mr. Aviles that he wanted to turn his life around. Mr. Aviles also shared that Oscar had received a call from a friend inviting him to a party. After Oscar hung up, Mr. Aviles counseled him, saying, “You can do whatever you want, but you are still on probation and if something were to happen at the party, even if you weren’t part of it, you could still get in trouble.” Oscar listened. The next day, Mr. Aviles said Oscar told him he did not go to the party.

A visit from Oscar’s mom confirmed the impact Jose Aviles was making on students under his supervision. She thanked him, saying, “I don’t know what you are doing with my son, but ever since he started working, he gets up early, helps me in the yard, and even washed my car. He used to sleep until noon, but not anymore.”

Mr. Aviles reports that Oscar was excited when he received his first check. He asked Oscar what he planned to do with his money. Oscar explained that his mom loves Chinese food, but that they had not been able to afford to go out for dinner. With his first check, Oscar took his mom out to eat Chinese food.

For more information on SEE's youth employment programs, contact Linda Patino at (559) 730-2737, or

Photo above:
~ Members of the R2Y grant team came together to honor Jose Aviles (second from left) for his mentorship of students under his supervision at Citrus High School. Team members include (l-r) Steve Tellez (TCOE SEE Program), Jose Aviles (Citrus High School), Zoie Rhodes (program participant), Summer Hamilton (Tulare County Probation), Desiree Landeros (Workforce Investment Board), Kelly Clark (Employment Connection), and Scott Braden (principal, Citrus High School).

Registration now open for annual Step Up Youth Challenge

Step Up Youth Challenge

The CHARACTER COUNTS! program announces that registration is now open for the County of Tulare’s 2019-20 Step Up Youth Challenge. Now in its ninth year, the Challenge is a six-month service learning program designed to create projects which positively impact school culture and community. Participating middle and high schools will be competing for grants totaling $13,000. The program kicks off with a mandatory Advisor Training on September 5 beginning at 4:00 p.m. Later in September, advisors and student team members will come together for a full-day Youth Summit designed to motivate and inspire teams on their journey to create impactful projects. Details on the Youth Summit, the project development and submission process, and the Red Carpet Awards ceremony will be shared at the Advisor Training. Register to attend the training at or call Kelley Petty, CHARACTER COUNTS! coordinator, at (559) 740-4303.

Photo above:
~ Registration is open for the annual Step Up Youth Challenge – a program for teams of middle and high school students to develop community service projects and compete for grant awards from the County of Tulare.

California Center on Teaching Careers sets dates for 2019-20 virtual job fairs

California Center on Teaching Careers logo

The California Center on Teaching Careers (The Center) has announced dates for four 2019-20 Virtual Job Fairs. The fairs, which pair teachers and teacher candidates with districts and county offices of education that have job openings, simulate the look and feel of real job fairs through an online platform. Teachers and teacher candidates worldwide also have the opportunity to connect to universities and alternative certification programs to investigate degree and credential programs. The virtual job fairs have been scheduled for November 19-20, March 5-6, April 22-23, and May 28-29. For more information on The Center’s virtual job fairs, or to create an online profile, visit

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Editor: Robert Herman, Public Information Officer
Contributors: Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Linda Patino, Steve Tellez, Kathleen Green-Martins, Marvin Lopez.

To receive News Gallery Week, visit, or contact Jennifer Fisher at or (559) 733-6172.