Civicorps has been transforming lives and landscapes since 1983. They believe in supporting resilient youth to overcome barriers, cultivate their talents, and unleash their potential. They do so through their program model that combines paid job training with rigorous, classroom-based high school diploma education for youth ages 18-26.
In 1995, the Oakland Unified School District granted Civicorps a charter to become a high-school diploma program, making them the only classroom-based diploma-granting program for young adults in the East Bay. In addition to their charter school, they operate two social enterprises in Environmental Management and Recycling, which allow them to provide job training to their students while developing a network of employer partners who are eager to hire Civicorps graduates.
Located in West Oakland, a region experiencing accelerating income inequality, neighborhood displacement, and food and housing insecurity, Civicorps’ program is proving just how important the right mix of support and tools can be in helping youths succeed despite experiencing failures of multiple systems. Almost all (99%) of their students live in poverty and are an ethnic minority, 23% are justice involved, 14% have experienced homelessness, 28% have learning disabilities, 34% are parents of young children, and 15% are former foster youth. Despite these circumstances, Civicorps’ graduation rate is 60%, and one year after graduation, 80% of their graduates are still enrolled in college and/or employed.
As Civicorps continues to change the lives of the youths in Oakland, they have also established strong supporters in the community — one of which is Beneficial State Bank. Whether that is through providing loans or lines of credit or even some of our staff participating as volunteers, we enthusiastically support Civicorps in realizing the potential of every young adult and disrupting the cycle of poverty and inequality.
Civicorps has banked with Beneficial State bank for over 6 years but our relationship extends far beyond a typical banking relationship. Beneficial State has made an effort to get to know Civicorps, our mission and our community. They have embraced our Corpsmembers by attending and sponsoring graduation, participating in mock interviews and working directly with our participants in securing them checking and savings accounts at the Oakland branch. We have never felt like just a client of Beneficial State’s, rather a community partner.
— Tessa Nicholas, Executive Director