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The Holland Partner Group Donates $100,000 to Cypress Mandela Job Training Program




Ray Connell of Holland Partner Group presents a check for $100,000 to Art Shanks, of the Cypress Mandela Training Center, with Greg McConnell of the Oakland Jobs Foundation.

The Holland Partner Group, one of the premier residential developers in Oakland, delivered a check for $100,000 to the Cypress Mandela job training program June 28. Cypress Mandela provides life and job skills training to a diverse group of men and women looking for the opportunity to enter the building and construction trades.

“We see the direct impacts of this program,” said Ray Connell, development director for Holland Partner Group.  “We have people that have come through this program currently staffed on our projects.  It’s a great testimonial to the positive and lasting effects Art Shanks and the Cypress Mandela Training program has within the community.”

Connell’s support for the Cypress Mandela program was intensified when he met an exceptional crane operator on one of Holland’s job sites who received his training at Cypress Mandela.  The crane operator spoke of his experiences at Cypress Mandela and the rigorous training he underwent that prepared him for the workforce and a 20 years plus career in the construction industry.

To double down on his commitment to Oakland’s underserved community, Holland Partner Group joined the board of directors of the Oakland Jobs Foundation to help create more quality workers like the crane operator.

“I think there is a lot of opportunity for the private sector to help build the Oakland workforce.  Oakland has an abundance of talented young people, they just need the training and the opportunity to get a foot in the door,” Connell said.

The Oakland Jobs Foundation was formed in 2017.  Its mission is to ensure that Oakland’s marginalized populations, especially under-served people of color in Oakland’s poorest census tracks, have a chance to participate in Oakland’s emerging economy.  It does that by rallying developers and other Oakland business people to aggregate funding to support job training programs.


“As we look at employment in Oakland, it is clear that people who have job skills are working, but there are too many people who don’t have the necessary skills,” explained Greg McConnell, president of the Oakland Jobs Foundation.  “We are targeting this population to become part of Oakland’s future workforce…Companies like Holland Partners are exactly the kinds of companies we want in Oakland,” McConnell added.  “They get it.”




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