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MUSD launches effort to help make homeless employbale
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Manteca Unified is stepping up to help the homeless trying to get off the street that haven’t secured a high school diploma needed for most jobs.

The Manteca Adult School Principal Brad Harrison and the Turlock Gospel Rescue Mission operating the temporary homeless tent shelter at 555 Industrial Park Drive are working together to help homeless tackle lessons needed to prepare them for a high school equivalency test that employers accept as they do a high school diploma.

Harrison noted the organization running the shelter will provide the devices the homeless will need for their studies while Manteca Adult School will provide the lessons, instruction, and oversight.

“This is what we are here to do,” noted Manteca Unified School District Superintendent Clark Burke said. “We are here to help transition people into the job market with education even if they are out of high school.”

Manteca Adult School in recent years has substantially stepped up its efforts to use education programs to either help people enter the job market or to enter new fields of employment.

Harrison noted that securing a certificate in logistics and learning forklift basics through an adult school class can give people an advantage when applying for distribution jobs that are in high demand.

Having certification in logistics related skills gives an applicant an advantage over other entry workers in the field as it qualifies them initially for higher paying positions and sets the stage for upward mobility in the workforce.

The initial effort to prepare homeless to take the high school equivalency (HSE) test will only involve two or three individuals.

The district is launching its effort to work with homeless that need to pass the HSE test in a bid to become employable and to get off the street even though they current classes had already started and before the next adult school session starts.

The fact the shelter is now in place not only affords the homeless that are the first Manteca Adult School students a safe place to sleep at night but it will allow them access to devices and a place where they can learn what they need to pass the HSE test.

The Turlock Gospel Rescue Mission has already secured employment at distribution centers for several homeless.

It is an example of what can be done when services are made available to the homeless to help get those motivated to do so off the street.

Althought it isn’t on the scale of what a navigation center being pursued by the city would do, the current tent facility allows several things to happen that would not otherwise have occurred.

*It provides an address needed for those looking for work as well as helps them secure basic documentation needed to be employed.

*It allows them a place to sleep and take care of hygiene needs such as showers they need to go to work.

*It provides them a rent-free place to sleep until such time they can save enough money to find housing whether it is renting a room or other options.

*It allows them to secure education needed to pass the HSE test if they lack a diploma.

The district already had a robust program in place to help those school-age students the state and federal government defines as being homeless. They may be living on the streets with their family or bouncing around living with their families in garages, the front room of friends for a time, and other extremely temporary housing arrangements.

Manteca Unified has started provided bus service to homeless students living at the shelter to make sure they can get to and from their home school even if it is across town or in Lathrop. That is done to assure that students not only stay in school but can have the same teacher through the school year to provide stability and continuity.

Such transportation was already being provided to other homeless students within the MUSD boundaries.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email