Berkeley Job Consortium Closes Doors for Good

Friday July 09, 2004

The roughly 12 employees of the Berkeley Jobs Consortium—who have devoted their time to helping some of the area’s most at-risk residents find work—might now find themselves in the unemployment line. 

This week, the consortium closed its doors after serving thousands of clients since it opened in 1988.  

A sign in the nonprofit’s window at 2801 Telegraph Ave., read “Attention all clients: Due to a lack of funding, Jobs Consortium cannot provide services until further notice.” 

The nonprofit organization provided job counseling and arranged interviews, mostly for homeless residents and recovering addicts. According to its website, 54 percent of its clients were long-term homeless and 52 percent suffered from disabilities. Founding Director Michael Daniels said it served 700 and 800 clients a year on a $1 million budget. 

The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development had provided 80 percent of the jobs consortium’s funding on the condition that the nonprofit raise the remaining $200,000 from local sources. 

This year that funding didn’t materialize. The city, as part of its plan to shift homeless dollars to programs that actually provide housing, opted not to fund the program. 

Councilmember Dona Spring, who had lobbied during budget negotiations to provide the program $19,000, lamented its demise.  

“Other organizations got a three percent to 10 percent cut, it didn’t seem fair for them not to get anything,” she said. Still, she didn’t think $19,000 would have been enough to save it.›