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While Washington D.C. has seen steady job growth over the past few years, this growth has been disproportionate. For those from overlooked communities, unemployment sits near recession levels.

Individuals from these communities rarely have access to soft and professional skills training critical for job success, creating an opportunity gap that exacerbates inequality.

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A D.C. Mentorship Story

Meet Yoshiko Chikuni, Erica Hummel, and Dan Gordon

Yoshiko Chikuni found StreetWise at a pivotal time in her life. She was a single mother who had recently emigrated from Japan and was having difficulty approaching the job search. But when she came to StreetWise, things started to turn around.

StreetWise paired her with her mentors Erica Hummel and Dan Gordon. Erica was interested in finding a long-term volunteer opportunity where she could develop a real relationship. Dan had trouble finding work upon graduation for many reasons, including sometimes struggling in interviews, so he knew first hand the value of soft skills. They proved to be the perfect match for Yoshiko.

Yoshiko came prepared to every meeting, and the two mentors were able to complement each other’s strengths. In addition to imparting learned wisdom, Erica and Dan showed up and listened. They proved to be a valuable social support system in a new country for Yoshiko, and in the end, all three learned something from each other.

Their hard work paid off when on the last day of program before Yoshiko’s final presentation, she received a job offer! The three of them still meet up to offer life updates and visit their favorite cafe, and Erica even used the skills she absorbed at StreetWise in her own job search.

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In D.C., we host two program cycles a year.