In 2011, OPDC’s workforce development program, JobLinks, served over 1,100 job seekers and placed 429 into employment at an average wage of $11.23 per hour, with an 80 percent six-month retention rate. Not bad news in a down economy! Christopher Kendall is one of the staff who’s helping these job seekers start new career paths- learn more about Chris below.
Originally from: Philadelphia
Why did you move to Pittsburgh? I came to Pittsburgh for school and fell in love with the city. After 10 days back in Philadelphia after graduation, I moved back and have been here ever since. I now live with my family in Brighton Heights.
Family: Fiancé; two sons who will be 4 and 11 in April
Education: B.A. in Sociology and Cultural Anthropology from University of Pittsburgh
Job: Special Contracts Coordinator for JobLinks, OPDC’s workforce development program.
Role at OPDC: I manage the contracts for our City of Pittsburgh and EARN partnerships.
How long have you worked for OPDC? Since October of 2001.
Why did you come to OPDC? I remembered seeing the JobLinks office on Oakland Avenue when I was a Pitt student. Shortly after I graduated, I stopped in as a client to try to start a career. The staff noticed my background in social services and called me about an opening with them. Now, 11 years later, I’m still part of the family.
What’s your favorite part of your position? I really love the rapport that I build with the participants and employers that I work with on a daily basis. I build strong relationships with each by finding out about individuals’ strengths and needs and with that I enjoy being a liaison to make good matches between the two.
What do you like about working for OPDC? OPDC does a great job integrating all their goals such as workforce development, community projects, and economic development. They maintain a great balance in their work that residents, businesses, students – everyone in the community – can really benefit from.
Favorite thing about Oakland: I love the hustle and bustle of Oakland. I like the constant action because it signifies progress. I can’t imagine JobLinks being so successful elsewhere because we really feed off of Oakland’s great energy.
If you could work on only one project for the next year, what would it be? I see a lot of latent potential in our participants, and I’d love to work with smaller groups to be able to help them overcome barriers to advance even further in their careers.
What do you aside from working at JobLinks: My family is my top priority outside of work. We spend a lot of time together, traveling a lot and always having fun. My two biggest hobbies are photography and music production. I also love to sneak off to the library on weekends because I really have a thirst for knowledge.
What’s your dream job? I’d like to develop my own nonprofit organization to work on socioeconomic development and workforce development. I’ve always had that vision. I come from a very caring, giving family and to me, nothing is better than giving back to the community at large, and I’d really like my sons to be a part of that experience.
Something most people don’t know about you: I’ve had to overcome certain barriers in my life, but I don’t wear them on my sleeve. It’s not my nature to hold on to those things—I just let them become fuel for me to succeed. I think that helps me serve and motivate my JobLinks participants. Also, my participants might not think this because I talk all day long, but I used to be very shy and have a hard time with public speaking.
What do you think about JobLinks’ upcoming move to the former Senior Center at Semple and Louisa Streets? Our programs are constantly growing and we definitely have a need for new facilities so the extra space will be a huge space. Being on the bus line has helped us so much in bringing in walk-ins so I was concerned we might lose some of that, but I think our existing clients are really going to benefit from it, and all in all I’m excited about the potential for what we can do in that space.
Contact Info: email@example.com; 412.621.3821 Ext. 12