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Year Up Bay Area Hosts Panel Discussion with Urban Youth, the San Jose Police Department and the City of San Jose on “Bridging the Police-Community Divide”

Facilitated panel and discussion featured a Year Up graduate, a social justice advocate, the San Jose Chief of Police, and San Jose’s Community Outreach Specialist

San Jose, CA (PRWEB) December 12, 2016

On December 7, 2016, the workforce development nonprofit Year Up Bay Area hosted “Bridging the Police-Community Divide,” a panel discussion that created a dialogue on how to strengthen police-community relationships.

Panel participants included: Eddie Garcia, San Jose’s Chief of Police; Laurie Valdez, a Social Justice Advocate whose partner died during an encounter with the San Jose State University Police; Peter Ortiz, a graduate of Year Up Bay Area and Field Director for California State Senator Jim Beall; and Telina Martinez Barrientos, Community Outreach Specialist with the City of San Jose’s Office of Independent Police Auditors.

“As an organization that works closely with low-income young adults, Year Up Bay Area hosted this discussion to address an issue that’s critically important to our students,” said Emily Schaffer, Executive Director of Year Up Bay Area. “Our panel participants addressed questions around negative stereotypes — of both police and young people of color — as well as harassment, excessive force, and how communities can start to heal.”

The panel also helped to educate young adults on their rights during a police encounter, and was designed to facilitate a constructive, solutions-oriented conversation.

“There is fear on both sides and we are trying to work on getting people home safe,” said Eddie Garcia, San Jose’s Chief of Police. “These meetings are important to me because there is a perception of law enforcement and I think these dialogues can help change that perception. We are trying to find more innovative ways to connect with the community and to make changes based on these conversations. At the end of day, we are more than what we wear―we are dads, we are moms, we are sons, brothers, and sisters as well. “

Year Up Bay Area currently serves more than 400 students each year at campuses in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The program provides local young adults (ages 18-24, without college degrees) with technical, professional and communication skills including: desktop and network support; quality assurance; cyber security; sales and project management; business writing; time management; and working in teams. Students earn college credits for completing their coursework during the first six months of the program. The next six months consist of an internship at corporate partner firms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google.

Eighty-six percent of Year Up Bay Area graduates are employed or enrolled in college fulltime within four months of completing the program, with average starting salaries of $41,600/year. Learn more about Year Up Bay Area by following us on Twitter @YearUpBayArea and on Facebook.

About Year Up Inc.

Year Up’s mission is to close the Opportunity Divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their potential through professional careers and higher education. Year Up achieves this mission through a high support, high expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships and college credits. Its holistic approach focuses on students’ professional and personal development to place these young adults on a viable path to economic self-sufficiency. Year Up currently serves more than 3,000 students a year at sites in Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Jacksonville, the National Capital Region, New York City, Philadelphia, Providence, Puget Sound, San Francisco Bay Area, and South Florida. To learn more, visit or

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