As unemployment numbers continue to rise, Alameda County steps in to help


HAYWARD, Calif. (KRON) — In Alameda County the unemployment rate due to COVID-19 has increased significantly from the month of March to April, prompting the county to step in and help.

The Alameda County Workforce Development Board is helping job seekers and workers counter the impacts of COVID-19 by providing free access to Metrix Learning — an online training platform aimed to help job seekers earn job training and job certifications.

“All Alameda County residents, all California residents have the option to enhance their skills, maintain their skills and earn industry recognized credentials, so that they can be more valuable to employers once individuals start returning back to work,” Program Financial Specialist with the Alameda County Workforce Development Board, Tamia Brown said.

According to the ACWDB, due to COVID-19 Alameda County’s unemployment rate rose to 14.1 percent in April from 3.9 percent in March resulting in 112,500 individuals losing their jobs in April compared to 32,700 in March.

With many jobs facing uncertain futures, the Alameda County Workforce Development Board says more job seekers could be using Metrix to combat the negative impacts caused by COVID-19.

“People are home, people have the felxability, people have the time to do an online program,” Brown said.

“We know online learning is not for everyone but this is the time online learning can shine because people can’t go regular formalized training’s.”

Alameda County resident Jawad Mehdizadeh is one of the many residents to have lost their jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic after he was recently laid off by his employer.

“I’ve been in logistics and all that, I want to say for 13 years and in the past five years I worked for Berkeley Farms, the dairy company in Hayward which unfortunately due to bankruptcy was forced to shut doors permanently,” Mehdizadeh said.

“End of April was the last day that I worked there, we were all laid off.”

The Metrix Learning program is being offered through the Alameda County Workforce Development Board’s “SkillUp Alameda.”

SkillUp Alameda is an initiative led by the ACWDB to encourage local residents to take advantage of Metrix to develop new skills to help their chances to land a job amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I remember a couple of years ago I wanted to take this project management through other community colleges and it cost me a couple of thousand dollars … for that reason I just didn’t take it,” Mehdizadeh said.

“It’s paid for and there’s not many jobs around and I just jumped on it.”

Metrix offers over 5,000 courses leading to more than 180 industry certificates giving job seekers a flexible and helpful way to improve skills, earn industry certificates, launch into new careers or jump into new career opportunities.

“I am hoping using this as a tool when I apply for a job, when I go for a job, I have something to offer,” Mehdizadeh said.

“It can help me basically get hired hopefully faster.”

Currently, ACWDB has over 200 local clients have taken advantage of Metrix and have earned certifications in Microsoft Office Specialist, Project Management, Six Sigma Green Belt, Information Systems Security Professional, Human Resource Management, QuickBooks and Comp TIA A+.

Employers can identify potential candidates on the Matrix platform displaying new badges earned and can connect with them about new employment opportunities.

“Every little bit of knowledge I gain from this is an investment in myself and hopefully I can pass that on to my next employer or whoever that may be,” Mehdizadeh said.

See the original article and video at KRON4.