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Bridging the Opportunity Divide in the Bay Area


What happens to young people in the Bay Area with no college degree? How can they navigate a labor market that demands high tech skills without adequate education or training? Producer and guest host Victoria Thorp and guests explore new strategies for addressing the opportunity divide in the Bay Area.


Kenji Treanor, Program Officer in the Youth Program for the James Irvine Foundation: Kenji is helping to lead the Irvine Foundation’s Linked Learning initiative, which aims to transform education for California students by integrating rigorous academics with career-based learning and workplace experiences. Prior to joining the Irvine Foundation in 2004, Kenji worked in many youth and education organizations in the Bay Area, including the Youth Leadership Institute, the San Rafael City Schools district, and San Francisco State University. Kenji also cofounded and currently serves on the Board of Directors of Next Generation Scholars, a nonprofit dedicated to improving educational outcomes for low-income youth in Marin County. Kenji has a master's degree in public administration from the University of San Francisco and a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Jay Banfield, Executive Director, Year Up Bay Area:Jay is the founding Executive Director of Year Up Bay Area, a national non-profit organization that began in Boston in 2000 and expanded to its tenth site in San Francisco in 2008. The mission of Year Up 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. Prior to Year Up, Jay worked at Oracle and as the Executive Director of the San Francisco Parks Trust. Jay has a BA from Stanford University and a Master's in Public Policy from UC Berkeley.

Laurie Scolari, Director, California Community College Linked Learning Initiative at the Career Ladders Project: Laurie has worked for over 17 years to increase the number of first generation college students who complete a certificate or degree in higher education. Prior to joining the Career Ladders team, she served as the Dean of Counseling and Student Support Services at City College of San Francisco, where she led several initiatives that helped high school students of color transition into community college. Laurie has a doctorate in Educational Leadership from San Francisco State University, an M.A. in Nonprofit Administration from University of San Francisco and a B.A. in Communications from San Jose State University.

Key Links:

Year Up

Linked Learning Alliance

Career Ladders Project

Producer: Victoria Thorp