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August 11, 2014

Second Chance is helping change the lives of some of the most underserved populations in the region, including at-risk youth, the homeless, recovering addicts and formerly incarcerated individuals reentering the community. 

Since 1993, Second Chance has placed more than 5,000 graduates into employment with 1,754 local employers. Second Chance’s Job Readiness Training program is designed to give participants tools to break personal barriers to self-sufficiency, obtain new job skills, develop résumés and career plans, and practice interviewing techniques. The workforce-training program can be the difference between moving up the ladder and a downward spiral. 

Second Chance’s youth programs serve juvenile offenders, including some of the county’s most severe and chronic offenders. Services include cognitive behavioral therapy, intensive case management, and skills training through maintaining an urban garden. 

To further support these programs, Second Chance owns and operates eight alcohol- and drug-free homes in the San Diego area so residents can be housed in a supportive environment as they transition to permanent employment and housing.

On Aug. 8, Second Chance celebrated the graduation of Class 184 from its Job Readiness Training program. Twenty graduates were honored in front of 150 of their family members, friends and supporters. The group’s “Class Champions,” a small group from Qualcomm who answered questions about excelling in the workforce and offered encouragement to the students throughout the program, came to celebrate the moment. Each graduate shared a few words about their experience and their hope for the future. 

The event also honored Joan and Irwin Jacobs whose recent gift solidified Second Chance’s permanent home at their Southeast San Diego facility, now named the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Training Center. Dr. Jacobs was presented with an engraved bell that holds significance at the organization—each time a participant gets a job, they ring a large gold bell and everyone stops what they are doing to celebrate the success.

“Second Chance exists to create a safer, more productive community,” says executive director Robert Coleman. “Contributions from donors like the Jacobs’ are needed for us to continue to help people achieve self-sufficiency, earn a living, pay taxes, and contribute positively to our society. Second Chance is deeply grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Jacobs for their very generous gift.”

To learn more about Second Chance, visit

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