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Second Chance Is Lifeline For Job Seekers

Robert Coleman, executive director of San Diego Second Chance, and Tonya Rindskopf, a Second Chance graduate, talk to KPBS about the program.


Robert Coleman, Executive Director, San Diego Second Chance

Tonya Rindskopf, Second Chance graduate


San Diego Second Chance is in the hope business.

The local non-profit provides workforce training programs, not itself unusual. What is different is that Second Chance combines job-readiness training with mental health services, housing assistance, job placement, even business clothing.

The goal, says San Diego Second Chance executive director Robert Coleman, is to remove any possible excuse for not looking for or finding a job.

"It's the no bullshit approach," he said.

This year the 20-year-old San Diego institution was featured in "Get To Work," a documentary series broadcast on the Sundance Channel, which showcased Second Chance's no-nonsense approach.

Early on, a telling scene shows a new class of about 40 being given their first 10-minute break. The students discover that 10 minutes means exactly 10 minutes when tardy stragglers are made to stand against the wall and then give up something valuable to the instructors.

The consequences for a poor attitude and poor behavior get more serious as the four-week course progresses.

San Diego Second Chance takes about 400 students a year from all walks of life. Some are sent by the courts as part of probation. Some hear about the program from friends or relatives. Many of the students have a criminal record and come through the County Probation Department, but some attend because they simply need a job and have had no luck.

About half finish the four weeks.

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