Our History

CareerWise began in response to the indignant question, “Why don’t these homeless people just get a job?”

CareerWise set out to remove this question from the dialogue surrounding those who are jobless and to also become part of the solution by going into the homeless community and guiding the people they meet into sustainable employment.

Below is a short history of how CareerWise was started and where we are now.

2000

The founder and two other volunteers begin writing resumes and tutoring high school students with homeless parents.

The volunteers discover that even when a person’s homelessness is due to widely-assumed reasons, it is amazing what this person can (and does) do with:

  • Job search support

  • Focused resumes

  • Interview skills

  • Updated computer literacy

  • Job retention training

  • Aptitude assessment

  • GED tutoring

  • Raised self esteem and hope

2001

The volunteer corps grows and reaches sheltered and unsheltered homeless clients who are survivors of domestic violence, teenage runaways from foster care, veterans, ex-offenders, and many others.

2009

The board and management of a homeless shelter, where CareerWise provides free bi-weekly, one-to-one career development, presses the CareerWise volunteers to expand services to more homeless clients. 

They identify grants and introduce the volunteers to a nonprofit that will hold incoming grants until CareerWise can obtain its own 501c3 nonprofit status.

2010

The interfaith community and many unaffiliated people volunteer: the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fullerton provides board members, IT support, and service providers, First Christian Church in Fullerton provides classroom space, and Temple Beth Tikvah provides GED tutors and service providers.

The Sisters of St. Joseph award CareerWise Volunteer-of-the-Year.

CareerWise begins a magnificent collaboration with California State University Fullerton, providing up to 35 internships per year and enabling us to spread out over central and north Orange County, serving 400 homeless clients a year.

2012

The program becomes the nonprofit, CareerWise!

2013

First Lutheran Church of Fullerton donates two Sunday school rooms, rent-free (for three years) to CareerWise for us to use as an office and a career workshop.

Volunteers from Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fullerton empty, clean, paint, and furnish the rooms and donate cell and wifi service.

Come to Him Ministries and volunteers from Whittier Baptist Church pilot the first CareerWise franchise at four shelters and our services move into Los Angeles County.

2017

CareerWise hires its first full-time employee, an Operations Manager.