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Optical Assistant Training Program

Leads to Good-Paying Job

One way the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County (WDBCCC) works to build an inclusive, qualified workforce for the county is by drawing upon our vast network of community relationships to help businesses and programs thrive.

It's in this way that we helped to support the Optical Assistant Training Program at Martinez Adult Education. The no-cost 16-week program trains students for entry-level jobs as optical assistants at Walmart, Costco, Warby Parker and other opticians. Because the program allows students to work while they learn and can lead to a starting wage of at least $18-$20 an hour - or an even higher hourly rate for workers already in the field- it has drawn great interest from prospective students. It's attractive to employers because of the steady pipeline of qualified workers it provides.

Suzanne Murphy, director of adult education at Martinez Adult Education, said the connection WDBCCC helped the program make have been extremely helpful to the school's student and employer recruitment efforts, as the school builds up the program. The adult school primarily serves underrepresented members of the community who need training to be able to enter the workforce.

"They have the connections within the community that we don't," Murphy said.

The Optical Assistant Training Program

The Optical Assistant Training Program is a state-approved apprenticeship program. Murphy said it first launched in 2008 but had to stop being offered in 2013, after state funding for adult education was decimated. It wasn't until 2015-16 that adult education received dedicated state funding, and the optical program was reinstated in 2018.