Peter Simon has been engaged with developing and administering workforce development and basic skills programs with the California community colleges for over 25 years. In the role of manager, project director, and instructor, his work has been consistently focused on providing educational and career-related opportunities for people who have been traditionally excluded from pathways to advancement. His particular expertise is in the area of developing and supporting complex, multi-organization partnerships (community colleges, K-12 districts, employers, labor unions, community organizations, and government agencies) that provide integrated basic skills and job training leading to living wage employment and career progression.
As the Dean of Science and Vocational Programs at the College of Alameda, from which he retired in June 2010, Peter fostered the creation of a number of innovative programs including: the ATLAS Program, a very successful sector-based initiative in logistics and transportation involving a wide range of partners, the Alameda Science and Technology Institute, a Gates-funded early college high school on the COA campus with a particular focus on technical careers, Oakland Aviation High School, a partnership with Oakland Unified School District that prepares at-risk youth for jobs or further training in aviation-related areas, a low-income dental clinic for Alameda residents and internship site for Dental Assisting students created by a partnership with the Alameda County Health Department, City of Alameda, Asian Health Services, and the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the Career Advancement Program, in conjunction with the Alameda County WIB and Building Trades Council, designed to move youth (18-21) with multiple barriers into construction apprentices.
Previously, Peter worked at Laney College as the Director of the Workforce Development/CalWORKs Program and as an English instructor in Project Bridge, one of the oldest learning communities in the California community colleges. In conjunction with the CTE, basic skills, and ESL faculty, he lead the creation of a number of short-term, modularized vocational training and basic skills/VESL programs that met the time-limited needs of the CalWORKs students. Three Summer Curriculum Institutes were developed to foster the collaboration of faculty to develop these classes and certificates. During this time, he also served as a member of the Oakland Workforce Investment Board.
Peter also served as the Director of the SEIU Worker Education Program, a US Department of Education funded, joint labor-management program project focused on providing basic skills, ESL, and test-taking classes to employees at several local hospitals and nursing homes to assist them in moving up the career ladders in health care occupations. Unique to this program was a teaching team consisting of a community college instructor, counselor, and shop steward from each worksite. Prior to working for SEIU, he was the Director of Adult Education Programs at the Center for Working Life in Oakland where he developed a range of educational programs for dislocated workers with local unions.
In addition to his work in education, Peter was, in an earlier life, an apprentice and journey-level carpenter with the Carpenters Union in Seattle and Oakland for a number of years. Peter has a MA in Adult Education from San Francisco State University and a BA in Political Science from the University of Illinois.