John Williams, a single father of 4 sons, was looking to move from Sacramento back to the Bay Area but he was worried about the rising costs to live in the area. “I wanted to start my life over, but I wasn’t quite sure of what direction to go or what to do,” he said.
At the West Oakland Neighborhood Career Center he met Project Director Marilyn Norman who encouraged Williams to attend a hiring event for jobs with Tesla. After submitting his resume and continuing through the hiring process, Williams was offered a position in Tesla’s powertrain department, assembling battery packs for the electric cars. “I had never built cars in my life, but I learn fast, I work well with other people and I know how to ask questions,” Williams said. “I believe in preparation – you have to be prepared so you're ready for that opportunity,” he added.
Williams was trained as a “hybrid employee” with Tesla so he can work across several departments within the company. He began as a temporary employee, but soon he was offered a permanent position. “Tesla looks for good people. They don’t necessarily look for someone who can build a car from the ground up,” he said. “What they’re doing there is innovative. I love working for a company that really cares about the environment.” At one point, he got to meet Tesla co-founder and then CEO Elon Musk, and what Musk said really resonated with him. “It’s not just me," Musk said to Williams. "It’s all of you guys that make this dream possible."
"I love what I do! The West Oakland Neighborhood Career Center helped him change my life." Williams said. “Marilyn said I would do well with a job at Tesla. I have her to thank for that because I didn’t know what direction to go. She gave me a chance and wanted me to be successful,” he shared. Now he shares is pride when he shows his sons the electric cars that he’s helped to build.