August 2013  
In This Issue
EXCEL Intern Profile
UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay
UCSF Global Health & Clinical Sciences Building


EXCEL Intern Profile:
Vernaya Dennis
A tragedy in Vernaya Dennis' life sent her spiraling a few years ago, but she was determined to get things back on track.

Since getting accepted into the EXCEL program, she's been building her professional skills through an internship with UCSF's Occupational Health department.

Dennis is part of the latest EXCEL class of 18 San Francisco residents who completed the 10-week training program on June 17. They each have been placed into a 4-month paid administrative internship within both UCSF campus and medical center departments, where they will gain invaluable skills on the job. 

Dennis, a resident of the Bayview/Hunter's Point neighborhood, answered a few questions about her EXCEL experience thus far, and what she plans to do next:



What were you doing before you got involved with the EXCEL program and how did you hear about it?


My previous work experience was in the catering food/service industry, and I also spent 13 years as a self-employed hairstylist.  In 2008, my spouse of 14 years and father of my son was murdered, and I went through a rough period in my life.  During that time, my self-esteem was very low and I was suffering from depression.  I lost my home and ended up in a homeless shelter in the Tenderloin.


I started taking the necessary steps to get my life back on track and through  the Jobs Now program, I was initially placed into a job at a non-profit organization. Returning to the workforce provided me with the opportunity to learn the skills that would increase my chances of competing in the job market.  It was here that I received the flyer for the EXCEL program and I decided to attend the orientation at the Mission One-Stop Center.


After the orientation, I knew this was an incredible opportunity that I needed to take advantage of.  I knew there would be a lot of competition getting into the program, but after all I'd been through I wanted to give it a shot.  When I received the call that I'd been accepted, I fell to my knees and thanked GOD.  Now here I am ... an intern at UCSF.  


How would you describe your experience working with Occupation Health Services (OHS)?  What have you enjoyed the most?


Interning with OHS has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. Through this opportunity, I've learned so much about myself, as well as built my network, and developed new skills that will help me reach my career goals.  Working in the medical field is new to me so there are many challenges, but my willingness to learn and the help and support from the OHS staff have been crucial to my development. 


What I enjoy most about my internship is working with the OHS staff.  They are always there to answer my questions and teach me new things and I love working with the people here.  I really feel like they care about helping me reach my career goals, and the skills I've been learning have helped me become a positive role model for my son.


What are your career goals after you complete the EXCEL program?


Once I complete my internship, my first goal is to be placed in a new assignment through UCSF's Interim Staffing Services.  I definitely don't want to end up out of work again!  I want to continue to build my skills and eventually land a career position with UCSF, but I'm focusing on reaching one goal at a time.  I've also enrolled in phlebotomy classes in the fall because I want to further my education in order to achieve some of my long-term career goals.


What advice would you give to someone that is interested in entering the EXCEL program? 


Be positive, optimistic and remain proactive in taking the steps to reach your goals.  You have to remain open-minded and ready and willing to learn new things.  Don't be afraid of making mistakes, because making mistakes provides an opportunity for you to learn.  If at first you don't succeed, just dust yourself off and try again.  Hard work pays off so always strive for EXCEL-lence!


UCSF's EXCEL program has a history of success in providing skills training and a paid work internship to San Francisco residents. Since its inception in 1998, the program has graduated more than 170 community residents, with a large percentage of graduates obtaining career employment at UCSF.  In partnership with UCSF's community-based training partner, JVS, the program has been expanded to offer two training cycles a year and a new cycle will begin in the fall of 2013.

For more information about the EXCEL program, contact Damon Lew at
UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay Local Hiring Update


From January to June 2013, an average of 21 percent of the total construction hours at the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay were performed by San Francisco residents.


This reflects ongoing efforts toward UCSF's voluntary goal of having 30 percent of total work hours performed by city residents during calendar year 2013.


During the period of April through June, the percentage of construction hours remained steady: 21 percent in April, 21 percent in May, and 20 percent in June. Please visit the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay's website to learn more about the project as well as view monthly hiring reports.


Community members interested in applying for UCSF construction employment opportunities should contact UCSF's partner, Mission Hiring Hall, at (415) 865-2105. A Submission of Ready, Able and Qualified Local Craftsperson form can also be downloaded on the  UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay website and submitted to

UCSF's Global Health & Clinical Sciences Building Update
Mission Hall  
Work on UCSF's newest development at the Mission Bay Campus, the Mission Hall Global Health and Clinical Science Building, is now in full swing, with an average of 17 percent of total construction hours performed by San Francisco residents since the project began. 

The new building, located at the corner of 4th and 16th streets, will house approximately 1,500 faculty and staff. It will include space for the entire Global Health program, as well as for clinical faculty working in the hospitals across the street. It also will provide space for the UCSF chancellor and for several academic research units that currently lease facilities off-campus.

Members of UCSF's Community Construction Outreach Program (CCOP) -- including representatives from Mission Hiring Hall (MHH), Aboriginal Blackmen United (ABU), the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI), Brightline Defense Project (BDP) and Laborers' Local 261 -- have been working closely with the general contractor, Rudolph & Sletten, and the project's subcontractors to facilitate opportunities for local tradeworkers to be placed onto the project.  Hiring data reflects the construction hours performed by San Francisco residents for the months of March at 21 percent, April at 14 percent, and May at 17 percent.

UCSF is aiming to reach 30 percent of the construction hours for the Mission Hall facility having been performed by San Francisco residents in 2013. 

The Mission Hall facility is scheduled be completed by the fall of 2014.