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.
After visiting the West Oakland Neighborhood Career Center in March, Project Director Marilyn Norman 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, who previously had worked for the solar company Unisun.
“I believe in preparation – you have to be prepared so you don’t have to get ready (for that opportunity),” he added.
Williams was trained as a “hybrid employee” with Tesla, meaning he can work across several departments within the company.
Just last week, he was offered a permanent position to continue working with Tesla.
“Tesla looks for good people, (and) 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.”
Williams had an opportunity to meet Tesla co-founder and CEO Elon Musk, and what Musk said resonated with him. “It’s not just me, it’s all of you guys that make this dream possible,” Musk said to Williams.
Williams says the West Oakland Neighborhood Career Center and Marilyn basically helped him change his life.
“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. “I love what I do.”
What he takes great pride in is showing his sons the electric cars that he’s helped to build.