Office of Workforce Education

Five Keys was awarded a WIA Community Development Block Grant in 2012-2013, which was renewed in 2014. This position coordinates assessment and educational placement services for Workforce providers throughout the City and County of San Francisco. Five Keys provides education assessment for clients at several workforce training programs including the Ramp youth program at Goodwill, the Vietnamese Youth Development Center and many other WIA access points. In the past year, we have also provided training and consultation to numerous WIA vendors regarding educational assessment and education placement, and written an informational manual for OEWD vendors on educational assessment.



Los Angeles Country Sheriff's Department

Five Keys runs over 20 different vocational training programs for Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. These programs include financial literacy, bike repair, construction, masonry, print shop, pet grooming, hospitality/food service industry, training programs in basic computer software programs, nonprofit management training, and training programs in the horticulture, green building and construction. Daily Five Keys has over 1,500 students in its vocational programs in Los Angeles.



San Francisco Mayor's office and Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Five Keys provides intensive and comprehensive education intervention, vocational planning, and academic case management for IPO participants. Services are delivered on-site at the IPO host sites (Arriba Juntos and Young Community Developers) and at the transitional employment worksite. Five Keys currently partners with IPO contractors to provide IPO participants with educational assessment and basic skills training, along with high school and GED completion services. Participants are assessed at the provider site, but students must travel to an existing Five Keys campus away from their work and CBO host site. Multiple service sites often create a barrier for participants (especially those with gang-related travel restrictions); furthermore, education under this model creates a dichotomy between vocational and educational services.



Keys to College Program, San Francisco County Jail

Through a partnership with City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University, Five Keys runs therapeutic communities in which inmates are able to take college classes along with other programs to increase their chances for success at reentry.

Five Keys Charter School uses evidence-based cognitive/behavioral programming coupled with motivational interviewing to address inmate-criminogenic needs' by implementing the eight guiding principles to risk / recidivism reduction -- to help inmates overcome criminal and addictive thinking and behavioral obstacles (issues) that may hinder their ability to participate in educational and vocational programs -- and ultimately re-enter society. Coupled with independent study, Five Key's "Keys to Change" program provides daily groups and case management allowing students to build the skills needed to succeed in school and in their communities. Keys to Change utilizes CBT programs such as "Thinking for a Change" and Hazelden's "A New Direction - A Cognitive Behavioral Treatment Curriculum." using the Hazelden curriculum, offenders learn that criminality and addiction are thinking problems before they become behavior problems. Inmates also learn how their thinking influences their feelings and behavior, how to recognize their own distorted thinking patterns, and how to stop criminal and addictive thinking patterns. Based on the real-life experiences of incarcerated addicts involved in substance abuse treatment, offenders also learn how their thought processes can keep them in destructive behaviors. Inmates are also taught to recognize the connection between addiction and criminal activity and develop new, healthier ways of relating to others. Five Keys offers this program by transforming entire housing units in to program facilities, starting each day with "morning meeting" and creating a culture of recovery and restorative justice in that space.



Experience has taught us that providing wraparound services post-release greatly increases the chances that inmate/students will use what they've learned in school to establish a positive, pro-social lifestyle. Five Keys administers a transitional needs assessment to understand the criminogenic needs and challenges inmates have upon reentry and employs reentry coordinators to assist in placing the formerly incarcerated into reentry programs outside of the jail. Individualized student plans, and coordinated discharge plans reinforce successful reentry through programming targeted at the dynamic factors that lead to recidivism. These services are a crucial link for women immediately transitioning from County Jail into the community and is intended to be a welcoming and vibrant place for women to receive vital services and support for a successful reentry. 



Womens Resource Center, San Francisco

In 2010 Five Keys began providing staff and other services funded through SFSD and long-time collaborators such as Community Works and Next Course provide the daily clinical and educational schedule of essential services needed by this population.

The goal of these combined services is a client-centered, relational, and gender-specific approach to addressing the needs of women transitioning into the community after incarceration. Examples of desired activities include: (1) Intensive Case Management, (2) Gender-specific and Responsive Programming, (3) Developing Relationship and Social Networks, (4) Addressing Issues of Substance Abuse, (5) Addressing Barriers to Retention and Transition, and (6) Educational Support Services.

The SFSD, Five Keys and Community Works are currently leveraging existing resources to provide additional staffing and services to the WRC. This is done with the following goals in mind:

  • Actively recruit women and promote the WRC.
  • Offer high school credit to women participating or leading domestic violence support groups, Seeking Safety, AA and NA, Grief and Loss groups, Education including GED, High School and ABE classes and Career prep and readiness classes. 
  • Working with SAGE to plan more intensive services and programs that work with women to get free from the sex industry.

The WRC use the Program Data Base (Developed by Five Keys Charter School) to track clients' participation and conduct client needs assessments for women while they are still in custody to ensure a specific and individualized set of responses upon release. With experienced staff, an established referral community, and effective programming, the project seeks to increase reentry outcomes by 30% among those serviced through the project.



Five Keys offers ongoing peer-to-peer support for returning citizens. First time attendees receive a backpack with reentry supplies (clothing, toiletries) at their first meeting.

Peer Support

  • Group meeting, every Thursday from 5:00-6:30 pm
  • Backpacks given upon Reentry

C.A.P. Alliance, Community Action Partnerships

Five Keys facilitates the C.A.P. Alliance which is a group of community leaders, business, government agencies and nonprofits that meet monthly to address issues of reentry.



Five Keys uses the principles and practices of Restorative Justice as a guiding philosophy for all Five Keys programs. Participation in Five Keys programs is seen as "restorative act" in which offenders seek to repair the harm that they have caused to victims, communities, and themselves. Inmates learn about Restorative Justice in a for-credit "Restorative Justice" class as well as through Restorative Justice circles facilitated by Five Keys staff. Circles educate participants on the principles of Restorative Justice and their relationship to the criminal justice system, and teach inmates to use Restorative Justice techniques in daily interactions. Selected participants may also engage in victim/offender mediation or guided
study to become Restorative Justice facilitators themselves.

What do classes at Five Keys look like?

Classes vary in length, format and level. Some students meet with their teacher only once a week for one-on-one work. then work on their assignments outside of class time, whereas others may attend five or more hours of classes a day. Many students prefer to work independently, completing their high school units or GED practice on their own time under the guidance of a qualified instructor. Others opt for and prefer classes designed to meet their specific educational or vocation needs.

Most classrooms are in partnerships community-based organizations. Five Keys designs classes and hires teachers with the input of the CBO staff and clients; for example, some sites have a need for workplace math and English courses, while others focus on GED preparation or ESL classes. Of course, most sites have an array of students at many different levels, so a spectrum of independent study and group work may be provided. Teachers are paired with sites according to their area of expertise and understanding of the students' needs at that specific site.

When enrolling with Five Keys, we will obtain your prior school transcripts, conduct a brief
assessment of where your academic strengths and needs then develop a plan to have you meet
your academic goals.


Fully Accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges.