Jean Ashford retired in 1992 from a career in the Business Department of San Francisco City College. Born in Greenville, Mississippi, she remembers running up and down the aisle of the Greyhound Bus that brought her family to California’s Central Valley when she was eighteen months old. After Pearl Harbor her parents relocated to Redwood City. Her first job was with the NAACP during the era of boycotts and school desegregation in the 1950s. She was active in community service programs aimed at integrating minority women into the workforce. After several years working as a liaison with businesses for the Regional Office of the Girl Scouts of America she joined Hewlett Packard as a manuscript editor in the microwave division. With the increasing racial tensions of the Civil Rights era, H.P. granted her leave to teach in San Francisco Adult Education programs designed to facilitate entry of minority workers into labor unions (specifically for the construction of BART) and the technical work force. She was an early recipient of a Lifetime Teaching Credential issued by the California State Department of Education based on Life Experience. After a stint as Public Service Director for San Francisco’s Channel 20, she was a freelance consultant for several years working on numerous Department of Labor contracts. She then returned to teaching, first at Heald’s Business College and finally for twelve years at San Francisco City College until her retirement. Still doing occasional contract work for the Federal Government, she is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Central Sierra Arts Council.
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