In the latest Around Town column, news about the East Palo Alto Planning Commission’s approval of the Center for Economic Mobility project and one nonprofit’s plans to celebrate Lunar New Year with the community.

LOOKING AHEAD … The effort to establish a Center for Economic Mobility in East Palo Alto marked a milestone this week when the proposal gained the city Planning and Transportation Commission’s approval.

The four-story, 100,000-square-foot building at 2535 Pulgas Ave. is expected to provide two floors of space for JobTrain, expanding the organization’s space to deliver career development support and other employment-based services. “As our current facility is at capacity, the Center for Economic Mobility will allow us to continue to offer our highly effective job training and placement, supportive services and skills upgrade classes while expanding programs and services to help more residents gain access to great careers right in our backyard,” JobTrain CEO Barrie Hathaway said in a press release.

The Menlo Park-based nonprofit is partnering on the project with the Emerson Collective, a for-profit company in Palo Alto that works to address issues in education, immigration, media and journalism, the environment and health. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to work alongside our partners and the local community to bring this meaningful project to life,”Lorenzo Brooks, director of real estate development at the Emerson Collective, said in a statement. Slated to open in 2024, the center will be designed based on community input.

The project has recently found assistance through Bank of America, which donated $1 million for construction. The grant “is one of the largest the bank has awarded in Silicon Valley,” according to a Jan. 21 press release.

A NEW YEAR IS DAWNING … While WizChinese won’t hold its annual Lunar New Year festival in light of the recent omicron surge, the nonprofit still plans to spread cheer to usher in the Year of the Tiger.

Children can get their hands on a coveted red envelope at the Trees of Gratitude, a community art display at the intersection of Bryan Street and Lowell Avenue in the Old Palo Alto neighborhood. More than 100 envelopes holding a mystery item will be distributed, along with a greeting card from the organization, on Saturday, Feb. 5, at 2 p.m. The trees are decked out with a paper dragon and other red and gold decorations with symbols of hope for the new year.

The organization also is holding a fundraiser for the Stanford Center for Asian Health Research and Education (Stanford CARE). People who donate $20 or more will be entered into a raffle for a handful of Stanford CARE mugs. Those who contribute $50-$99 will be gifted with a “delicious sauce” valued at $12. Finally, donors who give $100 or more will be treated to a tasty box of Yunnan-style dim sum valued at $29. Funds will be accepted by visiting Supporters will be contacted by email on how to retrieve their gift. More information on Stanford CARE can be found at

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Around Town: East Palo Alto Planning Commission gives nod to Center for Economic Mobility – Palo Alto Online

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