With over 43,000 young people ages 16–24 in San Diego County who are not in school or working, it’s critical to address issues of education and career early in a student’s life to change this outcome from disconnection to opportunity. On May 24, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) and San Diego Unified School District partnered to host a Career Day at Roosevelt International Middle School, located in the heart of Balboa Park, to expose students to career opportunities in San Diego. The goal of the event was to engage and inspire students at a young age by developing their interests and talents, paving the way for them to one day be contributors to our region’s growing economy.
Chamber President and CEO Jerry Sanders introduced Career Day, reflecting on his road from police officer to elected official. Ed Hidalgo, Director of World of Work at the University of San Diego, shared his own struggles finding his strengths and talents and encouraged the students to cultivate the things they enjoy and do well and never dwell on those they don’t.
The more than 200 eighth-graders then broke out into sector sessions to hear directly from leaders in San Diego’s top industries and help spark an interest in their future career path. The four highlighted industries were:
- Media and Communications
- Health Care
- Science, Technology Engineering and Math (STEM)
Following their choice of two industry panels, students were joined by parents for the remainder of the program. City of San Diego Councilmember Chris Ward was the capstone speaker and the event culminated with a resource fair hosted by the SDWP’s CONNECT2Careers program.