45 years of workforce development—no matter the name or place

January 7, 2019

SDWP staff in City Heights

The San Diego Workforce Partnership has seen various headquarters and organizational names. As we enter our 45th year of workforce development and have newly moved to a building in Kearny Mesa, some of our long-time staff look back at previous locations.

Balboa ParkBefore the Workforce Partnership set up shop in City Heights, our headquarters was in downtown San Diego, in a space across from the San Diego Rescue Mission that is now occupied by a high-rise residential building.

The Workforce Partnership had nearly 100 staff members at the time, and spanned the 6th, 7thand 8thfloors of the building.

Willie Wallace, a program specialist who has been with the Workforce Partnership since 1992, appreciated the location: “It was great for lunch options,” he says. “And there was a handball court in the basement.”

The downtown location, however, made parking for staff a bit of a nightmare: “We had to pay for our own parking [minus a partial reimbursement].” As the area was a bit more dangerous back then, Wallace recalls, “For their safety, we would sometimes need to escort our colleagues to their cars.”

SDWP previous & current headquarters locationsDespite the parking difficulties, Finance Specialist Martha Guzman, who has performed myriad roles at the Workforce Partnership since 1997, fondly remembers outings and all-staff meetings taking place in Balboa Park due to its proximity to the former downtown headquarters.

The meetings consisted of fun and informative skits that offered team updates with the rest of the organization. These days, our all-staff meetings maintain the creative spirit in different ways.

The Workforce Partnership moved its administrative offices to City Heights 15 years ago as part of a community redevelopment program.

Guzman says, “I was relieved to move to City Heights because of the parking.”

At the time, however, the area of the City Heights location was rougher around the edges. Now, the area is vibrant with a large transit hub, locally-owned multicultural businesses, community-based organizations, families and schools.

The Workforce Partnership downsized to about half its former size after moving to City Heights, before eventually growing again in recent months, to almost 70 staff members. The changes in staff size and roles reflect budgetary changes and the various needs that we are addressing with help from our partners in the community.

Along with office moves, the organization has also changed names quite a few times. It was known first as the Regional Employment Training Consortium, followed by the San Diego Consortium, then Private Industry Council before it became known as the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

Spectrum LightwaveWe are grateful to have been a part of and gotten to know various communities in the county. Our new headquarters is located near the campuses of partners County of San Diego and National University, as well as the Toby Wells YMCA.

Our mission drives our work, and we are committed to constantly improving our processes, regardless of name or place.

For all the changes and office moves, Wallace is also grateful: “I thank God for being able to work so long for the same organization.”