A look at San Diego’s top 10 workforce moments in 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, we’re looking back at some of this year’s best workforce development moments in San Diego County.

1. The San Diego Workforce Partnership makes a big move, revealing a new look to go with it. 

Photo of building
Resulting in an estimated cost savings of $6 million over the next 15 years, the Workforce Partnership moved our headquarters to Kearny Mesa. Along with the move came the launch of our new brand identity, including a new logo. It represents who we are and where we’re heading, offering a much better representation of how we are redefining workforce development.

2. Workforce Partnership turns 45!

Love City Heights

In our lifespan of 45 years, the Workforce Partnership has had a few different names and homes. Regardless of where we show up to work or what we’re called, we’re always committed to empowering job seekers to meet the current and future workforce needs of employers in San Diego County. That’s why the County of San Diego proclaimed June 25, 2019 “San Diego Workforce Partnership Day.”

3. A new student loan alternative shakes up how we fund education and training

Andy Isa

After sharing it at Workforce Frontiers Symposium 2018 when it was just an idea, the first cohort of 50 students enrolled at UC San Diego Extension through our Workforce Income Share Agreement (ISA) Fund in July. ISAs provide pathways to education through a sustainable learning fund where the student pays nothing upfront. Once they complete the program, participants pay between 5-8% of their income—as long as its more than $40,000 a year—which is funneled right back into the program to cover costs for future students. 

The fund came to fruition when the Workforce Partnership received $1.2 million in funding from Strada Education Network to increase access and diversity in tech through ISAs. Partnerships with the Irvine Foundation and Google.org quickly followed, paving the way for Lumina Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation to invest over $1 million combined to advance financing models focused on outcomes (like ISAs) in the public workforce development system.

4. New strategic pillars frame our vision for the future of workforce development

Strategic Pillars

Everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed. And when more people have access to the resources they need to do so, our economy and community are stronger. We realize that programs are impactful, but it is systems that truly drive transformation in our community. With this in mind, we committed to five strategic pillars to shape our work from now through 2025—inclusive business growth, job quality, outcomes-focused funding, population-specific interventions and 2Gen.

5. Over 850 changemakers gathered to increase opportunity for young people in San Diego County

Opportunity Summit 2019

There are 37,000 young adults ages 16–24 in San Diego County who are not working or in school. Opportunity Summit 2019 was our third annual convening around increasing opportunity for young adults in San Diego County as they transition from high school into the workforce.

An expert lineup of speakers (including young adults) helped attendees better understand the issues impacting opportunity youth and gave clear direction on how, collectively and as individuals, we can invest in opportunity and make a difference.

6. Interactive online retail research points to forces driving change in San Diego County’s retail sector

Career Crawl

Through The Aspen Institute’s Reimagine Retail Initiative, the Workforce Partnership undertook a research project to understand the social, economic and regulatory forces driving change in San Diego County’s retail sector. We focused specifically on the impact of changes in technology, cross-border purchasing and employment patterns, rising minimum wage and racial disparities.

7. Second African American Achievement Summit supports students; celebrates identity

AAA summit group

Last year, the first-ever African American Achievement Summit was an acknowledgment that our systems have not served Black students effectively. This was evident through dropout rates, expulsions and the significant disparity in youth disconnection of Black youth versus White youth—an 11% gap.

On June 4, Mesa College hosted the second annual African American Achievement Summit, which brought together more than 500 students from all over the district. The day was a celebration of African American/Black identity and was emceed by motivational speaker Jordan Harrison.

8. Rapid Rehousing Employment Pilot serves 92 in 4 months

Woman On Wall

The Rapid Rehousing Employment Pilot is a program that incorporates employment goals as treatment. The Workforce Partnership acts as a liaison between participants and employers to lower the barrier for those with lived experience of homelessness and mental illness who want to work.

Clients, like Jasmine and Zahra, are referred to the pilot to work with an employment specialist that will help them get matched with housing and employment opportunities. 

9. Research reveals San Diego County priority sectors

Priority Sector illustration

Our priority sector research informs program design, recommendations to students and job seekers, how our career centers are staffed, school curricula, the eligible provider training list and more. In collaboration with Imperial County, the sectors were refreshed in 2019, increasing from five to seven sectors. With new sectors came updated posters and printouts—order your own set!  

10. We continued our exploration of the outer reaches of workforce development

Crowd at symposium

This year’s Workforce Frontiers Symposium on November 7 saw over 250 attendees hear from local and national speakers on the latest outer reaches of workforce development where job quality, equity, outcomes and opportunity drive our supports for San Diego County’s job seekers, families, businesses and economy. Topics explored included quality jobs, immigrant integration and racial equity.