San Diego County needs 18,500 more behavioral health workers by 2027. Learn more.

September 14, 2022

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Women and people of color are underrepresented in high-wage earning occupations in both the healthcare and public administration sectors. Meanwhile, the San Diego region is struggling to fill job openings for occupations in these in-demand fields. The Workforce Partnership and Assemblymember Brian Maienschein (District 77) are working together to meet the demand for qualified workers and provide opportunities for these underrepresented populations.  

Assemblymember Maienschein awarded the Workforce Partnership $10 million to create and administer programs that will train qualified job seekers for careers in the healthcare and public administration sectors. Funds will support training, job placement services, transportation, childcare, case management and other necessary services for job seekers. “The services that the San Diego Workforce Partnership offers provide incredible value to our community. By equipping job seekers with the necessary skills to help them become assets to local employers, the Workforce Partnership has proved to be a driving force in improving employment search and training opportunities in San Diego County. I am confident that the funding I secured in the State Budget will help enrich and broaden the scope of their services to benefit countless others in our region,” says Assemblymember Brian Maienschein. 

Under healthcare, the Workforce Partnership will create a peer support specialist (PSS) training program to provide training to support individuals who struggle with mental health, psychological trauma and/or substance abuse. The program will include 8-10 weeks of full-time, subsidized peer support certification training conducted by an approved California Mental Health Services Authority training provider. 

The Workforce Partnership identified EMS (EMT + paramedic) and firefighting as priority occupations because of the growth, demand and job quality they provide. Local EMS providers and fire departments are focused on diversity and inclusion within their recruitment efforts across the region, while meeting the growing need to address talent shortages created by the pandemic and increasing retirements. 

The Workforce Partnership will recruit, train and place individuals in pre-apprenticeships and certificate training programs and help with job placement with the region’s firefighting departments and private-sector emergency response companies. 

This project will bring together partners from the EMS and firefighting sectors to develop a cohesive, long-term strategy and talent pipeline to serve both EMS and firefighting employers and provide San Diegans a sustainable career pathway. 

The public sector is the largest employer in San Diego County and has the lowest turnover rate. The need for behavioral health professionals with lived experience and diversity in language-speaking skills is also rapidly growing. Yet many of the highest-paying jobs have historically denied opportunity to women and people of color in our region.  “It is important that women and people of color have the same access to high-quality jobs and sustainable wages that will create a more diverse and equitable workforce that reflects the diversity of our region.” says Peter Callstrom, CEO of the Workforce Partnership. “Assemblymember Maienschein’s visionary investment will allow us to break down barriers and ensure better opportunities for job seekers to succeed.” 

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