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July 29, 2022

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Structural racism has denied Black communities and individuals’ equal access to economic advancement. San Diego Foundation’s “Black Community Investment Fund” addresses this systemic inequity by prioritizing Black San Diegans’ access to career training, education, internships and job placement. The grant is also being used to assist participants with critical needs such as clothing and transportation. “To achieve equity we have to address the barriers that structural racism has created for Black San Diegans who are seeking access to quality jobs in high-paying sectors like technology and healthcare. Says Peter Callstrom, CEO of Workforce Partnership. “We are thankful to the San Diego Foundation and Bank of America for their continued investment in workforce development and education.”  

The COVID-19 pandemic brought awareness to the vast inequities in access to healthcare among Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). These historic issues highlight the need for a more diverse healthcare workforce. As reflected in our 2021 Healthcare Sector Overview Report BIPOC individuals are massively underrepresented in high-paying healthcare occupations. The workforce system must create sustainable pipelines to increase Black workers’ access to high-paying healthcare occupations. A more diverse healthcare workforce can lead to improved patient experience, preventative care, and better health outcomes for Black patients.  

Technology is one of the fastest-growing and highest-paying sectors in America. Companies are providing employees with high levels of pay, job quality and flexible work environments, making positions highly desirable. Despite public commitments from companies to diversify, there is a large gap in representation of Black workers in the technology sector, with demographics staying static for the past five years. One of the biggest barriers Black workers face in launching a technology career is a general industry requirement for work experience even in entry-level positions. Over 60% of entry-level technology jobs posted on LinkedIn require at least six-months of experience and this requirement disproportionately impacts the Black community because structural racism has prevented Black families from building the wealth needed to pay for training or to forgo wages while participating in low-paying internships. “The Workforce Partnership has long been a partner in diversifying our region’s workforce,” says Pamela Gray Payton, VP, Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer for San Diego Foundation. “This grant will help members of our Black community enter high-paying careers in technology and healthcare, which will lead to greater generational wealth for them and their families.” 

Through funding provided by San Diego Foundation and Bank of America, the Workforce Partnership will use established connections to recruit participants for their Information & Communication Technologies (ICT) and Healthcare programs, which provide participants with education, certification, on-the-job training and pathways to meaningful careers in these high-growth, high-demand industries. “San Diego continues to be a major hub for rapidly growing healthcare and technology careers, and developing more equitable pathways for diverse talent into these fields is critical,” says Rick Bregman, President, Bank of America San Diego. “Programs supported by the Black Community Investment Fund go a long way to help communities of color access the education and training necessary to get hired. Participants receive education and paid training, a key part of how the Workforce Partnership is using our grant dollars.”   

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