Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means a reason for being. Learn how to apply it to your career journey.

March 3, 2021

Shandon Harbour is President and CEO at Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) San Diego Chapter. Shandon first joined ABC in 2013 overseeing the Chapter’s top quality journeyperson and safety training program, and continued those programs along with taking on leadership of the Training Trust in late 2016. Prior to being hired by ABC San Diego, Shandon’s entrepreneurial and construction experience included serving as part of the management team and eventually President of SDA Security.

Shandon also has an educational background; she worked as a multi-level teacher and peer coach for the San Diego Unified School District. She is a third generation San Diegan and a graduate of the University of Southern California, as well as the proud mother of three boys and lives in the Scripps Ranch area of San Diego. Here she tells us a little bit about her.

Why are you passionate about workforce development?

Shandon 8xI’ve always believed in the verse, “give a man/woman a fish, you feed them for a day. Teach them to fish, they eat for a lifetime.” And oftentimes, if you ask a jobless veteran, “what can we do to help?” the answer is usually “get me connected to a job.” Workforce development encompasses so much and, while there are different elements that contribute to one’s happiness quotient, maintaining stable employment and income is a key element to an individual’s sense of accomplishment.

This is why I do what I do in leading our ABC apprenticeship training program. It is life changing for our students. They graduate with career-sustaining, family-supporting jobs. It is why I love serving on the Workforce Development Board. The San Diego Workforce Partnership does so much good in San Diego for so many.

If you had $1M to donate to a workforce development program, what would you want done with it?

One of the most difficult hurdles for those picking themselves up by the bootstraps is the issue of transportation. I have brainstormed with others, and I haven’t solved this world problem yet! Our construction sites are difficult to get to as they’re not always on a bus or trolley route. I would take that $1M dollars and develop a grant program and work with a used car program to issue vehicles and then set it up similar to our Income Share Agreement program where once they are up and running, they can pay it forward for the next candidate to receive a vehicle. Nothing fancy on the vehicle, just four wheels of reliable transportation to open one more door for success for the candidate. Does that count as workforce development?

What do you like best about being on the Workforce Development Board?

The San Diego Workforce Partnership is a commitment to our San Diego community and a profound statement that we, as San Diegans, believe in the development of people of all ages and all walks of life. Programs funded through various sources through the Workforce Partnership propel so many different populations. Our Workforce Partnership team, lead by Peter Callstrom, is doing an incredible job creating and promoting so many different elements of workforce development. We’ve been nationally recognized with several awards on the work that has been done in San Diego. Also, thank you to all the board members who are such a wonderful piece of the fabric of our San Diego people-development partnership.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

We are all so fortunate to live in San Diego. I was born and raised here and so were my parents. People used to ask me, “where do you go to vacation when you live in San Diego?” And “is there stress in San Diego?” So to that end when I’m not working, being a fiancé and mom, doing the things we do in our communities, wearing all those hats we all wear, I like to enjoy America’s Finest City—the sunshine, beaches and bays, mountains, desert, poolside or night skies, food and drink. All of it. We are very lucky to call San Diego home.  

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