With over 25 years of experience working within the California community college system, Dr. Danene Brown is the regional consortium chair for the San Diego and Imperial Counties community colleges, representing the career education programs at the 10 regional community colleges. Dr. Brown has also served as chair for the San Diego & Imperial Counties community colleges’ workforce development council and has participated in the planning and implementation of the state’s strong workforce program initiative. Here, she shares why workforce development is essential to local and regional economic growth and stability.
Why are you passionate about workforce development?
My passion for workforce development comes from my 30 years of experience working in this field. I began my journey with workforce development at the East County Career Center and in the years that followed I have had the privilege to participate in workforce development at the community college level. Throughout my career I have seen the direct impact our programs have on individuals, their families and our communities. Workforce development opportunities not only provide individuals and their families with social mobility, but enhance the economic health of our communities.
If you had $1M to donate to a workforce development program, what would you want done with it?
The Advancing San Diego project is one of our recent collaborations with multiple stakeholders. Through this, project industry representatives including the San Diego Regional Regional Economic Development Corp (EDC), the San Diego Workforce Partnership, United Way, Manpower, community colleges and other educational institutions, have come together to increase access for diverse populations and to better prepare San Diegans for high wage, high demand jobs. In addition to identifying the knowledge, skills and abilities needed to align curriculum to industry needs, this project also funds paid internships in the areas of high need. Research has found that providing paid internships increases students’ employment success. These opportunities are especially impactful for traditionally underrepresented populations with limited economic resources. If I had $1M, I would support paid internships for community college students. This investment would not only improve students’ employment success, but also support small employers.
What do you like best about being on the Workforce Development Board?
Although I have only been serving on the Board for less than a year, I have already had the opportunity to participate in a number of workgroups and review committees. I have enjoyed learning about all of the Workforce Partnership services and activities that support jobseekers and employers within San Diego. However, what I have enjoyed most is working with the Workforce Partnership staff. They are knowledgeable, professional and truly dedicated to our work. I have appreciated how respectful they are of board members’ time and feedback. I look forward to further collaborating with this talented group, and creating more numerous and better opportunities for San Diego’s workforce.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
When I’m not working I love to watch college football, work in my garden and hike the many San Diego trails. I also love to travel in the United States and abroad; I’m hoping to visit Vietnam next year.