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June 17, 2016

Kameron Bacon speaks in front of committee membersOn June 16, SDWP’s Vice President and Chief Programs Officer Andy Hall and CONNECT2Careers Program Technician Kameron Bacon presented at the City of San Diego’s Economic Development and Intergovernmental Relations (ED&IR) Committee meeting on “CONNECT2Careers 3000,” the name of the CONNECT2Careers (C2C) goal to reduce the youth unemployment crisis in San Diego County by providing 3,000 youth throughout the county with work experiences over a 12-month period (June 2016 – June 2017).

SDWP currently serves 3,000 opportunity youth (young adults 16–24 not connected to school or work): 2,000 served by $6M in federal funds, plus 1,000 served by City of San Diego funds.

Andy pointed out that the total population of out-of-school youth in San Diego County is estimated at 53,000 (19,000 in the city). This means SDWP is only serving 5.7% of opportunity youth in the county. Youth not connected to school or work are at risk of not only “failing to meet their personal potential, but also cost the U.S. billions of dollars every year in lost earnings, incarceration costs, and expenditures on social services.”

“The best way to stop a bullet is a job,” Andy said, quoting political activist Van Jones. He mentions the need to create more job opportunities with local employers, and shared the most recently available C2C progress report.

As of this writing, 2,244 young people have enrolled in the C2C portal; 1,720 have attended work-readiness training workshops, and 147 youth have been placed in jobs or internships.

Andy asked the committee to launch a working group with representatives from SDWP, the California Employment Development Department (EDD), a key city administrator and human resources representative to explore opportunities and challenges to aligning and expanding current city internship opportunities with C2C, and bring back specific recommendations to ED&IR.

Committee Chair Myrtle Cole forwarded the motion, saying the City of San Diego is the 7th largest employer in the city with nearly 11,000 employees, and thus needs to do more to help youth find their way into long-term careers. Councilmember David Alvarez seconded the motion, saying he is grateful to have had adults see the opportunity in people like himself.

The motion was passed by the committee.

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