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September 8, 2021

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On September 7, 2021, the San Diego Workforce Partnership, the City of San Diego and local elected officials announced the new San Diego County youth workforce development system to provide education, training and employment services to young San Diegans ages 16 to 24. It is made possible by funding through the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and a $1 million investment from the City of San Diego that provides training and workforce development services to young San Diegans from August 2021 to June 2022.

“Investing in young adults now will benefit our regional economy in the future” says Mayor Todd Gloria. “That’s why we’ve made considerable efforts to support young people at the City by reactivating the Youth Commission, creating the Office of Child and Youth Success, allocating city dollars for summer youth programming at parks and recreation centers, and now securing $1 million through my Back to Work San Diego plan for the Connect2Careers workforce development program. This program will bolster youth employment and set up the youth of our city for success.”

The new network will provide career center services through the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s career centers and work in tandem with four community-based organizations to serve the following populations:

  • Black youth
  • Youth experiencing homelessness
  • Immigrant, refugee and/or English language learner youth
  • Justice-involved youth

Despite the resilience young people have demonstrated over the past year, the COVID-19 crisis has both highlighted and exacerbated the existing inequalities challenging young people. According to the Economic Policy Institute, young workers ages 16 to 24 have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, resulting in high unemployment and uncertain futures.

“The future of San Diego’s economy and labor market lies within the hands of the next generation of great San Diego workers. We believe in empowering all job seekers, including our young workers, to find the intersection between what they love to do, what they can be paid for and what employers need,” says Peter Callstrom, president and CEO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership. “The goal of our new San Diego County youth workforce development system is to help young San Diegans align their interests and skills with education, training and fulfilling jobs that will help them launch a meaningful career and create a better life for themselves and their families.”

In response to this reality, this new program will serve all San Diegans ages 16 to 24 regardless of income or background to help them secure a quality job and jumpstart their careers through community-focused workforce development, education, training and employment opportunities.

Additionally, four community-based organizations have been awarded contracts by the San Diego Workforce Partnership to serve specific populations:

  • San Diego Youth Services: Youth experiencing Homelessness
  • San Diego Continuing Education Foundation: Immigrant, refugee and/or English language learner youth
  • South Bay Community Services: Justice-involved youth

“I was able to discover and enroll in ACCESS through my charter school. In the course of time, I was able to develop more than I expected” says youth system participant, Andrea. “Thanks to their program, I shifted from feeling behind in life to being able to take things head-on. Everything I participated in improved my character, skills and overall mental health. I now have around 10 certificates and counting, which will no doubt help me on my ongoing working journey and confidence.”

The San Diego Workforce Partnership’s new San Diego County youth workforce development system is a one-stop shop where young adults can get access to innovative workforce development programming that includes education, training and employment services. To get connected to the new youth system, please visit workforce.org/getajob.

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