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May 16, 2019 joins Strada Education Network and The James Irvine Foundation to back pioneering workforce development program

San Diego, CA, May 16, 2019— The San Diego Workforce Partnership and the University of California San Diego Extension (UCSDx) today announced a new, first-of-its-kind initiative aimed at removing financial barriers to higher education for students and working learners in San Diego. Beginning this summer, the program will enable unemployed and underemployed individuals across San Diego County to access training in high-demand fields at no up-front cost.

“For too many students and workers in the San Diego region, the cost of education poses a barrier that can prevent them from pursuing opportunities for social and economic mobility,” said Andy Hall, COO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership. “This is about creating a new, sustainable model of workforce development that can connect individuals with new career pathways — and help employers address pressing tech talent shortages.”

The new program, known as the Workforce Income Share Agreement Fund (Workforce ISA Fund), was designed to address skill shortages in San Diego’s fastest-growing industries, including business intelligence and digital marketing. According to research from the San Diego Workforce Partnership, the region has seen double-digit growth in technology jobs in recent years, but the pipeline of graduates with the skills to succeed in those positions continues to lag behind.

Participants in the Workforce ISA Fund will have access to certificate-granting courses at UCSDx through a unique model that requires no up-front tuition. Instead, once students complete their certificate and secure a job with an annual salary of at least $40,000, they pay a set percentage of their income over a set period of time. Because the payment amount scales with an individual’s salary, the program ensures that no graduates will face the burden of payment during times of financial hardship. Students will also have access to a wraparound support system designed to help them succeed in both the classroom and the job market, including career coaching and mentoring, exclusive networking events, and internship and job placement services.

“It’s time for employers, education providers, and individuals to start preparing for a world where lifelong learning is an economic imperative,” said Josh Shapiro of UC San Diego Extension. “Our goal is to ensure that every student and worker in San Diego can access a world-class education coupled with the support and guidance that will help them succeed in the workforce.”

The first program cohort will launch this July with 100 students, with the aim of growing to 200 students annually beginning in 2020. This year’s initial pilot is supported by grants from, Strada Education Network and The James Irvine Foundation.

“This initiative should serve as a model for innovation in workforce development across the country,” said Andrew Dunckelman of “The Workforce ISA Fund is an important step towards a nationwide shift in the way we think about education and training to prepare for the jobs of the future.”

“Our goal is to expand access to education at a time when the shelf life of skills is shrinking, and ‘one-and-done’ learning is no longer enough to equip individuals with skills that will last throughout their careers,” said Tonio DeSorrento of Vemo Education, which is leading the design and implementation of the Workforce ISA Fund. “UCSDx and the Workforce Partnership are pioneering a new approach to preparing today’s workforce for the jobs of tomorrow.”


About the University of California, San Diego

UC San Diego serves the lifelong learning and skill development needs of individuals, organizations and a global community. UC San Diego Extension offers year-round continuing and professional education to approximately 62,000 enrollees a year, which translates to about 25,000 students in nearly 4,300 courses delivered in-person, online and 3D-virtual reality classrooms. Certificate and degree-related programs, community partnerships, public-service lectures, and special events meet the rapidly evolving academic, career and cultural needs. As an integral part of UC San Diego, UC San Diego Extension programs are developed with the same rigor and standard of excellence upheld by the University.

About the San Diego Workforce Partnership
The Workforce Partnership is the leader for innovative workforce solutions in San Diego County. It funds and delivers job training programs that enable all job seekers to develop the skills and knowledge needed for in-demand careers. The Workforce Partnership also provides ongoing labor market research on the region’s workforce trends and key industries. Its vision is to ensure that every business in our region has access to a skilled workforce and every job seeker has access to meaningful employment. For more information, visit

About, Google’s philanthropy, supports nonprofits that address humanitarian issues worldwide and apply scalable, data-driven innovation to solving the world’s biggest challenges. The organization accelerates progress by connecting with a unique blend of support that includes funding, products, and technical expertise from Google volunteers. wants a world that works for everyone—and they believe technology and innovation can move the needle in four key areas: education, economic opportunity, inclusion and crisis response. For more information, visit 

About The James Irvine Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California. The Foundation’s current focus is a California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided more than $1.87 billion in grants to organizations throughout California. With about $2.3 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $95.9 million in 2018. For more information, visit

About Strada Education Network

Strada is an Indianapolis-based national social impact organization dedicated to strengthening the pathways between education and employment. For more information, visit

About Vemo Education

Vemo Education is an educational technology company that partners with colleges and universities to design, implement, and sustain income-based tuition solutions to achieve institutional goals of access, retention, and completion. Vemo Education’s team is committed to working with schools to use income-based financing to align with student success and college affordability. Learn more at

Media contact for UCSD / Workforce Partnership:

Angela Rivera, (619) 254-3818,

Media contact for Vemo Education:

Ben Watsky, (202) 851-3601, 


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