Ready to take the next step in your career? Visit the career center closest to you. Learn more.

August 1, 2018

This release originally said $1.35M in funding. As of publication the correct amount was $1.65M.

  • Funding increases growth opportunities for local retail employers, current employees and job seekers
  • Reimagine Retail has trained more than 497 workers for career advancement

SAN DIEGO, August 1, 2018 – Today, the San Diego Workforce Partnership announces that funding awarded to Reimagine Retail San Diego has reached a total of $1.65 million since 2016. Through this effort, the organization works with employers to improve job quality, creates pathways to advancement for retail workers and uncovers opportunities to strengthen the region’s retail economy.

“From teenagers in underserved communities landing their first jobs to local breweries offering new trainings to help their employees get promoted, we’ve already seen meaningful return on these investments,” says San Diego Workforce Partnership CEO Peter Callstrom.

San Diego’s retail industry employs nearly 300,000 workers, making up almost 20 percent of all jobs in San Diego County. In addition to the sector’s impact on local jobs and quality of life, it plays a critical role in developing San Diego workers’ skills and introducing young people to the world of work.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership recently received a $235,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation through the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership, bringing the total amount awarded to Reimagine Retail San Diego to $1.65 million over the past two years. Previous funding was awarded by Gap Inc. through its This Way Ahead program as well as directly from the Walmart Foundation and through the Walmart Foundation by way of the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and the Aspen Institute. The cumulative funding enables the San Diego Workforce Partnership to continue exploring strategies to improve job quality and career advancement for San Diego County retail workers.

One notable success took place at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in San Diego, a nonprofit helping refugees and others whose lives have been shattered to rebuild their futures. With support from the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s Reimagine Retail San Diego, the IRC connected seven refugees with transitional work at its Project CHOP, where they prepared locally-sourced food products.

“Thanks to the core job skills they learned in this supportive environment, all seven refugees advanced to entry-level jobs in San Diego’s hospitality industry,” says International Rescue Committee San Diego Senior Program Manager Anchi Mei.

Other key outcomes of Reimagine Retail San Diego have included:

  • More than 497 employees trained with new skills to prepare them for upward mobility
  • Customized Training provided for 17 employers, reimbursing them for up to 50 percent of worker training
  • Social Enterprise Accelerator launched to support local enterprises committed to training and hiring underserved residents
  • Retail labor market analysis completed for San Diego’s retail industry

Over the next year and a half, the San Diego Workforce Partnership expects to train nearly 80 young people in retail work fundamentals, engage more than 1,000 employers in retail, and develop systems to support workers in earning higher wages and advanced job titles.

To arrange interviews with experts from San Diego Workforce Partnership and the community members benefitting from these programs, please contact

San Diego Workforce Partnership

SDWP 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. SDWP 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.

Shannon Sneade
(702) 540-8108

Connect With Us
Stay in the know

The Workforce Partnership is dedicated to providing San Diego Residents with the most up-to-date resources for finding a career.

Subscribe to our newsletter.