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February 7, 2018

Washington, D.C.—The National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), the membership organization and advocate for more than 550 workforce development boards nationwide and their network of American Job Centers, has announced the 2018 winners of its annual WIOA Trailblazer Award.

The WIOA Trailblazer Award recognizes a workforce development board that has been a leader in adopting the changes envisioned in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and in expanding its ability to develop comprehensive workforce solutions for its community. This year’s winner is the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) in San Diego County, CA.

SDWP serves 3.4 million residents in a county whose economy is driven by innovation and expansion in the life sciences, technology, manufacturing, defense and tourism industries. SDWP is recognized for its unsurpassed leadership in bringing together key government, economic development, education, business and industry and non-profit leaders in broad-based regional planning.

Together, these groups agreed on core tenets that will drive the strategic plans of each of the participating organizations. Recognizing that not all residents have had equal opportunities to benefit from San Diego’s dynamic economy, SDWP targets its efforts in the growing space between economic development and workforce equity.

“Time and again, the San Diego Workforce Partnership sought new approaches to solving regional challenges and never stopped its efforts to align with other stakeholders,” said NAWB President and CEO Ron Painter. “Their holistic focus and collaborative approach is an example of how a board with a large population and geographical area to cover can still be flexible, attuned, and ready to fuel change based on regional needs.”

“The San Diego Workforce Partnership continues to push the envelope in implementing effective workforce solutions for San Diegans,” said San Diego City Councilmember and SDWP Policy Board Chair Scott Sherman. “This is a well-deserved award that would not have been possible without Peter Callstrom and his hard working team.”

“SDWP should be incredibly proud to receive this recognition amongst our many talented peers across the country,” said Phil Blair Manpower San Diego President and Workforce Development Board Chair. “It recognizes one of our core beliefs that success is dependent on our need to focus on both the client in search of a job and the employer that will hire them. We are especially proud of our new efforts on justice-involved reentry services as well as innovative collaborations to reconnect our opportunity youth—16-24 who are not in school and not working. We are definitely making a difference.”

Winners will be recognized at The Forum 2018, presented by NAWB in Washington, D.C. March 24–27, 2018. The Forum 2018 convenes leaders, advocates and changemakers in business, government, labor and education to network and share insights; address key issues affecting U.S. workforce development; and consider the goals and policy framework affecting the future of human capital and economic growth. For information or to register, visit To learn more about the winners and others who were nominated, visit our Awards page.

About the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB)

The National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) supports its members through a comprehensive program of advocacy, training and technical assistance, communication, and the promotion of strategic partnerships for the advancement of our nation’s workforce. For more information on NAWB, visit, and to see how investments in workforce development keep Americans working, go to

About the 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. For more information, visit

Desiree Roughton
(619) 228-2959

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