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February 28, 2014

The National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) selected Qualcomm as a W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award Honoree. The recognition is part of the WIB Excellence Awards. 

The WIB Excellence Award honors workforce investment boards that have demonstrated an ongoing ability to develop comprehensive workforce solutions and innovations for their communities by creating proactive program initiatives, engaging businesses, diversifying funding, and ensuring accountability. The W.O. Lawton Business Leadership Award honors a business or business organization that made the commitment of time, money and leadership to make their community’s workforce and economy more vibrant and that has gone above and beyond to be a full partner in their local WIB’s endeavors. 

Qualcomm is being recognized for its dedication to developing San Diego’s workforce, particularly through its Hire-A-Youth (HAY) program and the Qualcomm Corporate Integration Program (QCIP) Warrior Project.

“Qualcomm has been an amazing contributor to workforce development in our region. It has demonstrated time and time again how much it values preparing the current generation for the opportunities of tomorrow,” said Peter Callstrom, President and CEO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP). 

Qualcomm was one of the first companies to sign on for the HAY program when it was launched by the SDWP in 2009 (the program is now CONNECT2Careers). Since 2010, the Workforce Development Labs team in Qualcomm’s Staffing department has fully funded its own six-week program, benefitting more than 110 students to date. Qualcomm’s HAY program has provided youth the opportunity to gain hands-on experience while working in a variety of departments throughout the company. Youth are paired with sponsors who are able to provide project guidance and introduce meaningful work. Students learned interview techniques, how to write a professional résumé and create a business plan. They also received eight college prep credits thanks to the exceptional curriculum Qualcomm created in partnership with UCSD.

Qualcomm’s QCIP-Warriors is another example of the company’s commitment to our region’s workforce. In welcoming home our military heroes, Qualcomm partners with local organizations twice a year to recruit veterans for an eight-week corporate integration program, pairing 12 to 16 veterans with veteran mentors and coaches across the company. During the program each warrior is hired as a temporary employee, receives technical skills training and professional development, and participates in employment and hiring workshops. To date, 85% of class graduates have gained employment at Qualcomm or other local employers.  

Ed Hidalgo—Senior Director of Staffing at Qualcomm and former SDWP Workforce Investment Board chair and member of the Workforce Development Labs Team—will be accepting the award on behalf of Qualcomm. 

“This program would not be possible without the vision of the Workforce Development Labs team and the support of hundreds of Qualcomm managers, mentors and volunteers from across the company,” Hidalgo said. “This program inspires each of them to be better citizens both at work and in the community. Vance Anderson, who heads up the HAY program, and Gerry Borja, who heads up QCIP, deserve special recognition as well. We often say that through Hire-A-Youth and QCIP, we are able to bring volunteerism to the workplace and from an employee engagement standpoint; this returns a great deal of ROI to the company. Our employees love to give back. We work hard, we serve hard and we have a little fun too.”

Callstrom added: “Ed, Vance and their Qualcomm colleagues are passionate advocates for quality workforce development and job seekers in our region. They are committed to implementing programs that make a difference in the lives of people in our region. We are grateful and honored to partner with Qualcomm.”

Winners will be recognized at the NAWB Annual Forum, March 29–April 1, 2014, in Washington, D.C. The Forum is NAWB’s premier event, which brings together leaders in workforce development, economic development, education, business and industry. During the conference, attendees seek solutions to common challenges in maintaining a skilled workforce, designing education and training programs, and ensuring that businesses have the talent they need to remain competitive. For information, visit

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