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April 20, 2015

On April 17, RISE San Diego hosted its monthly Urban Breakfast Club event titled “Workforce Development: Can We Create Jobs for All?”

The one-hour panel discussion was moderated by San Diego Voice & Viewpoint Managing Editor Chida Darby. Panelists were:

  • Margie DeRuyter, Senior Advisor on Workforce Development, PCG Human Services
  • Andy Hall, Vice President of Programs, San Diego Workforce Partnership
  • Arnulfo Manriquez, President & CEO, MAAC Project
  • Omar Passons, Senior Attorney, Stutz Artiano Shinoff & Holtz, APC

The discussion centered on the need to educate job seekers of all ages of the opportunities that exist in San Diego’s regional economy and provide training to fill those jobs. When asked what employment barriers exist in our region, the panelists cited poverty, resources for parents, education and limited job opportunities, to name a few.

There was also strong emphasis on investing in the young adult workforce. Employers report that young adults need to learn critical thinking, interpersonal and social skills as well as technical skills. In the past, youth jobs programs funded by the federal government helped provide soft skills training and earn-and-learn experiences but the funding for those programs have lessened in recent years. SDWP’s CONNECT2Careers, which matches young adults ages 16-24 with summer employment, was recognized as an important yet underfunded regional program. The panel encouraged employers to hire youth and participate in work-readiness programs like C2C.

RISE San Diego is a local nonprofit with the goal of identifying and developing urban leaders by promoting resident-led civic engagement, strengthening community-based nonprofit organizations, and providing training and support to increase people’s capacity to lead themselves and positively impact the future of their neighborhoods. RISE is designed to take the “neighborhoods first” concept from aspiration to action.

For more information on RISE San Diego, visit

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