As 2018 comes to a close, we’re taking a stroll down memory lane to capture some of this year’s best workforce development moments in San Diego County.
1. San Diego Workforce Partnership named WIOA Trailblazer
The WIOA Trailblazer Award—the workforce equivalent of an Academy 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.
The Workforce Partnership was recognized for its unsurpassed leadership in bringing together key government, economic development, education, business and industry and nonprofit leaders in broad-based regional planning.
2. The community doubled down on reducing youth disconnection in San Diego County
Opportunity Summit 2018: Initiate gathered 750 changemakers to step up community efforts to reduce youth disconnection in San Diego County—nearly 1 in 10 16–24-year-olds are neither working or in school. Some of these efforts include elevating youth voice at the summit and through the OpportunitySD Leadership Council, integrating artistic expression, sharing data and, more importantly, acting on it.
3. We explored the outer reaches of workforce development
Workforce Frontiers Symposium dove head first into cutting edge workforce development ideas that are quickly becoming a reality in San Diego County, which includes new approaches to job quality, student debt and program funding as well as recognizing the role workforce development plays in supporting working parents and individuals experiencing homelessness.
4. Our region joined the national conversation on the fading American dream
Economic mobility—the ability of an individual or family to move up the economic ladder—is dwindling in the U.S. In fact, the likelihood that American adults live in a household with a higher income than their household as a child has dropped from over 90 percent for children born in 1940 to just about 50/50 odds for children born in the 80s.
This year, renowned Stanford University economics professor and foremost expert on economic mobility Raj Chetty, Ph.D., brought his big data to San Diego to explore the topic. The Workforce Partnership’s Center for Local Income Mobility (CLIMB), which was built from these findings, aims to increase income mobility in San Diego County.
5. Gift from the Walmart Foundation pushed local retail sector investment to $1.65M
Since 2016, the Workforce Partnership has been working with employers to improve job quality, create pathways to advancement for retail workers and uncover opportunities to strengthen the region’s retail economy. An initial investment from the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership has catalyzed a total of $1.65M in giving from the Walmart Foundation, The Aspen Institute and Gap Inc. to continue and expand the work in the region.
6. TechHire continued to level the playing field for San Diego County tech jobs
TechHire San Diego represents an opportunity to build a more inclusive tech talent pipeline. Continuing to import talent at a high cost is not a long-term strategy for San Diego businesses in this competitive market. It’s time to empower every resident from every neighborhood and background to contribute to the growth and sustainability of San Diego’s innovation economy.
In its first program year, TechHire San Diego reached 233 internship placements at 58 tech companies, putting the team on track to meet their commitment of 1,500 internship placements over the next four years.
7. Pilot program served California’s English Language Learner population
More than a third of California’s workforce is foreign-born*and often struggling with English language proficiency and educational attainment. Enter an English Language Learner pilot project to serve this population. This year, the program was able to support individuals from a wide array of backgrounds, including a medical doctor from Iraq and an interpreter for the U.S. Armed Forces in Afghanistan.
8. Workforce and child care systems connected to better serve parents
2Gen work is a simultaneous investment in the education and skill attainment of parents and their children. In 2018, CLIMB brought together local child care and workforce systems to better support working parents.
As part of a $13.8M investment by the San Diego Foundation’s Clum Fund, the Workforce Partnership was awarded $150,000 to help with advocacy and research as the fund builds its grantmaking strategy, demonstrating an emerging community emerging focus on family opportunity.
9. San Diego moved to expand employment program for individuals experiencing homelessness
The City of San Diego is working Regional Task Force on the Homeless, the San Diego Housing Commission and the San Diego Workforce Partnership on the Homeless Rapid Employment Initiative—a unique blend of services that use innovation and collaboration to serve a specially filtered population of those experiencing homelessness in the City of San Diego.
Through the initiative, the Workforce Partnership is using the evidence-based Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model—which incorporates employment goals as treatment for people with mental illness and other barriers to employment—and acts as a liaison between participants and employers with only one criterion: The participant wants to work.
10. Councils formed to strengthen talent pipelines in health care and technology industries
San Diego County businesses are struggling to find the talent they need to fill in-demand positions. Recognizing that this skills gap cannot close itself, two industry councils were convened in 2018 to bring together business and workforce development to tackle the talent shortage.
Rooted in labor market data and gut checked by industry expert experience, the councils will craft and pilot potential solutions to the biggest hiring hiccups experienced in their respective fields of health care and technology.
*California Workforce Board