Ikigai is a Japanese concept that means a reason for being. Learn how to apply it to your career journey.

March 1, 2021

Kelly Wilkinson is a program supervisor at the San Diego Workforce Partnership. Here she tells us a little about herself, both personally and professionally.

Kelly Wilkinson

What is a typical day like for you?

Each day, I spend a majority of my time collaborating with our team of case managers across the many programs of our department. My mornings include meetings with my team discussing program design ideas, challenges and opportunities for growth.

In addition, I have the opportunity to work across departments, aligning strategies and learning from my peers in Business Partnerships, Finance and Marketing & Communications. I miss being in the office—I certainly got my steps in as I jumped from department to department. I try to preserve my afternoons for focused work time, where I can spend time writing grant proposals, reviewing program budgets and spend, and strategizing our programs’ next moves.

What professional moment or project are you most proud of?

In 2020, we piloted Construction Career Jumpstart, a paid, four-week hands-on training program preparing job seekers for careers in the our regions’ growing energy, construction and utilities sector. We worked to design effective training curriculum and job readiness preparation to meet the needs of San Diego employers, and partnered with job seekers across the county who were eager to begin a career in this sector.

Kelly Wilkinson

Participants received instruction on safety, trenching, jackhammering, power tool usage and other essential skills in the field. Graduates were then connected with SDG&E and other employers, including City of San Diego Public Utilities Water & Wastewater, General Dynamics Nassco, R.E. Staite Engineering, San Diego County’s Building Trades Unions and Tesla. It was a true collaborative effort among our job seekers, training and employment partners, and department staff to launch a new program on an accelerated timeline. I’m thrilled that, to date, 19 of the 20 graduates have received full-time job offers, and we have received support to continue this program as a cornerstone of our energy, construction and utilities work.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working? Any new hobbies since we started working from home? 

When I’m not working, I enjoy supporting our San Diego Padres, gliding around a skating rink in figure skating lessons and eating my way through San Diego’s never-ending list of restaurants and breweries.

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