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January 26, 2015

In late January, SDWP CEO Peter Callstrom joined Mayor Kevin Faulconer in representing our region at the 83rd Annual Winter Meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) in Washington, D.C. A broad range of issues was addressed, including many related to workforce development: overall economic health of the nation’s cities, minimum wage policies, help for returning veterans, apprenticeships and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

At the meeting Callstrom was re-elected to the Board of Trustees for the Workforce Development Council (WDC), a forum for mayors and their employment and training administrators to examine workforce development issues and strengthen the ability of cities to meet the needs of their citizens, particularly those with special barriers to employment.

Youth services were a particular focus at the meeting, as youth face significant challenges to access employment. Local leaders underscored that mayors have the capacity to create innovative partnerships with local businesses and nonprofits to ensure that the nation’s youth have meaningful early work experience through a quality summer job. Mayors can help secure partnerships with business to provide summer learning experiences in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and work-readiness pathways geared toward the skills needed for full-time employment and success in the modern economy.

“Cities are making enormous strides in partnering with their business and nonprofit communities to create comprehensive summer youth employment opportunities for youth,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “I applaud these mayors for their leadership and for their strong dedication to summer youth jobs.”

SDWP’s summer youth employment program CONNECT2Careers is one such program that has received strong support from the local mayor. “CONNECT2Careers relies on close collaboration among government, industry and workforce development to be successful,” Callstrom says. “Discussing these challenges with cities that are working as diligently as we are to provide youth with these important work experiences has been invaluable as we gear up for another season of the program.”

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