NATIONAL CITY, Calif. — The San Diego Foundation granted $100,000 to the newly formed National City Chamber Foundation to support south San Diego County workforce development during the COVID-19 pandemic, it announced today.
The new foundation is under the purview of the National City Chamber of Commerce and will work to boost career and job readiness, leadership skills and business support services.
"With this significant gift from the San Diego Foundation, we are able to pivot and focus our efforts to address South County's skyrocketing unemployment rates, food insecurity, educational and learning gaps and business decline," said Jacqueline L. Reynoso, founder and CEO of the National City Chamber Foundation. "We are committed to executing another virtual job fair, the I'm Ready Program, and connect 5,000 residents to workforce development resources."
The $100,000 grant came from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund at The San Diego Foundation. The grant enables the NCCF to operate workforce development and economic resiliency programs through Jan. 31, 2021. The NCCF is campaigning for a matching contribution to extend services beyond that date.
"With the community's support, we are able to mobilize resources and provide critical services that offer hope and opportunity for South Bay residents and business owners," said Victor Gonzalez, chairman of the NCCF.
The county's Health and Human Services Agency and Live Well San Diego South Region's leadership team helped to implement the second annual "I'm Ready Program" last week in conjunction with the NCCF.
The program consists of a six-week career and life-readiness curriculum for young people between the ages of 18 and 24 in the communities of National City, Logan Heights and Chula Vista. It offers training in financial literacy, leadership and job skills while connecting participants to internship opportunities.
Another initiative of NCCF is a virtual job fair, planned for Oct. 22, which will target people ages 18-29 in South County. The National City Chamber Foundation hopes to connect 5,000 residents to employment and career services. In addition, both the chamber of commerce and the NCCF will continue to provide businesses technical assistance to access capital, marketing resources and free consulting.
"Community partnerships and collaboration are what makes our work feasible and impactful," Reynoso said.
Partners of the NCCF include South Bay Community Services, Metropolitan Area Advisory Committee on Anti-Poverty, Logan Heights CDC, San Diego Workforce Partnership, South County Career Center, Employment Development Department, Department of Rehabilitation, Southwestern College, South County EDC and other local colleges and universities.