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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Working it Out: Navigating unemployment during COVID-19

San Diego Workforce Partnership reports 218,000 fewer San Diegans are working now than this time last year.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The search for jobs and skills has skyrocketed and latest numbers show unemployment in San Diego was at 13.9% in June due to the COVID-19 but with recent re-closures that number could be higher for July.

San Diego Workforce Partnership, a nonprofit the City of San Diego and County of San Diego use for workforce development said the number of job seekers has doubled and tripled compared to years past, even after the 2008 Great Recession.

“No comparison, this is certainly a historic time,” said Peter Callstrom, San Diego Workforce Partnership CEO.

The nonprofit reports there are 218,000 fewer San Diegans working now than this time last year.

Matt Domagala is reaching 12 weeks without receiving an unemployment check.

“It's very frustrating and pretty scary,” said Domagala.

He worked in engineering for a start-up company for medical devices and was laid off in May. He’s had to dip into savings and worries about making his next mortgage payment.

“Because I'm not working doesn't mean the bills are going to stop,” said Domagala.

The engineer said he's posted his resume on Linkedin, Monster and he’s contacted recruiters. He’s been in the workforce for 40 years and still can’t find a job.

“You start calling your old friends and co-workers and get the word out that you are looking, “said Domagala. “Even the companies that would be a good fit for me aren't going to be adding people right away.”

That's where San Diego Workforce Partnership comes in, empowering job seekers with employment services, career assessment, training and job searches.

“It's the skilling up now and getting what is required for the fundamentals and beyond is crucial for employers to be able to hire,” said Callstrom.

The CEO explained their website is a free one-stop-shop that has daily live webinars, a job assessment, and under the career portal tab it lists jobs within a person's search and skills. Job seekers can also live chat with a person about their job search and ask questions about employment and training.

“Start with an hour a day and then move up to a couple of hours and really get into the groove and you will find out there is a real wonderful array of opportunities out there but it takes a real devotion to acquire those skills now,” said Callstrom.

What's new is the growing video library of on-demand training to learn new skills, find what careers fit you, and coursework.

Looking for a career where you can help others? You're in luck. is currently hiring 20 positions in , including some remote positions! Find out more and ask questions at our live, virtual recruiting event this Thursday, July 23. Register: https://bit.ly/30gQwFQ.

Workforce broke down labor market trends, month-over-month, to show sectors with job losses and gains. The numbers are fluid as reclosures continue to happen.

The report shows the need for new workers in sectors including education, construction, and skilled trade and information technology occupations. The need for a trained IT workforce is so great that Microsoft hopes to reach 25 million globally by the end of the year.

“Microsoft, Salesforce, Google, Apple, they are making it as open and affordable as possible and really encourage people to take a hard look. There are a lot of in-demand jobs in it and ready to hire now,” said Callstrom.

Domagala said it’s been three months and he’s ready to get back to work but it's just frustrating to feel like there is no end in sight. 

"It's getting to the point where something has to happen," he said.

San Diego Workforce Partnership also has a program called the Income Share Agreement Fund, a partnership with UC San Diego Extension certificate program. It provides job coaching, mentorship and other support to help land a job in fast-growing technology occupations. The program costs nothing upfront. If you land a job making above $40,000 after you graduate, you will “pay it forward”— 6–8% of your salary for a set period of time — to help the next group of San Diegans pursue their own career goals.

State assembly members are working on constituent cases with California Employment Development Department. News 8 reached out to Representative Brian Maienschein who said they recently became aware of Domagala’s situation and are working on the case.

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