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San Diego invests $1 million in program to help young people secure jobs

Workforce Partnership and the City of San Diego announce new youth workforce development system to prepare young San Diegans for jobs as region recovers.

On Tuesday, the San Diego Workforce Partnership, the City of San Diego and local elected officials announced the new San Diego County youth workforce development system to help provide education, training and jobs to young San Diegans ages 16 to 24. 

The funding came from the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and a $1-million investment from the City of San Diego that provides training and workforce development services to young San Diegans from August 2021 to June 2022.

22-year-old Oscar Rendon tells News 8 he's been searching for full-time work for more than a year.

"It’s affected me a lot because there are times I haven’t been able to pay my rent and I’ve had to apply for assistance to help me make ends meet at home," said Rendon.

The San Diego City College student said he spends hours every day applying online.

"I spend at least five hours investing my time, sending [my resume] out to different employers, uploading it to different search engines," he said.

And he's not alone.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, nationwide between spring 2019 to spring 2020, the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds jumped from about 8% to about 24%.

Among the reasons -- young workers are more likely to be in jobs impacted by COVID-19.

“The future of San Diego’s economy and labor market lies within the hands of the next generation of great San Diego workers. We believe in empowering all job seekers, including our young workers, to find the intersection between what they love to do, what they can be paid for and what employers need,” said Peter Callstrom, President and CEO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

“The goal of our new San Diego County youth workforce development system is to help young San Diegans align their interests and skills with education, training and fulfilling jobs that will help them launch a meaningful career and create a better life for themselves and their families.”

The San Diego Workforce Partnership's career centers will be working with four community-based organizations to serve the following communities. 

  • YMCA of San Diego County: Black youth
  • San Diego Youth Services: Youth experiencing homelessness
  • San Diego Continuing Education Foundation: Immigrant, refugee and/or English language learner youth
  • South Bay Community Services: Justice-involved youth

“Investing in young adults now will benefit our regional economy in the future,” said Mayor Todd Gloria. “That’s why we’ve made considerable efforts to support young people at the City by reactivating the Youth Commission, creating the Office of Child and Youth Success, allocating city dollars for summer youth programming at parks and recreation centers, and now securing $1 million through my Back to Work San Diego plan for the Connect2Careers workforce development program. This program will bolster youth employment and set up the youth of our city for success.”

Rendon said he recently started a new internship at a local nonprofit. He's hopeful he will find full-time work soon.

"[Once] we start to put the pandemic behind us, I’m hopeful I will find an opportunity," he said.

To learn more about the San Diego Workforce Partnership, visit here.

If you're between the ages of 16 and 24 years old and want to apply for help through the San Diego Workforce Partnership, visit here.