At San Diego Workforce Partnership, we care about empowering individuals and the community through career and economic development. We’re all about enhancing quality of life and creating a vibrant economy where people can thrive. We focus on helping those who historically have not had the resources gain access to employment, career advancement, and education. We work with all San Diegans in need of support, from workers who have recently lost jobs because of the downturn in the economy to military spouses who are stationed in San Diego, as well as military personnel coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
How do you contribute?
We receive money from the United States Department of Labor and various charitable organizations and channel it through a number of vehicles. One comprises one-stop career centers where anyone can walk in and receive free employment and training support—including those who have been unemployed for a long time, have little work experience, or have significant barriers to employment. Another resource we support is a network of 10 to 15 youth programs and service providers, including local school systems. We fund and support many of their efforts focused on career training for young people.
What are important lessons you learned?
When your budget is beholden to one funding stream, as ours was to the federal government, you’ve got to think about diversifying your funding base. That way, if the funding from your major source fluctuates due to economic and other factors, you can still achieve stability. We are currently working hard to diversify our funding and develop a stronger foundation for our work.
We also realized that we would serve the community better by putting our money into already existing programs, and supporting and enhancing their work, rather than trying to create our own. This helps us to avoid competing with other organizations and allows us to be an efficient and helpful partner.
What are your favorite social innovation resources?