A total of $300,000 is being pledged by a local bank and grant provider to help support economic equality for Black San Diegans in the workforce.
Bank of America is providing $200,000 and the San Diego Foundation’s Black Community Investment Fund is contributing another $100,000 to help the San Diego Workforce Partnership expand paid job training and supportive services in the technology field and toward healthcare pathways for Black San Diego County residents.
The San Diego Foundation’s Black Community Investment Fund works toward addressing structural racism, which has denied Black communities and individuals’ equal access to economic advancement for centuries.
The San Diego Foundation has been addressing local systemic inequity by prioritizing Black San Diegans’ access to career training, education, internships and job placement, and has tabbed San Diego Workforce Partnership to work with it.
“The Workforce Partnership has long been a partner in diversifying our region’s workforce,” said Pamela Gray Payton, vice president, chief impact and partnerships officer for San Diego Foundation. “This grant will help members of our Black community enter high-paying careers in technology and healthcare, which will lead to greater generational wealth for them and their families.”
Peter Callstrom, CEO of San Diego Workforce Partnership, said that with San Diego Foundation looking to reach the Black community, through its outreach connections with Bank of America, “it’s a match made in heaven.”
“Bank of America is so smart about finding impact,” he said. “They could toss the money around but they are thoughtful. They know that the way to change is by being super intentional. That’s how you get more bang for the buck.”
Rick Bregman, president of Bank of America San Diego, said that San Diego continues to be a major hub for rapidly growing healthcare and technology careers, and that “developing more equitable pathways for diverse talent into these fields is critical.”
He said that programs supported by the Black Community Investment Fund go a long way to help communities of color access the education and training necessary to get hired.
“Bank of America’s investment into the Black Community Investment Fund is part of our $1.25 billion multi-year commitment to help close wealth and equity gaps in communities of color,” Bregman said. “One way we do this is by helping to scale high-impact workforce development and job reskilling programs like the ones offered by San Diego Workforce Partnership. The region wins when we can together help more people establish local, long-term careers that pay well.”
The COVID-19 pandemic brought awareness to the vast inequities in access to healthcare among Black, Indigenous and people of color, also known as BIPOC. The historic issues highlight the need for a more diverse healthcare workforce.
The San Diego Workforce Partnership’s 2021 Healthcare Sector Overview report makes note that BIPOC individuals are greatly underrepresented in high-paying healthcare occupations and says that the workforce system must create sustainable pipelines to increase Black workers’ access to high-paying healthcare occupations.
Through the funding provided by San Diego Foundation and Bank of America, the Workforce Partnership will use established connections to recruit participants for their Information & Communication Technologies and Healthcare programs, which provide participants with education, certification, on-the-job training and pathways to meaningful careers in these high-growth, high-demand industries.
“To achieve equity we have to address the barriers that structural racism has created for Black San Diegans who are seeking access to quality jobs in high-paying sectors like technology and healthcare,” Callstrom said. “Through this super thoughtful funding, we can get people into crucial training to get to those entry and mid-level jobs.”
San Diego Workforce Partnership
PRESIDENT & CEO: Peter Callstrom
HEADQUARTERS: Kearny Mesa, San Diego
BUSINESS: Nonprofit and JPA social enterprise
BUDGET: $40 million
CONTACT: (619) 319-WORK
SOCIAL IMPACT: San Diego Workforce Partnership works with job seekers, focusing on underserved and underrepresented communities in the county to help them achieve vocational aspirations.
NOTABLE: San Diego Workforce Partnership helps develop talent upskilling and reskilling to support workforce needs.