In the fall of 2012, the City of San Diego — through the support of the Mayor’s office and multiple city council districts — awarded the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) funding to reinvigorate and re-imagine its summer employment program, formerly known as Hire-A-Youth.

The result: CONNECT2Careers (C2C), a summer employment program that addresses San Diego’s ongoing skills gap by providing meaningful work experiences that prepare young adults ages 16–24 for in-demand jobs. By aligning the career aspirations and educational backgrounds of young adults with businesses committed to developing our emerging workforce, C2C creates a positive experience for both employers and youth.

Why is C2C so important? In San Diego, there is an estimated 43,000 young adults between the ages of 16 to 24 who are not working or not in school.[1] C2C represents a solution to reducing the youth unemployment rate, which is especially important for socially and economically disadvantaged youth who may not have the networks or support systems to connect them to employment opportunities. By participating in C2C work-readiness workshops, job fairs and hiring events, youth will have an opportunity to acquire and/or strengthen essential (soft) skills, making them far better prepared when they enter the workforce.

Thanks to increased commitment from the City and County of San Diego, C2C was able to successfully place 1,035 young adults in jobs and internships in 2016.[2]

In this video, representatives from Qualcomm, the San Diego Regional EDC, Diego and Son Printing, and SDWP highlight the benefits of CONNECT2Careers.

[1]Sarah Burd-Sharps and Kristen Lewis, Zeroing in on Place and Race, Youth Disconnection in America’s Cities, June 2015, page 6.

[2] Includes federal Workforce Investment Act summer program numbers.