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San Diego Continuing Education

Office of Communications

San Diego Responds to Ambitious Workforce Development

Millennials and Older Adults Lack Soft Skills Needed for Employment

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By Allura Garis

Employers and Organizations Speak at SDCE Community Luncheon

Employers and Organizations Speak at SDCE Community Luncheon

San Diego, CA -- It’s no secret that millennial teens drop face to face communication by the wayside but it is surprising to learn why new graduates are having problems finding and sustaining employment. They may have an accomplished resume but lack interpersonal and critical thinking skills.

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department, California Restaurant Association, GRID Alternatives San Diego and more nonprofit organizations joined San Diego Continuing Education (SDCE) faculty and administrators yesterday at North City Campus Community Luncheon to identify the disconnect between managers and the newest members of the workforce, students.

SDCE is the adult education institution within the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD). SDCE serves large populations who come from rural areas and inner-cities.

Community Luncheon attendees discussed as employers what interviewees often miss during an initial meeting. Amidst the dozens of answers, responses from California Coast Credit Union and San Diego Workforce Partnership included a strong handshake, eye contact, proper attire, good manners, listening without interrupting and being present.

“Our students are not only the younger generation. We serve adults of all ages, some of them lack the soft skills that enable them to be successful at work. As a community and as educators it is our jobs to help all generations identify these essential qualities,” said SDCE’s Vice President of Instruction, Kate Alder, Ph.D.

Community partners were asked to think about the mentor they look up to during a visualization activity. “These students don’t have that. You are the kind of person they are looking to,” said Dr. Alder.

SDCE has offered paid internship opportunities to students since January of this year through the San Diego Gateway to College and Career. The program targets Opportunity Youth, young adults ages 18-24 who are neither in school nor working. The program includes coaches in a case management structure to provide individualized attention and mentoring; customized job search, and paid internships with organizations such as GRID Alternatives San Diego, Youth Campaigns, RISE San Diego, Dreams for Change and A Reason to Survive.

GRID Alternatives San Diego, a solar energy company offers SDCE Gateway students $13.09 an hour and CPF/First Aid and OSHA 10 certifications. The intensive 5-week internship course includes 120 hours wherein participants will master the skills necessary to install a photovoltaic solar system from start to finish. It is supplemented by additional training on the principles of solar photovoltaics, related electrical knowledge, essential design considerations, materials handling, safety and performance factors.

GRID Alternatives Job Trainees Complete Solar Installation Program

GRID Alternatives Job Trainees Complete Solar Installation Program

“We can hire people who have worked in construction before or who already went to college but we know we will have a bigger impact on this population,” said Paul Cleary, GRID Alternatives San Diego Executive Director. The clean energy company bridges the solar divide, bringing solar panels to low-income families who couldn’t otherwise afford it while training people who need jobs.

Student interns train at residential solar installations around San Diego. “Each workday is coordinated with the training program's structure and curriculum to ensure that every single person has the chance to complete a solar installation, from start to finish, many times over,” said Cleary.

SDCE has responded to California’s workforce demand for decades and last year awarded 174 high school diplomas and 9,585 certificates of completion for career training. In addition to academic support, SDCE recently opened numerous support and resource centers across its 6 campuses to best counsel the demographic of students that face mental health, homelessness, hunger and other issues that prevent student success.

“We can give students hands on experience but we can’t do it on our own. We can’t offer them counseling and we can’t make them show up every day. That’s what is great about partnering with SDCE what we lack we can do together,” said Cleary.

Employers and organizations interested in offering young adults career advice or internships are invited to attend SDCE’s Professional Networking Event held at the Opportunity Youth Resource Center at the Educational Cultural Complex on Tuesday, May 23, 2017 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. To RSVP email SDCE Faculty Flora Barron,

Learn more about SDCE’s free career training at SDCE.EDU

May 12, 2017

For Immediate Release

Allura Garis

Office of Communications


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San Diego Continuing Education is the adult education division of the San Diego Community College District. It was one of the first community college continuing education institutions in California to meet the standards for independent accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. More than 45,000 students are served per academic year at six main campuses in San Diego. Noncredit classes are available at no cost, including online options.

Classes are free because San Diego Continuing Education is part of the California system of higher education. Funding also comes from business and industry partnerships. Learn more at