News Room

San Diego Continuing Education

Office of Communications

San Diego’s Opportunity Youth Participate in National Apprenticeship Week

San Diego Continuing Education Students Learn High-Value Skills in Construction Trades

November 16, 2018

SDCE Student Lakenya Rose Foster Installs Decks on the Third Floor of Construction SiteSan Diego Continuing Education (SDCE) joins forces with United States Department of Labor during National Apprenticeship Week (NAW) from November 12, 2018 through November 18, 2018.

SDCE is the largest noncredit adult educational institution in the nation and offers significant support for opportunity youth. The school’s San Diego Gateway to College and Career (SDG2CC) program serves opportunity youth who are formerly referred to as disconnected young adults, are ages 16-24 and are neither in school nor working; therefore, are disconnected from education and career.

SDG2CC students complete their high school diploma while working with contractors in electrical, carpentry and plumbing during a pre-apprenticeship internship.

“The apprenticeship internship itself, and the opportunity to be paid during the work experience, are significant benefits to SDG2CC students,” said Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D., SDCE’s President. “The construction trades are in urgent need of qualified apprentices, so we are creating a win-win for our students and the industry.”

SDCE offers more than 70 free career training programs in priority workforce sectors including Advanced Manufacturing, Energy, Construction and Utilities, Health and Information and Communication Technologies.

The summer job site for the SDG2CC student interns was an 18-unit apartment building being constructed on 53rd Street, south of El Cajon Blvd. Students worked on heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; finished carpentry projects; stucco application, and installations of floors and windows.

The SDG2CC initiative at SDCE supports opportunity youth using a learning community model that offers instructional services and wrap around supports such as career pathway training, support to complete secondary school, intensive case management, life skills, job preparation workshops, connections to industry and employers through paid internships and job placement, and college transition support.

In addition to hands-on experience, students in SDG2CC participate in an intensive 40-hour college and career readiness course to help determine and create viable pathways to a career and/or college.

In California, the Board of Governors are putting focus toward apprenticeship programs by ensuring community colleges have robust hiring pools that include faculty with expertise in work industry areas.

"The ability to increase our number of apprenticeship instructors eligible to teach will bring current industry expertise into our classrooms. More apprentices means increasing the number of job-ready students we can deliver to California's employers," said Dr. Lynn Shaw, Interim Director of Workforce and Economic Development

At SDCE, faculty have specialized workforce training and advanced degrees to help students understand not only lessons in the classrooms, but how to network and apply to jobs when they complete a program.

Following SDCE, SDG2CC students are guaranteed a San Diego Promise scholarship, which provides two-year tuition/fees for community college, plus $500 per year for books, due to a partnership with the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the James Irvine Foundation.

“A student’s academic success can be tied to the support available to them beyond the classroom.” said President Turner Cortez. “We do everything we can to ensure that our students are ready for the workforce and we help them establish career pathways that pay living-wages.”

SDCE’s CalWORKs program offers eligible students assistance with career and personal counseling, books, transportation, child care, housing, and food resource assistance. The school’s Career Services department offers current and former students career planning assistance, job search guidance, and resume critiques.

SDCE student Lakenya Rose Foster has helped put in decks on the third floor of the SDG2CC job site; is learning about different measurements of wood; and now understands details such as using correct and different screws when installing metal to drywall, metal to metal and metal to wood.

Foster explains the SDG2CC internship program is helping her envision a long-term career for her and her two-year-old son.

“As an African-American female interested in carpentry, I feel empowered” she says. “There are only 1% of women in the trades as it is.”

“I have my mind made up that this will be the next four years of my life,” said the 23-year-old. “After graduation I will join the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters where I will complete my Journeyman License and my Associate Degree.”

Allura Garis