San Diego City College students earn while they learn
The cohort of graduates from the Competitive Edge program have completed a six-week education program for which they have been paid and will start new jobs on Monday.
SAN DIEGO- San Diego City College On Friday, the students graduated from the Competitive Edge program, a program that trained them for careers in utility construction services, while paying them.
The cohort of graduates have completed a six-week education program for which they have been paid and will start new jobs on Monday.
The new jobs are entry-level positions in companies working in utility construction services, with clear paths to advancement.
Competitive Edge is a partnership between Jingoli Power, SDG&E, AM Ortega Construction, Patriot General Engineering, San Diego Central Black Chamber of Commerce and SDCC.
A need for diversity, local workers
Companies are in an industry that needs diversity and needs more local workers. At many construction sites, you will find workers brought in from out of state, costing employers more than local employees.
City College courses cover a variety of topics, including safety and leadership, but there are many lessons to be learned in building a successful career. David Tillman, who is on his way to becoming a project manager, said there is a clear path to success,
“So these guys are literally giving you the plan right in front of your face, that was very important, and that’s very helpful and I think that’s very beneficial,” Tillman said.
The program partners with faith-based organizations to identify candidates in underserved communities who are looking for an opportunity.
While San Diego City College offers many educational opportunities for those seeking a career in the trades.
Vice President of Administrative Services John Parker said the program is a unique opportunity and one he and the school are happy to be a part of.
“Very rewarding. Again, part of our core mission and vision is also to bring such opportunities to underserved communities and contribute to local economic and educational development,” Parker said.
Offer an opportunity
For Aljanae Beamon, she said it was an opportunity to change paths, from a job in the health sector where she felt he had reached a plateau, to a job in which she saw a chance to grow. .
At the end of this program, she will have several certifications, including one to be an assistant project manager.
Isaiah Mackey was hoping for a chance to get into some type of build and is excited to start his path to lineman at just 19 years old.
David Tillman has some experience as a field worker and is building on that experience to become a project manager in the near future,
“It seemed like a dream come true. I’ve never heard of anything like this before. I’ve heard of going to school, getting a job right after, but getting myself pay throughout the process. Sweet,” Tillman said.
For Bruce Mayberry, chairman of the San Diego Central Black Chamber of Commerce, who has worked for years in public service, this type of program and these types of jobs are key to building a better community.
“So if people want to live here, they have to have well-paying jobs. Many of them are union-paid jobs. They work for big companies, as we talked about. And so it’s just a win-win, win-win for everybody,” Mayberry said.
Take classes and earn a salary
Jingoli Power CEO Karl Miller is driving this program. He has experience with similar programs in other parts of the country. Paying this cohort to take the course is a first for him, but it’s essential.
“These young men and women cannot afford not to have an income for six weeks. So we pay them and pay for the classes, so they get a paycheck every week,” Miller said.
Jingoli Power is hiring six of the 13 cohort members, the other seven will go to work for AM Ortega Construction.
Lonnie Edward Morris II works in security for AM Ortega and has worked with this cohort in the classroom, but his lessons won’t end there. Morris’ said he had all the students’ phone numbers and was in constant contact with them: “After their week with me. All of them have my phone numbers and I have received calls and texts from them since then”.
The people behind the program believe they have a recipe for success, when you combine education with the ongoing support offered. This was the first run of the Competitive Edge program here in San Diego, but plans are for more in the future, to help meet the need for new skilled workers and to find young men and women ready to enter a golden opportunity, and get a head start on a career that will give them the chance to build a good life for themselves and their families.
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