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The San Diego Foundation announced $180,00 in grants to local nonprofits that create opportunities for youth who are not in school or working, in green industry jobs such as urban forestry, agriculture, solar installation, and climate stewardship and advocacy.

The grant was made possible by the County of San Diego, San Diego Foundation in collaboration with Youth Will and San Diego Workforce Partnership. According to the San Diego Foundation, this builds upon the previous grant cycle, strengthening workforce development for opportunity youth ages 16-24 in the region.

“The effects of COVID-19 have amplified existing inequalities for our region’s opportunity youth; many of whom are still experiencing social isolation, job loss, and other negative impacts,” said Christiana DeBenedict, Director, Environment Initiatives, San Diego Foundation in a press release. “This grant opportunity was developed to strengthen the green job pipeline in the San Diego region.”

report published by the San Diego Workforce Partnership estimated that there are 417,000 people in the San Diego region between 16 and 24 years of age. Of that group, 31,000 are considered “opportunity youth,” or those who are not in school or working. 

According to the San Diego Foundation, the San Diego County Amplifying Systems of Support for Youth Career Readiness and Employment grant program directly supports opportunity youth and provides them with quality career readiness, workforce development, and mentorship opportunities with a focus on access to green jobs and green spaces

Grant funding for the green jobs program was provided by the County of San Diego as part of its Youth Environmental/Recreation Corp launched last year by a proposal from Supervisors Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas. This cycle’s new grant recipients include:

  • Bayside Community Center – $30,000 to launch a 12-month urban agriculture training program in partnership with Access Inc. and Co-Harvest Foundation.
  • Climate Science Alliance – $30,000 to reach out to Indigenous opportunity youth regarding local green jobs, resources, fellowships, and mentoring opportunities.
  • GRID Alternatives San Diego – $30,000 to expand its Solar Installation Training Program to include local opportunity youth.
  • I am Green Inc. – $20,000 to hire interns to become stewards, advocates, and change agents for environmental justice and climate equity while supporting the Mount Hope Live and Learn Residential Eco-Village.
  • San Diego Canyonlands – $30,000 to provide comprehensive, environmentally paid job training while directly supporting local urban open spaces through planting native vegetation and removing invasive plants, trash and debris.

San Diego Foundation also provided additional funding to its inaugural green jobs grant recipients, including:

  • Casa Familiar – $20,000 for paid internships in environmental justice and for community outreach to raise awareness and education of green jobs and careers for opportunity youth in South San Diego County.
  • Environmental Health Coalition – $10,000 to expand the environmental justice and advocacy internship for local opportunity youth in Barrio Logan.
  • Ocean Discovery Institute – $10,000 to continue environmental science and conservation career mentoring for opportunity youth in City Heights.

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