COE News

Date Published

San Diego/Imperial Center of Excellence and Partners Help Southern Border Coalition Secure $14m to Advance Quality Jobs

The San Diego & Imperial Community Colleges Center of Excellence (COE) and San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center (PIC) drafted a regional plan that secured $14 million from California Jobs First for the Southern Border Region. These catalyst funds will support “pre-development activities” that 1) lead to a net-zero economy, 2) create high-road jobs and 3) benefit disinvested communities. These projects will not only combat the effects of climate change within our communities, but also strive to include communities that have historically been unable to contribute to such planning efforts in the past.

The regional plan supports the California Jobs First Southern Border Coalition’s mission in using the funds equitably with extensive community engagement. The Coalition consists of representatives from various community partners, including labor, business, local government, education, environmental justice and community organizations.

“…Not only was the report delivered on time, but it received exceptional feedback from the state’s interagency team. By achieving this milestone, the coalition can now deploy catalyst funds for predevelopment and technical assistance, moving forward projects that directly support our disinvested and marginalized communities,” says John McMillan, Assistant Vice President, Economic Development, Division of Research & Innovation at San Diego State University (SDSU), and administrator and lead convenor of the Southern Border Coalition. 

The Coalition recognizes systemic barriers and inequities faced by disinvested communities. It aims to address these challenges by advocating for social and economic justice, engaging disinvested communities in decision-making processes, and developing strategies that prioritize inclusivity, environmental sustainability and economic resilience. In doing so, we can build a more just and inclusive society for all.

“We are incredibly proud of our teamwork that brought in this investment for the Southern Border Coalition,” says Dr. Tina Ngo Bartel, Executive Director of the San Diego & Imperial COE. “As part of the California Community Colleges, the COE uses research to advocate for equitable changes in economic and workforce development. The work we’ve done with SDSU, PIC and the Southern Border Coalition aligns with our mission to create an inclusive and sustainable economy for our region.”

The Coalition is actively engaging with communities, listening to their needs and perspectives, and collaborating with community leaders and organizations to co-create solutions that address the root causes of economic, health and environmental inequity, ensuring lasting impact. The revised plan is expected to be completed by fall 2024.