By Miriam Raftery
Photo: Creative Commons image by NC-ND
March 16, 2021 (San Diego) -- Today the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 in support of the Youth Environmental/Recreation Corps, a program aimed to provide youth with skills training and opportunities to develop knowledge, practice skills and gain work experience in the growing sector of green economies. Youth Will has been working closely with Supervisor Lawson-Remer and the Invest in San Diego Families coalition to promote this initiative and ensure the youth voice is represented in improving access to green space and green work opportunities.
Supervisors Terra Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas proposed the corps to support career readiness, workforce development and mentorship. The program will provide paid employment opportunities for low-income youth through county departments, with a focus on careers in the green economy. It will be open to any person in San Diego County between the ages of 16 and 24. County staff will have 90 days from today to report back with a full plan to provide green jobs for our region’s young people.
“Mentors helped me flourish as a young person, but if I were growing up in isolation during a global pandemic I don’t know if I would be so lucky,” said Lawson-Remer, Coast News reports. “At a time when opportunity and social interaction has disappeared for many students and entry-level workers, this youth corps will help young people jump start their careers with paid positions to help them get a foothold in the green economy.”
Safia Haidari, Youth Organizer at Youth Will, praised the decision. “Youth is our future and in order to have a growing, vibrant and sustainable San Diego, we must invest in their opportunities,” she said. “The Youth Environmental/Recreation Corps will not only invest in their future but prioritize the youth of today who are still suffering from COVID-19’s impacts - social isolation, job losses, health impacts, and more. We are more than happy with the result of today’s Board of Supervisors meeting but our work doesn’t stop here. We will continue to open equitable pathways to ensure all young people who want to work have work.”