Teens training for careers.
Teens training for careers. Photo via SanDiego.gov.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership on Wednesday announced that total funding to Reimagine Retail San Diego has reached $1.35 million since 2016.

The job training agency uses the program to improve job quality, create advancement pathways for retail workers and strengthen the region’s retail economy.

“From teenagers in underserved communities landing their first jobs to local breweries offering new trainings to help their employees get promoted, we’ve already seen meaningful return on these investments,” said agency CEO Peter Callstrom.

The local retail industry employs nearly 300,000 people, almost 20 percent of all jobs in San Diego County, according to the agency.

A recent $235,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation brought Reimagine Retail San Diego funding to current levels. Previous funding came from Gap, the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership and the Aspen Institute.

The agency expects to train nearly 80 young people over the next 1 1/2 years.

More than 497 employees have been trained under the program so far, according to the agency. Seventeen employers have been reimbursed for up to 50 percent of the cost of worker training; a “social enterprise accelerator” was created to support local enterprises committed to hiring underserved residents; and a market analysis was created for the local retail industry.

— City News Service