Sustainable farming will be one of the industries that youth will be introduced to as part of a local green jobs campaign. Courtesy of San Diego Food System Alliance

The San Diego Foundation Thursday announced that seven local nonprofits will receive $180,000 in grants to develop programs to draw young people to careers in green industries.

The funds are directed toward youths aged 16-24 who are neither in school nor working – a segment dubbed “opportunity youth” by officials.

“Thanks to our local nonprofit partners, this program will help opportunity youth develop personally and professionally, while growing the resilience of our local green economy,” said Christiana DeBenedict, director of environment initiatives for the foundation.

According to a report published by the San Diego Workforce Partnership, there are an estimated 417,000 people in the San Diego region between 16 and 24 years of age. Of that group, 31,000 do not attend classes or hold jobs.

“These grants are the next step in our new countywide initiative to help young people secure the green careers that will define not only their future but the future of our entire region,” county Supervisor Terra Lawson- Remer said in a statement. “These investments in a youth green jobs program are an acknowledgment that our economy can’t fully recover until young people recover – and have equitable access to the green economy of tomorrow.”

Grant funding was provided by the county as part of the Youth Environmental/Recreation Corp. started last year following a proposal from Lawson-Remer and fellow Supervisor Nora Vargas.

Seven local nonprofits each received grants of $20,000 or $30,000: Urban Corps of San Diego County, Environmental Health Coalition of San Diego, Ocean Discovery Institute, Indigenous Regeneration, Project New Village, Casa Familiar and Tree San Diego.

Some of the efforts funded by the grants include farm apprenticeships for Native youth interested in sustainable farming, recruitment for a work-learning program and training for careers in urban forestry.

The county’s program also includes a collaboration with the Workforce Partnership to place eligible youth in paid positions at county departments.

– City News Service