City Announces Investment Of $42 Million To Support San Francisco Workforce Development

Investment will provide job readiness, training, and subsidized employment services to over 10,000 San Franciscans seeking employment

San Francisco, CA — The Office of Economic and Workforce Development today announced a $42 million in workforce development programs. ‘Building Back Stronger’ is an historic   investment, the City’s largest to date, that will deliver job readiness, vocational training, and subsidized employment services to over 10,000 San Franciscans. The investment is key to San Francisco’s equitable economic recovery and will focus on getting the most vulnerable residents back to work. 


“The neighborhoods that were most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic are the same neighborhoods that have experienced employment disparities for years, and that is where we are directing efforts with these resources,” said Mayor Breed. “If our city’s economic recovery is going to be successful and sustainable far into the future, and if we are going to truly make a difference in this City, we have to get our most vulnerable San Franciscans back to work.”


The Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) is funding 67 service providers and community-based organizations to support equitable outcomes for San Francisco’s workforce. The focus of the funding is to reverse employment disparities for San Franciscans and assist in lifting up individuals who were most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding includes $8.2 million in Adult Programs, including Neighborhood and Specialized Job Centers throughout the City that provide employment services to disadvantaged San Franciscans, and $3.6 million in Young Adult Programs including Young Adult Job Centers and subsidized employment. OEWD is funding $10.9 million in training programs to reskill and upskill San Francisco’s workforce in key industries such as healthcare, tech, and construction, as well as an additional $2.4 million in economic recovery and equity pilot programs. A one-time investment of $6.4 million supports COVID-Response efforts at community resource hubs in the Mission, Bayview, and Excelsior neighborhoods.


“San Francisco’s equitable economic recovery relies on our investments in communities that need our support the most,” said Kate Sofis, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “The Office of Economic and Workforce Development is committed to ‘Building Back Stronger’ and bringing vital workforce services to where residents are at. Through neighborhood job centers and training programs, we’re partnering with our community-based organizations in communities citywide to ensure every corner of this city has access to employment services.”

Additionally, through the Dream Keeper Initiative, $6.8 million will support workforce development activities aimed at addressing the disproportionately high unemployment and poverty rate that impacts African American San Franciscans. This funding is part of a citywide, $120 million investment over two years which includes $20.5 million deployed by OEWD this year to support jobs, small businesses, entrepreneurship and cultural preservation benefiting the Black community. 


‘Building Back Stronger’ comes after a two-year procurement and public participation process that involved community members, business, labor, education, government, community–based organizations, and other stakeholders to identify the needs of job seekers and employers and develop strategies to address those needs. The Office of Economic and Workforce Development held community listening sessions in each supervisorial district, and issued surveys to hear feedback from communities citywide on where investments should be made.  Meetings also took place with community-based organizations to receive feedback on how the City can assist first time Request For Proposal (RFP) applicants in the procurement process and make the process accessible to community based organizations throughout San Francisco. 


Additionally, OEWD held roundtables with employers, education institutions, and labor organizations to discuss partnering to create more trainings that lead to career pathways for jobseekers. 


“These essential investments in our workforce and the City’s equitable economic recovery are driven not only by industry demand and feedback by our labor union and training partners, but by hundreds of hours of community input about the careers and opportunities that speak most to their employment goals and objectives,” said OEWD Director of Workforce Development Joshua Arce. “We believe this approach will best position San Francisco to advance employment equity and address our most persistent economic inequities.”


Key to the development of the RFP was OEWD’s collaboration with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) that drove OEWD to re-envision San Francisco’s workforce system, and ground the work in addressing employment disparities that persisted in both the 2019 economy and the post-pandemic economy. HRC is the coordinator of the City’s historic Dream Keeper Initiative investments as well as the co-convenor of San Francisco’s Committee on City Workforce Alignment. 


“This funding centers the ideas, voices, culture and experiences of San Francisco’s diverse communities. Listening to community increases the ability to build successful pipelines and has the potential to improve income and economic mobility through employment and workforce programs,” said Human Rights Commission Executive Director Dr. Sheryl Davis. 


The $42 million investment for the over the next year combines federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and Community Development Block Grant funds with state and local funding to provide a diverse set of workforce development programming. The funding is near double the funding of prior to the pandemic and allows full funding of existing programs, expansion of services, and the creation of new programs and services. The core workforce investments include: 


Sector Workforce Training Programs — Training Workers For In-Demand Industries 

  • Programing that recruits, trains, and places workers in industries identified as key to the City’s economic recovery, such as technology, healthcare, and construction.  
  • Funding for the City’s existing TechSF, HealthCare Academy, CityBuild programs, and in emerging industries. 
  • Support to train, retrain, and upskill workers who have been laid off in heavily impacted industries such as the hospitality sector. 
  • $1 million investment in training opportunities for women entering or re-entering the workforce, particularly working mothers, through the Mayor’s Women and Families First Initiative

Adult Job Centers — Supporting Neighborhood, Satellite, and Specialized Job Centers 

  • Expanding services in Neighborhood Job Centers in the Excelsior, Richmond, and the Sunset to provide neighborhood-based workforce assistance and offer an entry-point into San Francisco’s comprehensive workforce system. These add to centers in Chinatown, Tenderloin, Mission, Hunters Point, Visitacion Valley, OMI, and Western Addition,
  • Creation of new “Satellite Job Centers” to serve neighborhoods that do not require a comprehensive Neighborhood Job Center because the surrounding community does not have a high unemployment rate, but community residents look to connect with the workforce system.
  • Supporting Specialized Job Centers to deliver customized employment services focused on specific target populations, including residents involved in the criminal justice system, individuals with disabilities, and veterans.

Young Adult Workforce Programs — Serving Transitional Aged Youth 

  • Targeting services for people ages 16-24, that include employment and educational services, career exploration, and wrap-around support with new job centers in the Fillmore, Bayview, and the Richmond.   
  • Expanding the Mayor’s Opportunities for All program including subsidized employment to youth in underserved communities.

Economic Recovery and Equity Programs—Pilot Programs That Serve Vulnerable Communities

  • Developing programs that advance “Principles of Employment Equity”, supporting our most vulnerable community members through strategies such as financial empowerment and increased language access.  
  • Launching Pilot Programs including to support digital media employment pathways, occupational skills training to provide tech support to public housing residents, and the creation of a comprehensive American Indian Workforce Development Initiative in San Francisco.

Dream Keeper Initiative — Workforce Development for San Francisco’s Black and African American Community 

  • Funding dedicated to reducing the Black unemployment gap through paid training, education, and development for African Americans.
  • Investment supports programming that leads to career pathways at educational institutions, in technology, in health, in early childhood education, the arts, and other community-prioritized sectors.

“The partnership with OEWD has been nothing short of amazing. They have been supportive in City EMT accomplishing their goals, helpful in educating our staff, and effective in stabilizing our faith that we can and will be able to live within our Mission Statement,” said Attica Bowden, trainee of the EMT Training program as part of the Dream Keeper Initiative. “There is only success when partnerships develop and everyone is aligned with all tasks required to be impactful to the communities they will be serving. We look forward to nurturing and continuing the partnership with OEWD.”



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