EDC Awarded $500,000 by the Walmart Foundation to Expand Training Programs

SAN DIEGO, California (May 21, 2010)— San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) was awarded $500,000 by the Walmart Foundation’s America Works initiative to expand two key workforce training programs aligned with the needs of growing industries across San Diego and Imperial counties. America Works is a new national initiative sponsored by the Walmart Foundation that supports regional approaches to developing a skilled workforce. The EDC was one of only seven organizations nationwide to receive this award, and was selected because the two training programs are part of a larger regional economic development strategy—the Cali Baja Bi-National Mega-Region Initiative.

EDC, together with San Diego Workforce Partnership, will better align workforce development needs with economic development priorities, and better integrate workforce development systems across the region through training programs for high-demand jobs in healthcare and machinist occupations.

”The residents of the southern part of San Diego County often do not have access to training and career pathways that lead to living wage jobs,” said Chuck Flacks, director of research and policy for San Diego Workforce Partnership. “The America Works grant will help train these residents for employment in healthcare, bringing the needed technical and bilingual skills to the industry, still one of the region’s fastest-growing sectors.”

“Now more than ever, we are looking for ways to provide opportunities for those who are out of work and facing tough times,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “These grants will support people across the country to gain the necessary life and job skills to obtain long term employment.”

EDC’s Dr. Christina Luhn will help implement a machinist training program for Imperial County residents, serving as a liaison between the training programs and stakeholders. “The Cali Baja Mega-Region Initiative positions the greater region of San Diego and Imperial counties for business investment in the region,” explains Dr. Luhn. “A strong workforce is essential to attracting the kinds of key industries that have the potential to grow here.”

“In addition to collaborating with the Walmart Foundation’s America Works grant, we have agreed to a formal alliance with the San Diego Workforce Partnership further integrating our workforce and economic development strategies,” said Lauree Sahba, chief operating officer for EDC.

To find out more about the Cali Baja Bi-National Mega-Region Initiative, visit the website at http://www.sandiegobusiness.org/.

EDC is supported by more than 150 of San Diego’s largest companies and most influential business leaders. The group strengthens San Diego’s business climate and maximizes its economic success through two key programs, business development and policy. The business development program supports corporate outreach and retention, while nurturing emerging industries and attracting new corporate investment through targeted marketing initiatives. The policy program focuses on creating a competitive business climate for the region through workforce development initiatives and building the infrastructure to support 21st century industries.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. The Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From Feb. 1, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $512 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally, $467 million of which was donated in the U.S. To learn more, visit http://www.walmartfoundation.org/.

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