Twenty-one young men and women – all from historically under-represented communities in the San Diego region – recently started their career in the utility field, after graduating in July from a six-week paid workforce development program.
Called Competitive Edge, the program is now in its second year and is the result a partnership between SDG&E, the County of San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce and Jingoli Power, a company that specializes in providing professional services to the power industry.
The second Competitive Edge cohort graduated July 14 at a ceremony held at San Diego City College. One of our contractors, Quanta, made a guarantee to hire of every single graduate who did not receive a job offer from participating SDG&E contractors. This was a passionate testament of support from Andee McCoy, Vice President – Business Operations Quanta (PWR).
Twenty-five percent of this year’s cohort are women. And the person who administered the program this year for Jingoli Power is a young woman who graduated from last year’s program:
“It was such a privilege to be able to walk a new group of students through a process that benefitted me so much in the past year. I have continued to grow since my experience in the inaugural cohort last year and soon will be starting a new position as an Office Manager at Quanta, I wish the same success on the new group of graduates.” – Aljanae’ Beamon
Interactive Career Exposure
Throughout the program, each trainee was provided the chance to interview with participating local utility contractors, get enrolled in a labor union and placed in a skilled labor job or project administration.
To provide interactive career exposure, we also hosted an in-depth tour for this cohort at our Skills Training Center, similar to what was done for the first cohort.
The Skills Training Center is where we train most of our field employees, including electrical, gas and customer service field technicians. During the tour, our employees including linework instructors, gas operations instructors and substation electricians discussed and demonstrated various aspects of their jobs. The tour is an essential component of the program because it connects classroom instruction to jobs out in the field.
Our Vice President of Energy Procurement and Sustainability, Estela de Llanos, personally welcomed the trainees, along with Jingoli Power CEO, Karl Miller, and IBEW Local 465 Business Manager, Nate Fairman.
“Our goal today is to give you a good sense of what it could be like working in a utility trade profession. Careers in trades offer stable, high paying opportunities with lots of room for growth,” said Estela de Llanos. “I wish that a program like this existed when I was young, growing up in a family of hard-working Cuban immigrants who faced many obstacles in finding stable work.”
Miller shared his feedback from the cohort, “The support from SDG&E was invaluable to the program and the candidates. The candidates all ranked their best day of their six-week commitment being Skills Training Center Day.”
Investing in Our Future Workforce
Competitive Edge was originally established by Joseph Jingoli Jr. in New Jersey, the home of Jingoli Power’s headquarters. Miller has since replicated the program to support the needs of the San Diego community. In 2022 when Miller and Bruce Mayberry, CEO of JBM Energy Solutions and Chairman of the County of San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce, invited us to support the creation of a parallel program here in San Diego, and we wholeheartedly welcomed the idea.
The overall goal of the program is to ensure project dollars remain in the local community and help make our economy stronger and our workforce more diverse.
Breaking Down Barriers
Jingoli Power recruits trainees from underrepresented communities who are passionate about a career in the utility field and would greatly benefit from a paid training career opportunity.
Currently, the majority of high paying and highly skilled construction trades positions do not reflect the diversity of the populations that rely on them for service. To address this, Competitive Edge pays students for the training, enabling them to commit their time to exploring a new field, while also providing mentorship and guaranteed placement with an SDG&E contractor upon completion. This removes access barriers to careers that provide job security and create generational wealth for diverse, talented individuals. The program is supported under our Economic Prosperity charitable investment initiative.
Jingoli Power is looking forward to creating a third Competitive Edge cohort in San Diego, which will start in June of 2024. All interested applicants should email their resumes and letters of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the Competitive Edge program, watch our video of the inaugural cohort here.