September 27, 2023 – San Diego, CA – San Diego Foundation announced today that it has awarded $200,000 in workforce development grants to San Diego City College to support the retention and graduation of Black students studying nursing and cybersecurity.

“Workforce development is key to building a resilient region that supports the prosperity of employees, businesses and local communities,” said Pamela Gray Payton, Vice President, Chief Impact and Partnerships Officer, San Diego Foundation. “Through these grants, we are addressing local employer demand in these fields while supporting more Black and African American students as they pursue in-demand careers that provide family-sustaining wages.”

The grants will:

  • Support outreach to prospective students who identify as Black or African American
  • Connect students with culturally appropriate wraparound services through the college’s Hermanos Unidos/Brothers United (HUBU) and Umoja counseling programs
  • Provide emergency and transportation financial aid
  • Provide career development support, such as access to paid internships, clinical placements and culturally informed counseling

San Diego City College was selected for this program in part due to its recent nursing program rankings. Earlier this year, the program was ranked No. 3 in the nation and No. 2 in California based on the three-year average pass rate for the NCLEX-RN, the licensing exam for registered nurses. The college’s 3-year average NCLEX-RN passing rate is 99.50%; its pass rate for the 2021 – 2022 academic year is the highest of any two- or four-year nursing program in San Diego County.

According to the Hospital Association of Southern California, nursing vacancy rates among hospitals in the region exceed 30%. Prior to the pandemic, the average vacancy rate was 6%. Additionally, estimates show California faces a shortage of about 36,000 licensed nurses, according to the UC San Francisco Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care.

San Diego City College also launched a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity earlier this year. The program allows students to obtain a bachelor’s degree at a much lower cost as compared to a four-year university. In addition to its bachelor’s degree, San Diego City College also offers a certificate and an associate’s degree in cybersecurity.

As the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and the Brookings Institution outlined in “Future of Growth in San Diego: The Economic Case for Inclusion and Building San Diego’s Talent Pipeline,” San Diego has become an innovation powerhouse. Despite this great potential, not all San Diegans benefit from the advances of the innovation economy. The San Diego region needs more highly skilled workers, like those working in cybersecurity, to maintain its competitive edge.

About San Diego Foundation

San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve the quality of life in our region. Our strategic priorities include advancing racial and social justice, fostering equity of opportunity, building resilient communities, and delivering world-class philanthropy to realize our vision of just, equitable and resilient communities. The Healthy Children & Families Initiative advances community resilience through health equity and increases the quality of life for children and families through expanded access to supportive services. For more than 48 years, SDF and its donors have granted more than $1.4 billion to support nonprofit organizations strengthening our community. Learn more at

San Diego City College b-roll:


Lorena Nava Ruggero, San Diego Foundation,, 619-814-1365