What can a second chance do for a person? If you ask anyone at Urban Corps of San Diego County, they’ll tell you – a second chance can make a world of difference in a community.

Green Jobs Training

The local nonprofit and certified conservation corps is dedicated to helping those who never finished high school get their diploma and paid job training to branch out into the world. Young adults, ages 18 – 26, get hands-on experience in green jobs like urban forestry, wildfire mitigation and more.

Through their work, Urban Corp of San Diego County uplifts the San Diego Foundation Strategic Plan pillar of ‘building resilient communities’ in our area and was recognized as part of the SDF 2022 Annual Report to Community virtual event.

“Our goal with our corps members is really to change their belief that they can be successful,” said Kyle Kennedy, CEO of Urban Corps of San Diego County. “With a high school diploma and the job skills that we teach them, it really gives them the mindset and belief that they can have a successful future in whatever they want to do.”

Growing Career Pathways

Melissa de la Fuente is one of those corps members. Just a few years back, she started the program without a diploma and has quickly climbed her way into a supervisor leadership role within the organization.

“I was always thinking about the high school diploma like how I’m going to be able to get a better job if I haven’t even finished high school,” said Melissa de la Fuente, an Urban Corps Supervisor. “If I see myself three years back, I’m totally on a different path and a better one. I know what I want, I know what I like, and I know what I want to do with my future.”

San Diego Foundation has awarded Urban Corps of San Diego County several different grants over the years – including to expand local green jobs for youth, the Opening the Outdoors program, the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund and most recently, as part of the City of San Diego COVID-19 Small Business and Nonprofit Relief Fund.

To learn more about San Diego Foundation’s $150.8 million impact over the last year, read our 2022 Annual Report.