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City Heights Coffee House To Put 30 Youth On Career Pathway

Patrons fill the tables inside the City Heights Coffee House on University Av...

Credit: Sterling Tran / City Heights Coffee House

Above: Patrons fill the tables inside the City Heights Coffee House on University Avenue in San Diego's City Heights neighborhood, Feb. 22, 2019.

More than two dozen job opportunities are coming to the San Diego City Heights neighborhood and they are reserved for youth who lack work experience.

The nonprofit City Heights Coffee House will hire 30 young adults who are currently unemployed as part of a pilot program to help them build their work and life skills. Youth who complete the eight-week City Heights Coffee House Career Launch Academy will be eligible for internships at businesses that match their interests.

Coffee House co-founder Sterling Tran said the program in collaboration with San Diego Workforce Partnership fits her organization's mission to hire youth who may have trouble finding a job and provide them with personal development courses.

The coffee house currently employs five people and provides them 15 weeks of instruction on topics that include financial management, networking and conflict resolution. But for hires under the pilot program, that curriculum will be condensed over two months and include classes on retail and digital marketing, Tran said.

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"I’m just excited to see them dream and figure out what they want to do and help them do that," Tran said. "It's exciting to see people proud of themselves and achieve things that they might not have thought were possible."

The participants will be hired in two cohorts and receive a stipend while working and attending classes. Tran said she would not have been able to bring on the additional temporary employees without the grant provided by the career academy.

"We have work for them, I’m just not able currently to pay for more employee hours from what we’re making revenue on," she said.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership was not immediately available for comment, but according to a website for the Career Launch Academy, funding for the program comes from the Walmart Foundation and SDG&E. A second career track connects participants with potential job opportunities at Hyatt but only provides two days of training.

The additional but temporary hires are the latest expansion for the nonprofit City Heights Coffee House. The shop started as a cart in an alley on El Cajon Boulevard and moved into a storefront on University Avenue last year.

The nonprofit's mission is to provide job experience and life skills training to young adults who may have trouble finding employment.

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