$604,000 Grant Awarded to San Diego Housing Commission Achievement Academy to Create Healthcare Training Program for Youth

Date Published: 
December 11th, 2023

From the San Diego Housing Commission's press release:

With funding from a new grant announced this week, the San Diego Housing Commission (SDHC) will launch a program to create a pathway for careers in healthcare for youth ages 18 through 26 in the City of San Diego who receive federal rental assistance.

The $604,000 grant from Prebys Foundation will provide funds over a period of two years for “Healthcare Career Catalyst for Young Adults,” an SDHC Achievement Academy program to provide Certified Medical Assistant training and life skills at no cost to eligible youth.

“The opportunity for a career in healthcare as a Certified Medical Assistant can be life-changing for young adults in families with low income. This program is a significant, positive step to support these youth and reflects our strategic priority to help families increase opportunities for self-sufficiency and quality of life,” SDHC Interim President & CEO Jeff Davis said. “I thank Prebys Foundation for partnering with us on this effort by providing this essential funding."

The grant is among $30.6 million Prebys Foundation awarded to organizations throughout the San Diego region in the program areas of Visual and Performing Arts, Youth Success, Healthcare, and Medical Research"

"Our communities are better thanks to the work of the San Diego Housing Commission,” said Grant Oliphant, CEO of Prebys Foundation. “This is why we are proud to invest $604,000 to their work advancing our shared vision for a vibrant and thriving region. We encourage others to support, learn more and celebrate their work."

The "Healthcare Career Catalyst for Young Adults” program builds upon a similar partnership between the SDHC Achievement Academy and Western Medical Training Center that graduated nearly 200 people as Certified Nursing Assistants.

For the new program, the SDHC Achievement Academy will partner with Western Medical Training Center for a comprehensive Certified Medical Assistant course consisting of online and on-campus learning, labs skills, and a clinical externship. Through a partnership with the International Rescue Committee’s (IRC) Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), program participants will also receive help to establish and build their credit.

More than 4,800 potential program participants have been identified among individuals ages 18 through 26 in households with low income that receive federal rental assistance from SDHC. These young adults include “disconnected” and “overburdened” youth who experience barriers to work and school and/or pressure beyond what is considered normal or healthy for their age. They also may live in underserved communities and have traditionally faced barriers to financial self-reliance.

Approximately 45% of these potential program participants identify as Hispanic or Latino, and more than half identify their race as Black, Indigenous, and/or Persons of Color (BIPOC).

The program will enroll up to 80 people—20 in each of four six-month program sessions offered over two years.

Program participants may also receive the following resources, funded through the grant:

  • Credit building loans through IRC’s CEO;
  • Assistance with opening checking and savings accounts, as needed, with a $50 savings deposit incentive upon initial enrollment, followed by $100 halfway through and another $100 upon completion;
  • A $250 monthly stipend to augment participants’ income;
  • A $150 one-time assistance payment toward a computer or similar digital device;
  • A $30 monthly stipend to support internet or hot spot access;
  • A public transit pass or gas card; and
  • Supplies such as scrubs/uniforms and shoes.
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