Lucky Duck Foundation Launches Newest $1 Million Region-Wide Homeless Employment and Job Training Initiative


The Lucky Duck Foundation today announced the launch of a new, region-wide employment and job training initiative to provide work opportunities and on-the-job training for individuals experiencing homelessness. 

Grants were made by the Lucky Duck Foundation to both expand existing programs and launch new programs across several verticals, including construction, culinary training, food rescue, community beautification, Transition Age Youth (TAY), conflict resolution, and more. This commitment expands and extends LDF’s initial $1 million employment and job training investment, which benefited well over 500 individuals. 

“More individuals in San Diego experiencing homelessness cite employment as the key factor in ending their homelessness than affordable housing,” said Drew Moser, Lucky Duck Foundation’s Executive Director. “This $1 million investment provides critical funding to create training opportunities and jobs for as many as 650 individuals, with the ultimate goal of helping people secure long-term employment to help break the cycle of homelessness.” 

Ten organizations were selected from a competitive pool of applicants and include the following: 

  • The Salvation Army will extend its food rescue program in partnership with Feeding San Diego. This effort has already employed 10 individuals and rescued more than 475,000 pounds of food. Since launching in 2020, every food rescue route driver trained and employed has secured full-time employment and is still housed. 
  • The San Diego College of Continuing Education’s PATHWAYS program provides access to its more than 75 certificate and training programs, paid internships, comprehensive case management, transportation, basic needs, laptops, and more. The program serves all states of homelessness. 
  • HomeAid San Diego’s Workforce Opportunities for Rebuilding through Knowledge and Skills (“WORKS”) program addresses the critical labor shortage in the home building industry by providing technical construction training, soft skills, financial and job opportunities.
  • San Diego Youth Services’ “From the Grounds Up” is an on-site social enterprise coffee shop staffed entirely by youth. It provides a supportive work environment, marketable skills and individual support to help youth experiencing homelessness obtain permanent employment.
  • National Conflict Resolution Center’s “Work Readiness Exchange” provides hands-on training in necessary life skills to manage conflict, communicate effectively, and interact with others more effectively to help individuals secure and keep a job.
  • Dreams for Change’s Dreams’ Cuisine is a food truck social enterprise that provides paid job training and integrates asset-building services, trauma-informed case management, and job placement assistance to trainees who are facing the highest barriers to employment.
  • Home Start’s Thrift Boutique and Bright Futures Candles social enterprises provide employment readiness, job training skills, and wraparound supportive services in trauma-informed settings for Transition Age Youth (TAY) facing homelessness to help them achieve self-sufficiency and independence.
  • Urban Street Angels is partnering with Union of Pan Asian Communities (UPAC) to provide homeless TAY with job training and employment opportunities in the fields of culinary arts, graphic design and print production at UPAC’s Neighborhood Enterprise Center.
  • McAlister Institute’s Work for Hope program helps individuals experiencing homelessness secure long-term employment and housing by providing on-the-job training and paid work stipends for completing neighborhood beautification and other projects throughout Chula Vista. Project participants are also connected to needed supports, including housing, job development, case management, and behavioral health services.
  • Adjoin, Veterans division, is starting a pilot program to provide paid training, shadowing, mentoring and support to Veterans to become certified Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Upon successful completion of the two-month training, Veterans will have the opportunity to be hired full-time with benefits, by Adjoin, Catalysts division. 

“We are excited about the opportunity to train our homeless youth about the value of not just getting a job but keeping a job to help them stay off the streets for good,” said Eric Lovett, Founder & CEO of Urban Street Angels. “They say ‘a job is what you are paid for but a calling is what you are made for.’ Thanks to the Lucky Duck Foundation’s support, we are able to help our youth find their passion and calling to do and be whatever they set their mind to.” 

“The Salvation Army is excited to further collaborate with the Lucky Duck Foundation and Feeding San Diego to provide job training and employment opportunities to people experiencing homelessness while rescuing food and reducing waste. We have been very encouraged by this life-changing endeavor and we look forward to doing more,” said Megan Dowell, The Salvation Army’s Homeless Services Director. 

“San Diego College of Continuing Education specializes in offering support and guidance beyond the classroom to help San Diego’s most vulnerable populations succeed in higher education and in the workforce,” said Carlos O. Turner Cortez, Ph.D., Chancellor of the San Diego Community College District. “The College’s learning community specific to students facing housing insecurity supports students to transition directly into jobs with livable wages.”


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