The Need

Entrepreneurs and small businesses create approximately 59 percent of San Diego’s jobs.

A world-class city requires a strong economy fueled by a strong workforce, and libraries are a crucial component in sustaining and growing the local workforce. Entrepreneurs and small-business owners are essential to San Diego’s economic strength. Small businesses employ roughly 59 percent of the workforce, and there has been a record number of Americans filing new business applications in 2021. With its innovative programs, the library creates multiple access points for San Diegans to build thriving futures for themselves and their families, resulting in more people with fulfilling careers, healthy finances, and better social, health, and economic outcomes.

The Library Foundation supported the library partnership with Workforce Development to help San Diegans discover career options at Career Exploration Days.

Library Solutions

MicroBusiness Center and IDEA Labs

To support small-business success, the library is developing a new, permanent coworking space that will support the entrepreneurial community. The MicroBusiness Center will offer personalized business coaching appointments, legal-focused entrepreneur classes, intellectual property training sessions, and an entrepreneur-in-residence program in partnership with the Library’s IDEA Labs (high-tech maker spaces that offer access to 3D printers, design and music production software, and other creative technology). Located at the Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common, the Center will give budding entrepreneurs and small business owners training and resources that strengthen their ability to start a business and achieve both personal dreams and financial success. The Library Foundation is committed to funding the Center, which is scheduled to open in Spring 2022.

Adult High School Diploma

More than 170,000 San Diegans over the age of 25 (12 percent of the population) do not have a high school diploma. Unemployment for this group is double that of high school graduates. The San Diego Public Library’s Adult High School Diploma program offers adult students, primarily those from low-income communities, the opportunity to earn an accredited high school diploma online, bolstering future academic, career, and earning prospects. Participants can take classes and access schoolwork online — at their own pace — and receive free support and educational resources from the library. Many students can complete a program in as few as six months. Since 2015, 135 adults have earned a high school diploma in our programs. The library also lends refurbished laptops to program participants in need as part of the library’s larger digital equity initiatives. The Library Foundation is committed to providing a scholarship to each admitted student so they can participate at no charge. Contact us if you’re interested in sponsoring scholarships.

Media Training Program at City Heights/​Weingart Library

In partnership with Media Arts Center San Diego, the library is preparing City Heights teens to tell their stories through film and digital media. The six-week broadcast training program is based at the Performance Annex at the City Heights/​Weingart Library, which the Library Foundation is helping to refurbish. Students will then use these new skills to intern with local organizations and city departments, including the library.

Summer 2022 graduates of the media training program will be making their way to paid internships with the library and other city departments.

From our community

SDVPL is proud to partner with the library, local law firms, and other nonprofits to offer workshops for entrepreneurs. Our libraries create a space for organizations to collaborate…and deliver education programs that empower our communities.”

Jennifer Nelson, CEO of San Diego Volunteer Lawyers Program, Inc.

Recent economic & workforce development work