CONNECT2Careers Rebranding Effort

Challenge:

In the fall of 2012, the City of San Diego – through the support of the mayor’s office and multiple city council districts – awarded the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) funding to reinvigorate and re-imagine its summer employment program, formerly known as Hire-A-Youth.

According to national statistics, fewer than three in 10 American teenagers were holding jobs during the June to August timeframe. While the Hire-A-Youth program had proven successful in finding summer employment opportunities when it was first launched several years before, SDWP noted a sharp decrease in companies participating and expressed concerns about the young people involved who lacked enthusiasm and interest in the program. The development of a skilled workforce is vital for the region’s economy, so in order to ensure future funding and support, the program needed new life.

The partnership hired Nuffer, Smith, Tucker to rebrand the program. The goal was to look at the overall marketing program and determine what changes needed to be made to ensure future success, and to re-engage San Diego businesses and organizations to provide meaningful job opportunities for young people.

NST took the San Diego Workforce Partnership through its proprietary Compass planning process. Alongside the partnership, NST explored all current opportunities and challenges with the existing program, and how it could be effectively re-branded. Through the process NST evaluated everything from messaging to design of materials and engagement of local companies and schools. This process resulted in the following changes:

  • New program name – CONNECT2Careers
  • New logo
  • New tagline – Developing Talent for Tomorrow’s Workforce
  • New messaging and outreach materials
  • New outreach strategy to reach target companies and elected officials

The key difference NST made was to change the focus of the program from a summer job program, to one that aligned career aspirations of young people with like-minded companies. Changes resulted in more excitement and engagement in the program for both employers and participants.

Results:

The program was officially re-launched with a news conference at City Hall and featured the mayor, city councilmembers, leaders of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce all speaking about the importance of the program and encouraging local companies to participate. The program received extensive news coverage and many new businesses agreed to participate. The program has become a new success story.

In 2014, funding for CONNECT2Careers was included in Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s "One San Diego" budget. Additionally, the San Diego City Council approved $40,000 in Community Projects, Programs and Services funds for CONNECT2Careers. With this support, CONNECT2Careers was able to successfully place 334 young adults into summer jobs with 176 employers.