Sector Lead Ceremony and Celebration

Friend -

We are excited to share that Universidad Popular proudly co-hosted the California Jobs First Southern Border Coalition Ceremony & Celebration for elected Sector Leads on Saturday, March 23, 2024, at the home of the IBEW 569 in San Diego County, with co-conveners San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor CouncilComite Civico del ValleImperial Valley Equity and Justice CoalitionImperial Valley Wellness FoundationSan Diego State UniversitySBCS and San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center.

We opened the gathering with the blessing by Pascha Nierenhausen, a Sector Lead for the California Native American Tribes in Imperial County and a Land Acknowledgement by Stephanie Saavedra, a Sector Lead for the Disinvested Communities in San Diego County. Then we were uplifted by beautiful chanting with Native Bird Singers and dancers who brought heart, culture and tradition to our community celebration.

We then presented each Sector Lead and the Honorable Jose S. Castillo, Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division One, delivered heartfelt remarks and performed the Swearing-In of our Sector Leads in English and Spanish. Justice Jose Castillo was born in Mexico and came to the United States as a child. After serving in the military, he became the first in his family to graduate from college and law school. After law school, he worked as a law clerk for a federal trial judge, a staff attorney for the federal court of appeals, and as a federal prosecutor. In December 2020, Justice Castillo was appointed to the superior court, and in April 2023 to the Court of Appeal.

This community gathering honors and celebrates elected Sector Leads who have been elected by their peers as trusted partners and who consistently demonstrate a strong commitment to and experience serving disinvested communities. The Sector Leads will be responsible for representing their sector, connecting with disinvested communities relevant to their sector, convening and supporting their sector, attending Regional and Subregional Task Group meetings, and sharing insights and information with Coalition. Most importantly, they are lending their expertise and lived experience to empower a more inclusive and grounded economic development process. The Sector Leads represent the following 15 sectors: Labor, Businesses, Grassroots, Government, Economic Development, Philanthropic Organizations, Education and Training, Workforce Development, Environmental Justice, Worker Centers, Disinvested Communities, California Native American Tribes, Youth, LGBTQIA, and Farmworkers.

Thank you to elected officials who attended the event including City of San Marcos Councilmember Maria Nuñez, City of Carlsbad Councilmember Teresa Acosta, and City of Lemon Grove Councilmember Alysson Snow.       

To see more photos of the celebration click the link below.

Thank you to our friend and photographer, Joe Dusel for documenting this historic event. 

Congratulations to the elected Sector Leads by County:

We enjoyed a beautiful ceremony followed by a wonderful meal prepared by our friends at Super Cocina.

Thank you to every person, organization and business that contributed to making this an amazing event. We look forward to the next community gathering!

You can still become a coalition member and can sign up to receive updates. For more information about the California Jobs First and the Southern Border Coalition, visit 

Sponsoring agencies:
Governor’s Office of Planning & Research
Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz)
California Labor and Workforce Development

San Diego County - Southern Border Coalition December Meetings!

We will be hosting meetings in December to share more information about the Catalyst Program and how you can help identify and vote on pre-development projects in your community, what Coalition Membership means and why it matters, and how community Coalition Members can participate in Sector Lead Elections in January.

Meals will be provided at each of the meetings. Please RSVP here for the meeting(s) you plan to attend and indicate if you have any interpretation and/or childcare service needs. This will help the Co-conveners plan accordingly and make proper arrangements for all attendees.

The agenda for each meeting will be the same but you are welcome to attend as many meetings as you would like. We hope that you can join us! Please click here to view the flyer.

South San Diego County
Thursday, December 14th from 6:00-7:00 pm
Casa Familiar Civic Center: 212 West Park Ave San Ysidro, CA 92173
Central San Diego County
Monday, December 18th from 1:00-2:00 pm
SDRPIC: 2508 Historic Decatur Road, San Diego, CA 92106
North San Diego County
Tuesday, December 19th from 10:00-11:00 am
San Marcos Community Center: 3 Civic Center Dr., San Marcos, CA 92069

If you have any questions, please contact us at [email protected].

Your Southern Border Region Coalition Co-Conveners

CA Jobs First (formerly CERF) is a $600 million California State funding opportunity to support equitable and sustainable economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding will be allocated across thirteen regions, with Imperial County and San Diego County representing the Southern Border Region.

The Southern Border Coalition is a regional coalition comprised of disinvested communities, economic development agencies, education and training providers, employers, businesses and business associations, environmental justice organizations, farmworkers, government agencies, grassroots and community-based organizations, labor organizations, LGBTQIA, CA Native American Tribes, philanthropic organizations, worker centers, workforce entities, and youth working together to create an equitable economic development plan through California Jobs First (formerly CERF) for the Southern Border region of Imperial and San Diego Counties.

Join California's Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) Meeting in North County

Thanks so much again for joining us last month to learn about California's Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) and the work of the Southern Border Coalition. A copy of the session PowerPoint Presentation is attached for your reference.

With CERF assisting our local region to access greater Federal and State funding opportunities, local government and philanthropy can play a key role in supporting strategies that diversify local economies, develop sustainable industries, and create high-quality, accessible jobs. We appreciate the energy and enthusiasm shared for this work and invite you to continue the conversation:

Thursday, October 26
10:00 - 11:30 a.m. 
The Hive at Leichtag Commons
441 Saxony Road, Encinitas
Please register here.

When you arrive to the property, please let the welcome staff know you are here for the CERF meeting, and they will direct you to parking.

Once you have parked, please cross the street to the walkway, which will lead you up to Barn 1 on the East side of The Hive, where our gathering will take place. We will have staff onsite to guide you too, but if you have any trouble, please call Sharyn Goodson at (858) 997-6675.

Thank you to our friends at the Leichtag Foundation for hosting us - See you on Thursday!


Join us! Virtual Launch of the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) Southern Border Coalition

Our team at Universidad Popular is pleased to inform you that we are one of eight co-convening organizations facilitating community engagement and planning for equitable economic development as part of the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) in the Southern Border region. 

The co-conveners are Comité Civico del ValleImperial Valley Equity & Justice CoalitionIV Wellness FoundationSan Diego & Imperial Counties Labor CouncilSan Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center, San Diego State University (fiscal agent and convener), SBCS, and Universidad Popular.

Over the past few months, the co-conveners have been working to organize the Southern Border Coalition structure, framework, establish initial goals and develop the Coalition Bylaws. With the unanimous approval of the Coalition Bylaws, the co-conveners are focused on bringing community partners and stakeholders to the table. Working together with diverse representation from throughout the border region, we believe we have laid a solid foundation for the work, and we look forward to your willingness to participate and/or take on leadership roles in the Coalition.

The Southern Border Coalition invites you to attend an information session (via Zoom) on Thursday, July 20, 2023, from 6:00-7:00 pm. During the session, we will be providing an overview of the Southern Border Coalition that includes the goals of the Coalition, its timeline and deliverables, the High Road Transition Collaborative (HRTC), and the next steps on how HRTC Sector Leads will be elected to form the Subregional and Regional HRTC Tables.

The information session will conclude with Q&A and will remain open until all questions from the community have been discussed. The session will be recorded and made available to the community on the Southern Border Coalition website.

A follow-up survey to collect attendee feedback and insights into the needs of the community, along with additional information regarding in-person meetings that will take place in various locations throughout the San Diego and Imperial County subregions, will be shared following the session. The goal of these efforts will be to inform stakeholders, learn more about their experiences and desired outcomes, and invite them to join the regional table.

We hope that you can join us! Please click on the link to register.

We are also gathering stakeholder information for those who are interested in being contacted with more details and updates from the Southern Border Coalition: Survey Form.

We are confident that we have emerged stronger and more prepared to deliver on the results of the Southern Border Coalition, including developing a comprehensive regional economic plan that supports high-road jobs, an inclusive transition to a net-zero economy, and empowers and uplifts disinvested communities by fostering equity and creating sustainable opportunities for growth. We genuinely value our partnership with you and feel excited as we move ahead with renewed momentum and enthusiasm.

Please feel free to share this email and/or the information session registration page with your network!

If you have any questions or require any further information, please reach out to us at  [email protected].

Thank you!

Comité Civico del Valle - Luis Olmedo
Imperial Valley Equity & Justice Coalition - Daniela Flores
Imperial Valley Wellness Foundation - Roque Barros
SBCS - Kathryn Lembo
San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council - Brigette Browning
San Diego Regional Policy & Innovation Center - Susan Guinn
San Diego State University - John McMillan
Universidad Popular - Arcela Nuñez-Alvarez