Investing in the Future of Skilled Arborists is Priceless

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At San Diego Gas & Electric, our employees feel a strong sense of purpose beyond delivering clean, safe and reliable energy services to our 3.7 million customers. As part of our commitment to the communities we serve, we support a variety of initiatives through shareholder charitable contributions, employee giving programs and volunteerism. Our philanthropic priorities include climate action, emergency preparedness and safety, economic prosperity, and K-12 STEM education. Many of our initiatives focus on advancing racial and gender equity in alignment with our company value to “champion people.” We understand that in order for our region to thrive and become more sustainable, it is important for all of us to do our part to ensure no one is left behind. LOGO

Partnerships are priceless and San Diego Gas & Electric’s (SDG&E) partnership with San Diego College of Continuing Education (SDCCE) is no different.

In an effort to help low-income San Diegans take part in a tuition-free program that allows them to learn the unique skills to become a part of the Arborist industry SDG&E has awarded a three-year grant to the SDCCE Foundation’s Employee Training Institute (ETi). The Arborist/Utility Line Clearance Training is a 200-hour, 5-week training and allows graduates to become a skilled arborist supporting California in preventing fires by clearing trees away from utility equipment and lines.

“This marks a historic partnership between the SDCCE Foundation and SDG&E. The SDCCE is proud to be a part of the fight against climate change and keeping San Diego safe,” said SDCCE Chancellor Carlos O. Cortez, Ph.D.

The Arborist/Utility Line Clearance Training began at the SDCCE Foundation’s ETi April 2021, and since then twenty-four trainees completed the program. Every graduate from the first cohort dispatched to fight the Dixie Fire in July 2021, which burned 963,309 acres. The second cohort of graduates were offered jobs in the arboriculture industry and were recognized by Congressman Juan Vargas.

The Arborist/Utility Line Clearance Training designed by industry experts, gives entry-level students education in First Aid/CPR, OSHA 10, flagger training, fire safety prevention, chippers, chainsaw usage, ropes, knots, and climbing. The goal of the program is to give graduates confidence and allow them to leave the program prepared to be safe and productive workers on a line clearance crew.

“The SDCCE Foundation is excited to bring awareness to the arboriculture industry and as a result of SDG&E’s generous training funding, low-income San Diegans are entering a high demand, high wage career path.” said Laurie Coskey, Ed.D., SDCCE Foundation’s CEO.

SDG&E’s support permits the development and scholarships of the Program beginning April 2022 through July 2025. Funding from SDG&E makes the SDCCE Foundation’s ETi the first California Community College to offer a partnership between a college and a utility to support curriculum as a line-item in the company’s fire risk mitigation budget, confirmed Caron Lieber, ETi Manager.

The Arborist/Utility Line Clearance Training is open for applications with particular outreach to low-income communities. Prospective trainees can apply now at

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Esteban Villanueva