Daily Business Report-July 3, 2017
Alicia Osuna is on her way to earning an associate degree in biology — with an eye on transferring to San Diego State University. She hopes one day to become a veterinarian.
Once Homeless and Afraid, Alicia Osuna Eyes
College with Help from San Diego Promise
Until her final semester in high school, Alicia Osuna had never given much thought about going to college. Growing up in a family without a home for most of her childhood meant meeting more immediate goals, such as finding a place to sleep for the night.
But thanks to the San Diego Community College District’s (SDCCD) free college program known as the San Diego Promise, Osuna has enrolled at City College and is on her way to earning an associate degree in biology —with an eye on transferring to San Diego State University. She hopes one day to become a veterinarian.
“This program is life changing,” Osuna said. “I’m very, very grateful for the people who have given me a chance, and I know that I’m going to make them proud.”
Started as a pilot program in the fall of 2016, the San Diego Promise covers tuition and $750 for books for participating students at City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges. The program will expand to up to 800 students this fall, and Osuna is among 10 San Diego Promise students from the Monarch School for the homeless.
While the SDCCD’s colleges offer the lowest tuition in the nation, earning a degree or certificate remains a steep financial challenge for far too many students. A recent San Diego State University study found that nearly one-third of community college students in California face homelessness or housing insecurity, and 12 percent are unsure where they will get their next meal.
Nearly 7 in 10 SDCCD students are working to support themselves or their family while going to school, and the vast majority receives financial aid to pay tuition and registration fees. A recent survey found that one third of students in the district had to drop a class because they could not afford a required textbook. Fifteen percent come from families making less than $10,000 each year, according to a district analysis.
Osuna knows all too well about struggling to survive. Raised in San Diego, Osuna has lived in shelters for much of her life. “Sometimes we didn’t have anywhere to go, so we’d sleep in bathrooms or wherever we could find,” said Osuna, who grew up with three younger sisters and her mom. Although her mom worked at a tobacco company in San Diego, it wasn’t until a few years ago that the family was able to afford a modest apartment near Naval Base San Diego.
Osuna learned about the San Diego Promise from a counselor at the Monarch School in the spring. “It sounded like a great idea, I didn’t have anything to lose, so I went ahead and applied for the program,” Osuna said. “I wasn’t planning to go to college at all.”
Rather than wait until the fall semester, Osuna signed up for classes this summer and began her college career on June 19.
“Things are going well and I don’t want to interrupt the momentum,” she said. “I know I went through a lot, but that’s all in the past. I’m not going to let homelessness define my future.”
Comic-Con Staying in San Diego
Comic-Con International will remain in San Diego through 2021. The announcement last week by Mayor Kevin Faulconer gave supporters of the annual attraction and a legion of fans renewed hopes for its long-term future.
Before the announcement, Comic-Con had only agreed to stay in San Diego until 2018. Faulconer’s office worked over the last several months to help facilitate the discussions between Comic-Con International, the San Diego Tourism Authority, the San Diego Convention Center and local hotels. The partnership was important in securing the amount of hotel rooms and convention space necessary to successfully host the more than 130,000 attendees in San Diego each year.
Comic-Con International is the convention center’s largest event of the year and is estimated to generate $135 million regionally and $2.8 million in tax revenues for the city. The revenue directly benefits residents by funding city services, including street repair, parks and libraries. Comic-Con also showcases San Diego on an international stage through television and media coverage.
This year’s convention kicks off with a preview night on Wednesday, July 19 and continues through Sunday, July 23. This year marks the 48th year for the event, making it the country’s longest continuously-run comics and popular arts convention.
Co-Creator of i.d.e.a. San Diego
To Give July 13 Talk to SDX
SDX, formerly the San Diego Advertising Club, will present “Surviving the Business Apocalypse
with Courage,” a presentation by Ryan Berman, co-founder and chief creative officer at creative agency i.d.e.a. of San Diego, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Thursday, July 13, at Downtown Works, 550 West B St., Fourth Floor, San Diego. The presentation will be followed by a 5:30-6:30 p.m. happy hour reception. Admission is free for members and $40 per person for nonmembers.
Berman said he will discuss four truths to help executives better navigate the speed, stresses and fears of business today, all through the lens of courage. He also will share ideas that can transform a business so it doesn’t get left behind. The presentation is part of SDX’s ongoing “Inspire” seminar series. For more information, visit SDX at www.sandiegox.org.
Prior to moving to San Diego in 2004, Berman spent seven years working in New York City at MVBMS/Euro RSCG (now Havas), which included working on such clients as Evian, Schering Plough, Subway, Universal Studios and Volvo. In San Diego, he formed Fishtank, an agency that served PUMA, Nike, UNICEF and the 2012 London Olympics. In 2012, Fishtank merged with another company to become i.d.e.a.
Rodrigo Moreira Elevated to Partner
Rodrigo Moreira has been made a partner of Solomon Ward Seidenwurm & Smith. Moreira is a member of the firm’s business and corporate, construction, intellectual property and technology and real estate practice groups. He represents clients in a wide range of matters, including corporate structuring and finance, mergers and acquisitions, private equity, securities, licensing, real estate purchases, sales, leases and financing, including Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae multifamily loan transactions. He also has extensive experience negotiating and drafting construction contracts and advising clients on state and federal government procurements.
Moreira received his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law and his B.A. from the University of Arizona.