Wanda Rogers named 2022 Minority Small Business Champion of the Year

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Wanda Rogers founded Construction Service Workers, the only African American woman-owned construction staffing agency in the US. –  Photo: SBA

by Eddie Dillard

Commitment, dedication, drive, ambition and achievement: These are some of the qualities that describe Wanda Rogers. Wanda has been selected by the San Diego U.S. Small Business Administration as one of the Small Business Week award recipients. Wanda was selected as the Minority Small Business Champion of the year 2022.

Wanda’s journey originated in Chicago, Illinois, where she was born and lived for 18 years. She moved to Southern California where she attended San Diego City College and Southwestern College, which brought her new challenges and opportunities. Wanda worked as a loan processor with Green Light Mortgage company in Irvine until 2018, when the real estate market took a downturn. 

Upon relocating to San Diego, Wanda developed an entrepreneurial spirit and started an employment placement agency. At the time, Wanda became the only African American woman owned disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) serving the construction industry, certified in 25 states throughout the country.

Her business, Construction Service Workers (CSW), specializes in providing prime construction contractors with qualified workers to meet labor needs in public and private sector projects. Wanda employs skilled journeyman and seasoned apprentice workers in trades such as pipefitters, carpenters, laborers and operators.

Through hard work and consistent networking, CSW has placed workers in various projects in San Diego County, the state of California, San Diego Airport, National Weather Center and Ramona Airport.

The ability to match employer’s workforce needs with underserved and underrepresented San Diego community residents is a valuable asset to the community and the City of San Diego. Over the past 13 years, CSW has provided employment services for San Diego residents, placing them into high paying career development jobs. 

Wanda has since expanded her reach into the construction industry by launching a pre-apprenticeship program to provide a structured pipeline for San Diego residents to enter the construction industry. SoCal Pre-Apprenticeship Program is designed to provide classroom instruction in various disciplines involved in the construction industry and most recently the pharmacy technician field, with more tracks to come. Many students are returning from incarceration.

The ability to match employer’s workforce needs with underserved and underrepresented San Diego community residents is a valuable asset.

Matthew, a former student, summed up its value to him: “I really want to thank Ms. Wanda and the SoCal Pre Apprenticeship program for getting me started on finding a career path. Taking those classes was vital in tuning my time management, communication skills and eventually starting a job that gave me foundational electrician skills. Just being open to learning something new made me realize I could learn anything and start fresh, which has led me into healthcare. Thank you for all you do.” Contact the program at www.socalpp.com.

In addition to her business endeavors, Wanda has been involved in various civic organizations including WBEC West Forum, C & C Mentor Protégé Program, League of Women Voters and the NAACP San Diego.

“Wanda Rogers has been a vital contributor to the Candidate Forums of the League of Women Voters. She brings great political intelligence to the work of the LWV and a zest for the complexity of all the issues. She is also an ardent advocate for fairness and equity. It is an honor to have her as a member and a pleasure to see her receive this award”, said Jane Andrews, League of Women Voters of San Diego.

Wanda is a member of the New Creation Church of San Diego and is the mother to one son and the grandmother of three. Wanda is a pillar in the San Diego community and a person of enormous achievements and accomplishments.

Contact Wanda Rogers and some of the programs she’s involved in: 

Eddie Dillard, freelance writer for the Oakland Tribune, Oakland Post, Globe Newspaper, Daily Californian as well as SF Bay View, can be reached at eddie.dillard2020@gmail.com. He worked 30 years for the City of Oakland Office of Economic Development and for 15 years served as president of Oakland’s Black Chamber of Commerce.