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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Economic Development 101

October 17, 2018

Learn from the best, they say. For the third straight year, East County-based guitar manufacturer Taylor Guitars generously played host to WTC San Diego and the 20 companies in this year’s MetroConnect program for a day-long export strategy workshop.

We kicked off the day with a tour of the company’s manufacturing operations, showcasing the craftsmanship that goes into the creation of every Taylor guitar. Then, the MetroConnect cohort was treated to lunch and an information session about global growth, IP protection and even corruption in the international marketplace. Taylor Guitars CFO Barbara Wight provided first-hand insight about how the company selects distributors and deals with IP issues. She described how the company effectively responds to inquiries and IP infringement, and helped the MetroConnect cohort think through how they might mitigate international risks for their companies. Taylor Guitars Director of Finance Bryan Bear then described the company's schema for prioritizing international markets and choosing an entrance strategy.

These workshops are among several support services provide to local SMEs as part the MetroConnect program.

 

October 9, 2018

With and through our investors, EDC works to maximize San Diego’s economic competitiveness. Learn how in our Q3 report, which is segmented by our key teams/initiatives below:

Regional Support

EDC convenes resources and stakeholder groups to help talent and a diversity of companies thrive in the San Diego mega-region.

In order to grow jobs, EDC dispatched the following company support tactics and events in Q3:
  • Unveiled 15 companies selected to participate in DIVx program
  • Hosted 26 PhD students from around the U.S. for Life Sciences Trek
  • Hosted VIP tour of SPAWAR
  • Learned best practices from peers in Indianapolis
  • Helped AI startup Aira sign deals with San Diego Regional Airport Authority and San Diego Convention Center
  • Engaged startup community in North County through Startup78

WTC San Diego

As part of EDC, World Trade Center San Diego works to cultivate a pipeline of export-ready firms, maximize FDI opportunities, and grow the region's global connectivity.

Amid increasing uncertainty over national trade policy, ensuring that local companies get the tools they need to be successful overseas is more important than ever. WTC deployed the following tactics in Q3:

SD: Life. Changing.

EDC's marketing efforts serve to elevate the region as a top destination for talent, business, and investment.

As part of the San Diego: Life. Changing. campaign, EDC showcased why San Diego is a hotspot for talent and investment with and through the following in Q3:

Research

Understanding our economy begins with strong data. EDC develops economic reports to help business and civic leaders make informed decisions.

Telling a data-driven and inclusive story of San Diego, EDC released the following economic reports in Q3:

This work would not be possible without the investment and support of EDC's members/partners. Thank you for allowing us to support the businesses that make this region truly #SDlifechanging.

October 5, 2018

Each year, EDC carefully selects a peer metro for our annual Best Practices Leadership Trip – a chance for EDC and a group of key partners and stakeholders to learn from another region facing challenges similar to our own. The decision to go to Indianapolis this year was not a hard one. We were drawn to Indy not just as a fellow participant in the Brookings Inclusive Economic Development Learning Lab last year, but because of its regional approach to inclusive growth that has catalyzed since. We were further intrigued by Indy’s unique talent attraction and retention programs and its many collaborative efforts across government, business, and philanthropy. Over three days, our group of nearly 30 San Diegans was welcomed by Indy’s civic leaders who highlighted local programs, projects, and initiatives. Ultimately, our goal of the Leadership Trip is to inspire fresh approaches to our own challenges and opportunities at home.

A two-sided economy: The Indy Chamber kicked-off our visit with an overview of the economic disparities facing Indianapolis. Similar to EDC, the Indy Chamber led its region through the Brookings Institution Inclusive Growth Learning Lab designed to help economic development organizations (EDOs) build a data-driven platform that articulates the economic case (and imperative) for inclusion. Since the lab, the Indy Chamber has disseminated the Indy narrative throughout town, with many civic leaders referencing its findings throughout our visit. While Indianapolis bodes well on measures affordability, job growth, and entrepreneurship, it is also the 6th most economically segregated region in the U.S., with limited opportunities for upward mobility for individuals born into poverty. The impacts of automation exacerbate economic segregation and poverty in Indianapolis, which lost more than 20 percent of its manufacturing workforce over the last decade. In facing these realities, civic leaders have enacted new measures to increase job preparedness, homeownership, and overall economic security for Indianapolis residents.

The Cook Medical “unicorn”: In a particularly moving presentation, Pete Yonkman, president of Cook Medical, shared an incredible benefit that his company offers employees who wish to advance their educational goals. With more than 12,000 employees worldwide, Cook is a privately-held medical device manufacturer headquartered in Indiana with facilities in six countries, including K-Tube Technologies in Poway. Through a program called “My Cook Pathway,” Cook eliminated its high school diploma requirement for entry-level manufacturing positions in 2017. High-potential individuals without a high school degree are hired to work at Cook in the mornings before spending the afternoon studying for their GED. During the seven weeks it takes to earn their high school equivalency (HSE), Cook pays employees full-time wages and associated fees. Furthermore, Cook has partnered with the local Ivy Tech Community College to expand the program for employees interested in AA degrees or certificate programs, fronting registration fees and associated expenses and providing guidance on the financial aid process. After overwhelming response from its employees, Cook has since expanded the program even further. Now, Cook employees can get an HSE through a Master’s degree leveraging the My Cook Pathway program. Before introducing this program, fewer than 65 employees took advantage of education reimbursement. Two years later, more than 1,000 employees are enrolled. By leveraging various state and federal funding streams that support employee education, Cook offers this benefit to its employees for less than $2,000 per employee. When Cook leadership eliminated its high school diploma requirement, they decided they wouldn’t sit back and wait for highly educated employees to show up at their door. Now, they are active participants in preparing Indiana’s future workforce, with resumes flooding their doors and employee retention rates on the rise.

Connecting Talent: Through its lauded statewide community college system and multiple universities, Indianapolis is well positioned to produce the workforce its economy needs, but the Midwestern city risks losing talent to the “lure of the coasts.” Jason Kloth, CEO of Ascend Indiana, is front and center on a statewide effort to retain talent by increasing employer access to qualified workers while supporting the residents of Indiana in their pursuit of a meaningful career. After serving in many leadership positions for Teach for America, Kloth led the City of Indianapolis Office of Education Innovation (OEI) as the deputy mayor of education under Mayor Greg Ballard. Kloth is the mastermind behind Ascend, a nonprofit focused on creating a stronger alignment between the supply of skilled talent and demand from employers in Central Indiana. Ascend has raised more than $10 million to support its work. The organization provides strategic consulting services to help high-growth companies identify, evaluate, and secure education partners to deliver a custom talent pipeline, usually in less than a year. In a recent project with medical device giant Roche, Ascend partnered with the University of Indianapolis to address the company’s shortage of technicians fueled by increased retirement turnover. The result was a work-ready pipeline of 25 skilled, entry-level professionals in less than 12 months. Ascend has also created a next-level, cloud-based platform called “the Ascend Network” that matches qualified talent from 14 higher education institutions to positions at more than 70 large companies. The platform has helped place more than 400 individuals in Indiana. Through its experienced team of recruiters and matching algorithms, Ascend ensures high quality candidates and speeds up the hiring process for both individuals and companies. Needless to say, our group was astonished.

Before returning home, many members of our San Diego group continued onto Washington D.C. for a day at the Brookings Institution. The group was welcomed by Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Brookings Metropolitan Program, before Brookings fellows facilitated a series of discussions on how and why other metros are approaching inclusive growth to help us think more broadly about strategies for succeeding in a rapidly-changing economy.

 San Diego’s Progress

After spending much of 2017 deepening our understanding of regional challenges facing San Diego, EDC has spent 2018 assembling an employer-led steering committee to build an inclusive growth agenda that benefits more people, companies and communities. Guided by the findings of a recent EDC study, EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee recently endorsed a regional goal to double the number of skilled workers produced in San Diego County to 20,000 per year by 2030. To support this goal, the committee developed recommendations around transparency, engagement, and investment for employers to adopt and implement within their own organizations. EDC continues to work with the steering committee to set goals and recommendations for employer engagement around our other two pillars of inclusive growth; small business competitiveness and addressing affordability.

Before Indy, we traveled to Nashville and Louisville, smaller regions confronting deeply entrenched histories of racial segregation and poverty. Indianapolis is home to one of the largest endowments in the country and would not be where it is today without the investment of the Lilly family. Each metro is unique in its history, resources, and politics, and will inevitably need to craft an inclusive economic development strategy that works for their community based on their particular circumstance. However, inclusive growth as both an economic and moral imperative is a sentiment that permeates among more and more leaders nationwide.

Regardless of how different our circumstance may be from Nashville, Louisville, or Indianapolis, the authenticity that is threaded throughout our visits each year encourages an honest dialogue among our San Diego delegation, leading to a heightened sense of unity in purpose and mission amongst our investors and newer partners. There is much to be done, but EDC and our stakeholders are committed to this work. It will remain driven by collaboration, coordination, and honesty. EDC’s mission is to maximize the region’s economic prosperity and global competitiveness. To live up to that mission, our economic development strategies must promote growth through inclusion.

Learn more at inclusiveSD.org.

October 3, 2018

San Diego Aira is changing how people see the world, literally. The EvoNexus graduate was formed by several Rady School of Management alumni that had a vision to help blind and visually impaired individuals have a higher quality of life. The company has created a wearable technology that a blind or vision impaired (BVI) person can wear, which better connects them to their surroundings via a live individual who sees exactly what they would. These navigators transcribe the visual world into an auditory one. From shopping, to reading ingredients and instructions, picking out an outfit to traveling or calling an uber, Aira helps BVI individuals live a more independent lives. Based in San Diego, the company now employs 50 people, developers and navigators, that help clients across the country. And Aira is just getting started. Partnering with institutions like UC San Diego and San Diego International Airport, Aira Enabled Zones are being stood up to ensure BVI individuals are able to access this assistance for free while at school, on travel, etc.

San Diego Regional EDC has been proud to support Aira in creating strategic partnerships via introductions to San Diego institutions and regional partners. EDC was able to leverage its existing network to open new doors for Aira at key San Diego business and organizations including the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego Tourism Authority, Petco, Viasat, BD, Cubic, Canadian Department of Commerce, Zero8Hundred, Seaworld, Tijuana EDC, and more.

The company was also recently named to WTC San Diego's export accelerator program, MetroConnect.

Aira truly is another example of a truly #SDlifechanging company in San Diego.

 

September 21, 2018

San Diego’s Economic Pulse uses data to tell a story about our regional economy. This issue covers data from August 2018. Check out EDC's research bureau for more data & stats about San Diego's economy. 

Monthly Employment Change by Sector
 

 

 


 

September 6, 2018

In an effort to build a more inclusive economy, San Diego Regional EDC and its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee of 40 employers officially endorsed a regional goal to double the number of skilled workers produced in San Diego County to 20,000 per year by 2030, as well as a set of recommendations, to develop a stronger local talent pipeline – the first of three main goals of EDC’s Inclusive Growth initiative.

“We have untapped talent all throughout San Diego County, especially in our Latino communities,” said Dr. Patricia Prado-Olmos, vice president of community engagement, California State University San Marcos, and Inclusive Growth Steering Committee member. “When higher education and companies come together to provide our traditionally underserved populations with the education, training, and development they need to qualify for highly-skilled and high-paying jobs, we are able to create a better San Diego where everyone can thrive.”

BUILDING THE TALENT PIPELINE
Amid a nationwide battle for skilled talent, San Diego must also look inward and focus on building a stronger talent pipeline locally to sustain its growth. Earlier this year, EDC released research that shows the region’s largest and fastest growing population (Hispanics) is statistically the least prepared for high-skilled high-wage jobs, with 85 percent without a bachelor’s degree.

In its latest study release, EDC found that there are more than 100 key occupations in the region with shortages in skilled labor, many of which fuel San Diego’s innovation economy. Projections show an estimated 20,000 job openings per year in these same occupations, which means that San Diego’s current talent supply falls short in meeting anticipated skilled labor demands of tomorrow’s economy. The study also found that San Diego’s current innovation economy does not reflect the region’s population, as the Hispanic population is glaringly underrepresented at only 17 percent. Guided by the findings of this study and input from expert advisors, EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee—comprised of 40 regional employers—has endorsed a regional goal to double the number of skilled workers produced in San Diego County to 20,000 per year by 2030.

Companies that have officially endorsed this regional target include Northrop Grumman, Qualcomm, Brown Law Group, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Cox Communications, ResMed, Cubic Transportation Systems, and more. For a complete list of employers committed to this effort, visit the interactive web study online.

To further support this goal, the Inclusive Growth Steering Committee has also developed the following recommendations for employers to adopt and implement at their organizations:

  1. Transparency – provide EDC with anonymized data on workforce demographics to benchmark and track over time. Understanding the composition of the region’s largest employers will provide insight into where the region stands at present and how much progress is being made over time.
  2. Engagement – participate in direct student-workplace exposure programs that directly engage the students aimed to prepare for high-skilled work in 2030. Providing K-12 students with opportunities to visualize themselves in the roles that the regional economy needs them to fill.
  3. Investment – invest in post-secondary educational programs resulting in qualified talent at respective workplace.

“Latinos are the most underrepresented group across innovation companies in San Diego,” said Cynthia Curiel, vice president of communications, Northrop Grumman, and Inclusive Growth Steering Committee member. “We are in a war for talent, and recruiting from outside the region isn’t enough. By investing in building our local workforce, we can fill jobs and lift communities that are currently underrepresented in San Diego’s innovation economy.“

EDC and the Inclusive Growth Steering Committee strongly encourage other regional employers to adopt these recommendations and actively promote inclusion at their respective workplaces.

BUILDING A STRONGER SAN DIEGO: EDC’S INCLUSIVE GROWTH INITIATIVE

Like many of its metro counterparts, San Diego has its fair share of economic challenges. While its innovation economy continues to grow and bring in much wealth and opportunity to the region, it also leaves many San Diegans unable to afford the rising cost of living.

To help sustain San Diego’s future growth, EDC launched a data-driven initiative focused on promoting inclusive growth as an economic imperative, emphasizing that San Diego employers must take active measures to promote inclusion, or the region will no longer be able to compete.

Together with its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee, EDC aims to set regional targets and release actionable recommendations for three main goals: build a strong local talent pool; equip small businesses to compete; and address the affordability crisis.

“The regional economy is changing rapidly, and we must be inclusive to succeed and compete,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “For EDC, this means changing the economic development discussion to be talent-centric and inclusive in nature. These recommendations represent the first step in our regional employers’ commitment to developing local talent and preparing a workforce that is diverse, ambitious, and capable of meeting the demands of our growing economy.”

Over the next several months, EDC will continue to establish regional targets and recommendations for its other two goals. EDC will also support employers by facilitating the collection of data for quick, consistent reporting and serving as a liaison between employers and various community partners to expand reach and increase exposure of scalable programs.

For more information about the Inclusive Growth initiative, visit inclusiveSD.org.

Follow along on social media with #inclusiveSD

View the full interactive web study release – “Building San Diego’s Talent Pipeline” – here.

August 23, 2018

Last week, EDC welcomed a group of next-gen life sciences leaders to San Diego for an exclusive tour of the region’s life sciences industry. Over two days, 26 eager PhD candidates representing 15 schools across 11 states paid visits to seven local employers including ResMed, Takeda, BD, Janssen/JLABS, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Dexcom, and Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine. Upon completion of their PhD program, these students will enter high-demand occupations within the life sciences industry – namely, positions in bioinformatics, computational biology, genomics, and more. Our hope is that they chose to do so in our region.

EDC launched the San Diego Life Sciences Trek in 2017 as a strategy for attracting talent to support the growth of the region’s life sciences industry, mirroring the more typical MBA Trek model. Across the globe, leaders in genomics and connected health are gathering incomprehensible amounts of data with the power to unlock the human genome, make personalized care a reality, and enhance the way we live on a massive scale. Individuals skilled in bioinformatics, data science, and computational biology are instrumental in deciphering such data sets – a task with stunning implications across pharma, biotech, healthcare, genomics, and much more – and are thus highly sought after by companies and regions alike. The battle for talent is heating up.

Many trek participants attend this two-day program because they are curious about a career in industry, but with backgrounds in academia, have had limited opportunities to explore what one might look like. The Life Sciences Trek provides students a chance to get out from behind the lab bench to tour companies, talk with real professionals, and learn how their skills can be applied in life-changing companies in San Diego.

Through company tours, panel discussions, presentations, and a networking reception, students gained access to influential researchers and executives across leading life sciences employers. From drug discovery to connected devices, genetic sequencing to direct patient care, the breadth of opportunities for bioinformaticians became apparent within San Diego’s diverse life sciences ecosystem. In fact, after attending the trek, 90 percent of participants indicated that they plan to pursue a career in San Diego upon completion of their PhD program.

Below are their thoughts. See more at #SDlifesciencestrek.

“It was a fantastic experience for someone who's always been immersed in academia, but is interested in the industry.”

– PhD candidate in Bioinformatics, University of Michigan

“This was an incredible opportunity to network with the scientists that could be involved in hiring you in the future. It was an indispensable experience to see first hand the types of jobs that recent PhD graduates could be qualified for.”

– PhD candidate in Neuroscience, University of Southern California

“Seeing the positive testimonials from all the people at the companies regardless of their position about work-life culture will make me prioritize San Diego as my primary target for future job applications.”

 – PhD candidate in Animal Biology with a focus on Biotechnology, UC Davis

“The trek was really eye-opening and definitely changed my perspective about potentially pursuing a career there!”

– PhD candidate in Cell and Molecular Biology, University of Southern California

“The SD trek is a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with biotech opportunities in SD and to learn about a great town with a lot of potential for aspiring scientists.”

– PhD candidate in Microbiology and Immunology, Dartmouth College

 

The trek group represented 15 schools: Carnegie Melon, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Georgia Tech, Stanford, Ohio State, UC Davis, UC San Diego, UC Santa Cruz, University of Southern California, University of Idaho, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Texas. 


Trek highlights: Surprise guest Dr. Stephen Kingsmore, CEO of Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine and Guinness World Record holder for fastest genetic diagnosis through DNA sequencing.

  

You can't talk about San Diego life sciences without talking about startups. Trek participants tour JLABS followed by a panel discussion moderated by Ashley Van Zeeland, co-founder of Cypher Genomics and former CTO of Human Longevity.

 

 

August 6, 2018

Originally published on sdfoundation.org.

The second most populous county in California, San Diego County is a center of entrepreneurship and innovation with one of the most highly educated workforces in the world.
 
However, changing skill requirements, a nationwide battle for talent, and a soaring cost of living are threatening our regional competitiveness.
 
According to the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC), San Diego’s Hispanic population is our fastest growing group and will become our region’s largest by 2030. However, Hispanics and other underserved populations are dramatically underrepresented in our region’s innovation occupations and possess lower rates of educational attainment.
 
For the region to remain competitive, proactive measures to promote economic inclusion must be taken.
 
THE CASE FOR ECONOMIC INCLUSION
The San Diego Foundation Science & Technology Program nonprofit partners are working to close demographic gaps in educational attainment and strengthen our regional resilience by building an inclusive economy.
 
Since 1999, the Science & Technology Program has granted more than $8 million to support scientists and engineers in San Diego, and most recently granted $632,934 to 10 programs aiming to  increase opportunities for those who work and learn in our region.
 
Grantees such as California State University San Marcos and Access Inc. support San Diego’s innovation economy by creating and expanding a pipeline of young adults underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields to college and career opportunities for inclusive growth.
 
Inclusive growth is crucial to sustain a successful, regional economy, especially for our innovation sector, which accounts for more than 25 percent of San Diego’s economic activity.
 
PREPARING OUR REGION’S WORKFORCE OF THE FUTURE
The San Diego Foundation Director of Community Impact Katie Rast recently discussed how we can grow an inclusive, regional economy with key stakeholders: President & CEO of San Diego Regional EDC Mark Cafferty, Vice President of Youth Programs at Access Inc. Roshawn Brady, and Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at Cal State San Marcos Dr. Julie Jameson.
 
Watch the recording below of the Facebook Live conversation to learn why preparing our region’s workforce of the future means ensuring our underserved communities are competitive and how visionary organizations are making an impact in the lives of young, underrepresented adults.

July 6, 2018

The California Competes Tax Credit (CCTC) is an income tax credit program available to California businesses expanding or relocating to the state of California. Negotiated by the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), the California Competes Tax Credit program has awarded more than $600 million in credits to nearly 1,000 California companies since the program’s inception in 2014. In FY17-18 round alone, the state granted more than $194 million in credits.

Each year, the state grants a series of tax credit awards over three rounds: November, April, and June. The completion of the June 2018 round marked the end of the FY17-18 program. Throughout the three rounds of FY17-18, credits were awarded to more than 182 California companies, which are projected to create more than 15,000 jobs and invest more than $2 billion in the state over the next five years.

In the FY17-18 program, 33 San Diego companies were awarded more than $24.4 million in tax credits for the creation of 1,900 new jobs and investments totaling $151 million in San Diego. Compared to other metros in California, San Diego claimed more than 33 percent of the total credits for the fiscal year, the second highest amount of credits in the State.

Businesses are separated into small and large business categories, and more small businesses in San Diego won credits than large. Throughout the fiscal year, 17 small businesses were awarded more than $6 million in tax credits. These small companies will create nearly 300 new jobs and invest $60 million into the local economy over the next five years. More than 22 percent of credits in the small business category we’re awarded to San Diego companies.

One of those small business recipients in the latest round, Urban Translations, was awarded $750,000 in credits for commitments to create 61 new jobs and invest $144,000 in San Diego, with consulting provided by EDC and WTC San Diego. Based in Point Loma, Urban Translations is a local startup that creates digital, interactive menus for the hospitality industry - available in any language. The company recently landed partnerships with Samsung and Google, positioning the company for rapid growth. Samantha Urban, the company’s CEO, intends to leverage savings from the Tax Credit program to convert many of her part-time employees to full time positions to support long-term growth in San Diego.

The next application round for the California Competes Tax Credit program will open Friday, July 30. For more information regarding the California Competes Tax Credit program or with assistance on your application, contact Jesse Gipe, senior economic development manager, EDC.

 

July 2, 2018

Are you a growing, San Diego-based company? Are you looking to expand into foreign markets? Or, are you a defense contractor looking to diversify revenue? San Diego Regional EDC can help.
 
Apply now to EDC's business support programs - MetroConnect and/or the Defense Innovation Voucher Program - which offer $10K-$15K grants and programmatic services to support your business' growth.

 
The details:
  • MetroConnect, World Trade Center San Diego’s flagship export assistance program, is now in its fourth year. Made possible through a grant provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co., small to mid-sized companies in San Diego will receive a $10K grant and programmatic services to assist with international expansion efforts. Learn more.
  • As part of the Department of Defense-funded Propel San Diego grant, the Defense Innovation Voucher Program will provide San Diego headquartered defense companies with $15K in consulting services in one of the following categories: marketing, strategic planning, accounting compliance, lean supply chain analysis and additive manufacturing, and certifications, as well as additional hands-on training for companies looking to diversify revenue. Learn more.
 
The application can be accessed here from July 2 - August 20, 2018.