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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Talent and Universities

November 17, 2017

In 2016, executives from San Diego life sciences giants Illumina, Human Longevity, Inc., Thermo Fisher Scientific, ResMed and Dexcom approached EDC with a pressing need for a specific type of talent: bioinformatics professionals. Known among peers by their technical title, bioinformaticians develop and apply software tools to understand biological data sets. In San Diego, 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.

Even with impressive programs at UC San Diego and SDSU, the demand for bioinformatics professionals is simply too high for local universities to fill. As such, EDC launched the Life Sciences Trek to San Diego with the help of our economic development committee, to showcase local opportunities for Masters and PhD’s from across the country. The goal of the program: attract talent who can translate data into actionable results for application in healthcare and medicine. During the trek, the group would visit seven San Diego life sciences staples, presenting a range of career opportunities.

On November 9-10, we were joined by 27 students from across the U.S., representing UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco, University of Michigan, Stanford, Arizona State, UC Riverside, University of Northern Carolina, University of Pittsburgh and Georgia Institute of Technology. Through company tours, presentations and a networking reception, students gained access to influential researchers and executives across many of San Diego's research institutions and fast growing companies including ResMed, Illumina, the Salk Institute, Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Human Longevity, Inc. 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.

Though a pilot program for EDC, the Life Sciences Trek to San Diego was largely a success. Providing an employer perspective, ResMed Lead Talent Acquisition Partner Amy Hernandez considered the trek a “fantastic employment branding opportunity” and a “great community event that highlighted San Diego as an attractive employment marketplace to a ripe generation of future leaders.” Additionally, the students were impressed. For one student, the trek displayed “tremendous opportunities to do biomedical research that directly impacts patient lives.” For another, the trek was a “fantastic opportunity and unique experience to get an inside look into companies and a career in Life sciences and in bioinformatics specifically,” saying “it was perfect timing in my last year of my PhD program.”

Looking ahead to 2018, EDC will continue to address the occupational demand for bioinformatics and other life sciences professionals in San Diego. EDC will play host second trek in 2018, and will emphasize the need for data science professionals as a part of the U.S. Chamber’s Talent Pipeline Management program, which takes an employer-focused approach to meeting talent needs.

EDC didn’t need to write talking points, as San Diego spoke for itself. The people we met, spaces we visited and stories we heard over the two days embodied the region’s life-changing identity. Surpassing expectation, the trek has left an undeniable impression on all who participated – students and locals alike.

See more at #SDLifeSciencesTrek.


 

September 29, 2017

This week, EDC took its Link2 San Diego program on the road, setting up shop at Cal Poly SLO’s Computing Career Fair where CS and engineering students came to connect with the biggest names in tech from around the country. The best news: we weren’t the only San Diego representation in the room. Among the sea of 35+ company booths were locals ViaSat, Booz Allen Hamiliton and Intuit.

EDC’s booth, themed San Diego: Life. Changing., served as the information hotspot for students looking to relocate after graduation. Of the 70 students we spoke with, most expressed interest in staying in California, and many were considering San Diego for post-grad. Confirming a common misconception, many students thought of San Diego as only a vacation beach-town and were unaware that the region is home to tech powerhouses Google, GoPro, Amazon, Intuit, FitBit and many more. We took this opportunity to garner student interest in the Link2 San Diego event taking place on SLO’s campus the week following (October 3), where students could network in a more casual, informational setting with local companies ViaSat, Intuit, Takeda, Solar Turbines and MindBody.

Our giveaways served to drive the San Diego reality home. The San Diego: Life. Changing. pocket guide and company map highlighted the industry opportunity available in San Diego, while our bottle openers (the fan favorite) alluded to our leading craft beer scene.

The purpose of the Link2 San Diego program is to highlight the career opportunity available in San Diego. We’ve done this locally, at SDSU, UC San Diego, USD and more. And now, with the Cal Poly Computing Career Fair, we’ve taken these efforts on the road – attracting students and soon-to-be grads into our region.  

September 21, 2017

EDC officially launched San Diego: Life. Changing., a campaign to raise San Diego’s profile and attract and retain top STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) talent in the region. SDlifechanging.org includes information about living and working in the San Diego region, and will soon include a digital toolkit to assist companies in their recruitment efforts.                          

The campaign was launched at a specially-themed San Diego: Life. Changing Night at the Padres game on September 19, with more than 15,000 in attendance.

San Diego: Life. Changing. communicates San Diego’s evolving value proposition, driven by companies and people looking to change the world and upgrade their quality of life.                                                                                                               

“We’re not Boston, New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles. And we don’t want to be,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “This campaign was developed by San Diego…and for San Diego to communicate the unique opportunities and experiences our region offers to companies and employees alike.”

Extensive research proves that talent fuels economic growth, drives corporate decision-making and fuels entrepreneurship. If San Diego wants to remain economically competitive, it must continue to attract a talent pool that appeals to global companies.

The launch of the campaign is the culmination of Phase I of a year-long effort to refine a cohesive identity to attract and retain STEAM talent in the region. Hailing from life sciences and tech industries, nearly 100 companies with a San Diego presence have joined the “San Diego Brand Alliance” including Illumina, Human Longevity, Inc., SONY, ViaSat, Intuit – as well as many startups – and have provided feedback on potential recruiting tools and other San Diego assets.

“San Diego holds such tremendous opportunities for candidates, yet when recruiting top talent from outside of the region we still encounter the false perception that career options here are somewhat limited,” said Melinda Del Toro, senior vice president of People & Culture, ViaSat and vice-chair, San Diego Brand Alliance. “The San Diego: Life. Changing. campaign reinforces the message we’ve been telling candidates for years: San Diego is a dynamic, rich environment with incredible opportunities to have both the career and life you want, that you just don't find in other regions.”

Over the next two years, San Diego: Life. Changing. will continue to build out SDlifechanging.org to include full company profiles, a video library and additional recruiting tools for companies. In 2018, EDC will look to partner with local organizations to deploy the campaign in specific markets across the country.

Learn more at SDlifechanging.org and follow along at #SDlifechanging. San Diego-based companies can request access to the recruiting toolkit online here.

 

Please see press kit and FAQs for additional information about the campaign. 

August 14, 2017

We're taking San Diego's story into our own hands and launching San Diego: Life. Changing.: a campaign celebrating the smart and innovative companies and people that call San Diego home.

Before we go live at the Padres Game on September 19, we wanted to show the San Diego community what we've been up to. Cue: the Masters of Change event, August 10.

This was a night of good local food and drinks, a sneak peek of the campaign and remarks from San Diego's number one pitchman himself, Bill Walton. We even mingled with San Diego's very own celebrity chef, Brian Malarkey.

Special thanks to the folks at Alexandria Real Estate for throwing us the party of the century.

Look how much fun we had:

And it's only the beginning...

July 11, 2017

Read the full profile here.

May 21, 2017

This spring, EDC continued its Link2 San Diego series – partnering with local colleges and universities to bridge the gap between young talent and the region’s growing industries. The spring series brought together 368 students, 18 companies, 13 high schools and three colleges. The forums provide an opportunity for students to network with and learn from local executives – with discussion around market trends, innovative technologies, entrepreneurship, sustainability of businesses, workforce requirements and more. Students across the spectrum, from high school to post-grad with diverse backgrounds and degree focuses, attended these free events to explore career options and make valuable connections with industry leaders. The details:

In April, EDC partnered with Cleantech San Diego on two events focused on topics including sustainability, climate action, electric and autonomous vehicles and more. Link2 Clean Transportation and Link2 Cleantech were both held on local community college campuses, hosting 250 students. The panel discussions and networking sessions featured representatives from SANDAG, SDG&E, ChargePoint, Green Charge, Lumeo and Mossy Toyota.

In May, EDC partnered with the UC San Diego Design Lab to host Link2 Game Design – an event focused on the growing alternate and virtual reality industry. The panel discussion featured game design experts from Daybreak Games, Tsunami VR, ThoughtSTEM, Jam City and VAVi Sport & Social Club. After the panel, more than 100 students participated in hands-on virtual reality demos and networked with industry representatives during the three-hour event at UC San Diego.

 

April 19, 2017

The technology cluster along the San Diego region’s 78 Corridor spans 70 different industries and 200 unique occupations. Encompassing the North County cities Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista, this well-established and diverse tech cluster is expected to grow by 5 percent over the next five years, according to a study released by Innovate78 today.

Study highlights include:

  • The 78 Corridor’s tech cluster has a $6.1 billion total economic impact annually, representing nearly 25,000 jobs.
  • North County’s technology cluster has a competitive advantage in precision manufacturing – specializing in the production of biomedical devices, telecommunications equipment and defense-related products.
  • The 78 Corridor’s tech cluster is 1.4 times more concentrated than the nation.
  • Biotech and biomed devices has been the fastest growing segment in the tech cluster, with a 9 percent increase in employment since 2011.


Read the executive summary and full study here.

April 5, 2017

According to the Brookings Institution, more than 98 percent of San Diego’s economic growth is going to come from focusing on companies already in the region. While poaching companies from other states may command headlines, focusing on helping companies already in San Diego is what will actually move the needle. And according to the Kauffman Foundation, one of the primary reasons a startup or company chooses to grow in a region is because of its talent pool.  

So how do we ensure that San Diego has the workforce to compete?

We start by telling a cohesive story. San Diego wears many hats – we have a high concentration of tech jobs. We’re one of the top life sciences ecosystems in the country. And we’re also a pretty awesome place to live. This is what the research tells us. 

But when you’re marketing a region, perception – not fact – is reality. 

At EDC, everything we do begins and ends with research. Understanding our story and strengths is no different. With the help of two local firms, we set out to test baseline perceptions of our region. What we found is that many senior level HR managers feel like they are missing out on key recruits because these potential employees don’t know what San Diego has to offer, both in terms of career progression and lifestyle. EDC set out to figure out what our message is, what makes us different from other regions and how we tell that story to the rest of the world.

Since January, EDC has shared this message platform with more than 100 regional companies and organizations – our Brand Alliance. Next up, we are building out a website that will look at unique neighborhoods, companies and activities and a digital toolkit (fast facts, logos, imagery, etc.). The goal is to arm companies with the resources they need to better tell San Diego’s story to the world.

Our Brand Alliance is comprised of diverse companies and opinions, but we’ve all agreed on one thing: San Diego's story is worth telling.

Interested in joining the alliance? Click here.

For questions or sponsorship, please contact Sarah Lubeck at sl@sandiegobusiness.org.

March 1, 2017
Authored by Nathan Loveland, economic development intern, PLNU student and U.S. Coast Guard veteran
 
Because San Diego is home to the largest federal military workforce in the country, it is critical that we routinely make efforts to assist service members taking the leap of faith to transition into civilian life. That’s why in February, EDC partnered with University of San Diego’s Graduate School of Business to host the military transition event, Link2 Defense. The event served to connect transitioning military members to local defense contractors and shed light on the job opportunities available across San Diego. 
 
Representatives from local companies General Dynamics NASSCO, ESET, ViaSat, Qualcomm, Sentek, Northrop Grumman and Cubic shared information on company-specific programming for veterans, while some – veterans themselves – shared insight about their transition into civilian careers. Moderated by USD School of Business Executive Director Stath Karras and zero8hundred CEO Sean Mahoney, the back-to-back panel discussions addressed topics including resume building, job hunting and converting military specific jobs/skills into civilian equivalent work.
 
As an economics student at PLNU, an intern for EDC and a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, I attended Link2 Defense to continue to hone in on my skills as I further my education and pursue a civilian career. 
 
The event was top notch. Representatives from USD gave valuable insight on how maximize VA education benefits in multiple ways. In addition to the panel sessions, the event included small group breakout sessions covering topics like resume building hosted by Manpower, techniques for job hunting and salary negotiation. I attended the salary negotiations seminar and look forward to using these tactics in my future job hunt – Look out, future employer. 
 
After attending Link2, I feel extremely confident in my decision to transition from the military to purse my education and career in the San Diego region. I feel the opportunities provided to San Diego’s veterans are superior in comparison to other cities I’ve lived. 
 
February 9, 2017

If you build it, they will come…”  This mantra was true of the Field of Dreams, and now of San Diego’s burgeoning tech ecosystem.

Together with 35 of San Diego's best and biggest tech companies, Innovate78 representatives joined the San Diego Venture Group's Tacos + Tech in Silicon Valley last week. The event – appropriately held at the Computer History Museum – played host to more than 700 curious Bay Area engineers and programmers, and served to showcase the high-tech jobs and opportunities available across San Diego.

With a special focus on attracting Bay Area engineers, North County companies like ViaSat, Thermo Fisher Scientific and Verve, as well as other San Diego companies like Illumina, Dexcom, ResMed, Qualcomm, Human Longevity, Cubic, Hired and LoanHero set up shop at the job fair-like event. Company recruiters spoke to San Diego as the alternative to Northern California’s congested traffic, high cost of living, hyper-competitive workforce culture and other issues plaguing the region.

As a proud sponsor, the EDC-led economic development initiative Innovate78 represented North County at a booth, with leaders from the five cities along the 78 Corridor – Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista – at the helm. Conversations with attendees ranged from North County housing costs to the growing tech sector, to the many breweries that make up the ‘Hops Highway’ – one of the primary booths highlighting the region's lifestyle.

While many attendees admitted connection to San Diego through family, school or dream vacations, it seemed as though the region’s tech ecosystem – which employs nearly 69,000 people – has flown under the radar. Tacos + Tech provided a platform for some of San Diego County’s top employers and innovators to attract Bay Area talent through simply sharing San Diego's reality: a broad diversity of career opportunity mixed with a top-tier quality of life (and, of course, tacos and beer). For decades, San Diego has built this ecosystem, and now…the talent will most certainly come.

Tacos + Tech comes on the heels of SDVG's Beachhead launch, a coworking space for San Diego entrepreneurs working out of Silicon Valley.