Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Talent and Universities

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. 

July 11, 2017

Read the full profile here.

July 6, 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. 

January 19, 2017

At the start of each year, Forbes recognizes young entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders across business, education, media and more. In the 2017 iteration, San Diego had strong representation across sectors, further solidifying our region as a world-class city where young talent thrives. 
 
Introducing San Diego's 20-something superstars listed in Forbes 2017...
  • Chad Amonn, Cofounder, Inova Drone (manufacturing): Chad founded Inova Drone, a TechStars company developing small drones for commercial and governmental applications, including public safety and infrastructure inspection. Inova Drone was one of the first companies in Qualcomm's Robotics Accelerator, and was recently a part of WTC San Diego's 2016 MetroConnect program
  • Vinny Green, Director, Business Development, Snopes (media):  Leading business development for fact-checking site Snopes, Vinny and his team doubled annual site traffic to over 13 million unique visitors in October. A local, Vinny graduated from MiraCosta Community College. 
  • Melissa Gymrek, Assistant Professor, University of California San Diego (science):  With research institutions and universities creating a major economic impact in San Diego, scientists like Melissa play a crucial role in building our San Diego's innovation economy. Recognized for her work in genetics and with a patented algorithm for part of the genetic sequencing process, Melissa is on the forefront of San Diego’s scientific research. 
  • James Heller, Cofounder, Wrapify (marketing):  Growing up as a car enthusiast, James used his passion to launch Wrapify, a San Diego startup that pays drivers to wrap their cars with advertisements. With $3 million in sales and 35,000 drivers, the company's unique platform has caught on in 27 cities. James attended CSU San Marcos.
  • Braydon Moreno & Coby Kabili, Cofounders, Robo 3D (manufacturing):  Founded in an apartment in Pacific Beach in 2012, Robo 3D now pulls in $4.7 million in annual earnings with its high-speed consumer-based 3D printers. Part of WTC San Diego’s 2015 MetroConnect program, Robo 3D received programmatic and financial support to increase its exporting capacity in new international markets. 
  • Josh Watson, Esports Operation Manager, Psyonix (gaming):  With the huge success of the game Rocket League, downtown San Diego-based gaming company Psyonix has been pushing its way into eSports  in recent years with SDSU  grad Josh Watson leading the charge. His work includes production of the Rocket League Championship Series Live International Finals, which was viewed by over 1 million people worldwide.

 

October 31, 2016

For 36 hours in late September/Early October, RIMAC Arena was transformed from a sports facility, to a coliseum of creative computing. One thousand students from around California came to compete in the largest collegiate hackathon the region has to offer: SD Hacks. Teams worked to create new code, applications and programs that responded to sponsored challenges. In addition to student competition, companies like ViaSat, Qualcomm, SAIC, SPAWAR, Perkins Coie, iboss Cybersecurity, Classy, VaultRMS, Booz Allen Hamilton and the City of San Diego joined in to talk local tech opportunity and mentor student teams. When all is said and done, 1,000 prospective tech employees left the competition with a new perspective on opportunities in tech, here in San Diego.

October 28, 2016

In an age of rapidly evolving technology, it’s becoming increasingly pertinent for companies to defend themselves against cyber attacks. The cybersecurity sector seeks out the brightest minds to stay one step ahead of hackers who threaten security of  some of the biggest U.S. companies like Netflix, Twitter, Spotify and Amazon. Experts predicted one million cyber job openings worldwide in 2016. This burgeoning market for cyber professionals saw 74 percent growth in the last 5 years with expected growth of 13 percent in San Diego alone between 2016 and 2017. Big players in cybersecurity call San Diego home including SPAWAR, ViaSat, ESET, Northrop Grumman, Sentek Global and General Atomics, to name a few.

EDC's Link2 San Diego program seeks to retain the region's new grads by introducing them to industry leaders and lucrative job opportunities within some of the region's fastest growing sectors. By partnering with local universities, students have a chance to interact one-on-one with top executives they may not otherwise meet. Our fall 2016 Link2 series kicked off with Link2Tech at CSU San Marcos and Cuyamaca College this September. Now, in recognition of National Cyber Security Awareness month, we brought Link2Cyber to USD and SDSU.

Link2Cyber at USD was hosted in partnership with the university's new Center for Cyber Security Engineering and Technology (CCSET). The panel was moderated by Winnie Callahan, director of CCSET and featured representatives from the Cyber Center of Excellence, Sharp Healthcare, ESET, City of San Diego and SPAWAR. There were more than 60 college and high school students in attendance.

For Link2Cyber at SDSU, EDC partnered with the university's Department of Computer Science and its Computer Sciences Advisory Board in hosting 60 students and 20 industry representatives for a networking reception and panel discussion. During the panel, representatives from Sony, General Atomics, ViaSat, LP3 Security and Sentek Global spoke to current trends in cybersecurity and provided insight on how students can best prepare for jobs in cyber.

By showcasing the breadth and diversity of San Diego's top industries, EDC is working to retain and attract top tier talent in San Diego.