Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Universities

December 17, 2018

At the end of each year, we like to look back on all the good this year brought with it. And with San Diego as our home, there's much to be thankful for - from an influx of startup growth, to top rankings and thriving educational systems. Read on below to see the top themes we saw come out of 2018.

From Team EDC, thank you for being part of our #SDlifechanging story.

Not a HQ town, but now we have these....
Qualcomm aside, San Diego is not often thought of as a headquarter town; but that doesn't mean large companies don't see value in setting up operations in the region. This year, we saw these tech heavyweights plant roots in San Diego:

  • Data analytics company Teradata relocated its headquarters to San Diego from Dayton, Ohio
  • Amazon to hire up to 350 at its new UTC campus
  • Walmart Labs opened 30,000 sqft in Carlsbad; to double tech workforce
  • WrikeCloudbeds, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals made significant investments in local expansions
  • And most recently, Apple announced it will be expanding to San Diego, supporting up to 1,000 jobs

SD leads charge in the healthcare revolution
Home to more than 1,200 life sciences companies and more than 80 research institutes, the San Diego region is on the brink of scientific breakthrough each and every day. This year, we saw Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine and Illumina set the Guinness world record for fastest genetic diagnoses in newborns; Scripps Translational Science Institute was awarded a $34+ million grant for its work in digital health; Salk scientist Janelle Ayres received $1 million to fund her microbial research; Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute identified never-before-seen DNA recombination in the brain linked to Alzheimer's disease; local biotechs PfenexSynthorx, and Trovagene went public; Illumina acquired Edico Genome and Pacific Biosciences in separate deals worth more than $2.2 billion; LunaDNA launched the first-of-its-kind platform that offers stock for DNA data; and much more #SDlifechanging work.

SD selected as national UAS testing center
With a continued commitment to growing San Diego’s reputation as a hub for innovation, the City of San Diego, City of Chula Vista, and EDC announced that San Diego has been selected to participate in a new program by the U.S. Department of Transportation to advance the testing of unmanned aircraft technology, grow the innovation economy, and create jobs. As part of the program, the Chula Vista Police Department has begun to deploy drones for public safety operations. Read more.

Local colleges expand, bolster talent pipeline
San Diego's educational institutions produce a top-tier talent pipeline for employers both here and abroad. And now more than ever, San Diego State University, UC San Diego, San Diego Community College District, and others are expanding programs and campuses to promote inclusion and support industry needs. This year's successes include:

  • CSU San Marcos announced the creation of its bachelor of science in computer engineering thanks to more than $1.5 million in donations from local companies and their employees
  • Mira Costa and Palomar colleges to waive tuition for all first-time, full-time students as part of California College Promise program
  • Philanthropist Denny Sanford made a landmark, $100 million gift to the National University System to expand its social emotional learning program
  • Southwestern College was awarded $325,000 in grants to fund services for veteran and undocumented students
  • San Diego City College expanded its cybersecurity program to include associate and certificate opportunities
  • With its first female president Adela de la Torre at the helm, San Diego State University is set to launch a new Big Data Analytics graduate program
  • UC San Diego received a record $75 million from computer science alum Taner Halicioğlu to grow its new data science institute

SD companies rake in big bucks for growth
Throughout 2018, San Diego saw more than 80 venture capital deals. While the number of deals is down from last year, the cash totals are record-breaking in more ways than one. San Diego companies raised more $1.8 billion (as of Q3), with the vast majority – $1.5 billion – going to healthcare companies. The region is on pace to have its best year for VC since 2000. Top deals include SamumedIdeaya Biosciences, Gossamer BioGrailHelix, and dozens more.

SD impact felt 'round the world'
A globally connected region is a more successful region, which is why its crucial that San Diego innovation is seen and felt across the world. This year, we saw this locally-made technology make impacts in key international markets:

  • Cubic Transportation Systems secured contracts to provide its mass-transit ticketing services to Queensland and Sydney, Australia, as well as other international cities
  • Inc. 5000 company Scientist.com announced its expansion into Japan as part of a WTC-led trade mission
  • Forge Therapeutics is set to double its local footprint due in part to an international deal signed during a WTC-led trade mission to the UK
  • General Atomics Aeronautical Systems secured an $81 million contract from the U.S. Air Force Life Cycle Management Center for the UK
  • Carlsbad-based Viasat added AeromexicoFinnair, and EL AL Israel Airline to the list of international airlines it supplies with inflight Wi-Fi
  • San Marcos-based Ocean Reef Group donated its full-face dive masks used to rescue a youth soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand

SD tops the charts
San Diego held its own in many of this year's top rankings. From the region's entrepreneurial culture to its commitment to sustainability and innovation, top-tier publications and organizations took notice of San Diego. Rankings include: 

 

May 19, 2015

Point Loma Nazarene LogoSan Diego Regional EDC’s Annual Dinner will be held on June 4, 2015 at Sea World San Diego. Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) is once again serving as the underwriter for this year’s 50th Anniversary celebration.

We sat down with PLNU president, and EDC board member, Dr. Bob Brower to learn more about PLNU and what’s in store for the future - as they work together with the region’s other universities, to help develop San Diego’s next generation of leaders.

1) Tell us about PLNU.

Founded in Pasadena, California in 1902, PLNU moved to Point Loma in 1973 with 1,000 students. Since coming to San Diego, PLNU has experienced unprecedented institutional growth and development alongside the rapidly growing San Diego region. Today we serve over 3,600 students at our residential campus in Point Loma, in regional centers across Southern California and online.

As a liberal arts institution, PLNU is known for being forward-thinking. At PLNU, academics, faith, and community are all vital. Students benefit from this balanced approach to education and leave PLNU prepared to think, act, and contribute to San Diego and the world.  During our four decades in San Diego we have become an institution known for excellence in academic preparation, wholeness in personal development, and faithfulness to mission.

2) Ensuring San Diego has a steady stream of talented university grads is essential to our regional competitiveness strategy. What are some of the advantages to having your university located in San Diego?

It is the accessible and collaborative character of our region that provides an unparalleled advantage to our students and compels PLNU to remain invested in San Diego.

Dr. Brower on why PLNU thrives in SD

Our students benefit from a region that is invested in developing talent to compete on the world stage - while maintaining a distinctly regional focus. Furthermore, the collaborative relationships that exist among San Diego’s robust and diverse higher education and business communities further affirms our respective institutions’ commitment to educational quality for the benefit of our students and the future of San Diego.

Through faculty leadership and community support, our students and alumni actively contribute to regional dialogue and potential solutions on a variety of issues. PLNU’s Fermanian Business and Economic Institute is actively informing local economic policy in the areas of housing affordability, military economic impact and homelessness. The Center for Justice and Reconciliation at PLNU serves as a regional convener of local law enforcement, nonprofit agencies and policy makers in the continued campaign against human trafficking in San Diego. Our Institute for Politics and Public Service, through the Malin Burnham Center for Civic Engagement, is engaged in the study and practice of civil discourse together with the promotion of the quality of life in a community, through both political and non-political processes. School of Nursing faculty and students are invested in the community of City Heights through PLNU’s Health Promotion Center, providing health education, screening and access to care.

3) What do you anticipate for PLNU in the next 5 years?

Steven Mintz, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education, explained more than two years ago that “higher education is now in a revolution of change.” American colleges and universities are experiencing the most rapid and dramatic changes in history – PLNU is no exception.

Preparing students as effective leaders in a rapidly changing world is not a new calling for PLNU; it is the foundation of our history and work. For generations, PLNU has developed students deep in conviction and life skills who were academically well prepared to meet the challenges and opportunities of their day.

In effort to support this development, PLNU will celebrate the completion of our new science complex this summer. With nearly 40 percent of PLNU’s undergraduate students majoring in one of the STEM-related disciplines, this much-needed facility reflects the quality of our faculty and students, further strengthening the undergraduate research programs which offer students the ability to conduct faculty mentored research. This hallmark of the undergraduate science experience at PLNU produces graduates ready for future doctoral research and equipped to serve in San Diego’s life science and high tech clusters – but it is not unique to the STEM disciplines.  As in the past, we will continue to develop critical and ethical thinkers equipped to meet San Diego’s workforce needs in the STEM, humanities and business fields.

PLNU remains focused on strengthening and expanding our distinctive learning community and enhancing our ability to respond proactively to the dynamic environment of higher education and the San Diego region. We continue to develop strategies and programs for degree access beyond the traditional, residential campus. Whether through new hybrid and online programs in advanced studies or adult degree completion, or baccalaureate partnerships with the region’s community colleges, we strive to serve new populations of students, thus allowing PLNU to further meet the workforce development needs in our region and prepare effective leaders who impact San Diego and the world.

4) What do you anticipate for the San Diego region?

As a region, San Diego is not immune to change. Building upon a unique culture of creativity and collaboration, San Diego has - and will continue to - distinguish itself as a leader in innovation, defense, healthcare, and tourism sectors. This necessitates the training and development of human capital in a variety of ways to better meet San Diego’s current and future workforce needs.

March 24, 2015

CSUSM 25th Anniversary Logo

This year, Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) celebrates its 25th anniversary. As the only comprehensive public university in North County, they are a major source of talent for San Diego’s dynamic companies. Together with the region’s other universities, they help ensure San Diego’s global competitiveness.

We sat down with Dr. Haynes, president of CSUSM, to hear more about how the university has evolved over the past 25 years and what’s in store for the future.

1) Tell us about CSUSM.
For many years, the University was considered North County’s best-kept secret. Not anymore – the secret is out, Cal State San Marcos is THE university to be at. With 13,000 students and growing, we are nationally considered a large university and we are regionally a high-demand, first-choice institution. CSUSM is the place where dedicated and talented faculty facilitate the success of our students—our region’s future leaders and change-makers. It’s the place where area businesses and organizations partner to foster economic growth and create real-world learning experiences for the sake of stronger communities. And it’s a place with a track record of accomplishments. CSUSM has recently received national recognition for best practices as a model employer, a diverse and military-friendly campus, and a community-engaged institution.

2) Ensuring San Diego has a steady stream of talented university grads is essential to our regional competitiveness strategy. What are some of the advantages to having your university located in San Diego?
CSUSM on collaborations with the business community CSUSM is the only public comprehensive university in North San Diego County and we take that role very seriously. Beginning in 2006, we began establishing guaranteed admission agreements with 10 regional school districts, to ensure that students are prepared for college and supported throughout their entire educational journey.We are the only university in our state with a program of this magnitude – creating a college-bound culture for some 200,000 students from across our region.

We have also placed a particular focus on serving educationally at-risk students. We have the highest per-capita numbers, within the CSU system, of student populations often excluded or overlooked by higher education, including Veterans, former foster youth and Native Americans.For the last two years, 52 percent of our graduating classes were the first in their families to obtain a four-year degree.

We are very proud that not only do the vast majority of our students come from our region, but that after graduation some 85 percent of them remain here, equipped with profession-ready skills, creative talents, global awareness and homegrown commitment to help power the regional economy. Our sister public universities in the San Diego region have important roles, each of us filing a unique niche. While CSUSM serves all types of students, we have a strong focus on underrepresented and diverse student populations and those who stay after graduation to give back to their communities and contribute to the regional economy.

3) San Diego is full of dynamic companies, firms and service providers influencing global trends and innovation.   CSUSM is very engaged with many of them. Pick a San Diego-area company that’s at the top of its game.
One dynamic company and CSUSM corporate partner that comes to mind is ViaSat, a communication company located in Carlsbad.

Because it is always looking with an eye toward the future, ViaSat has been an invaluable CSUSM champion, providing support and expertise across campus to develop our students and provide real-world learning opportunities. Just to name a few examples:  They support our on-campus Summer Scholars program, which actively engages undergraduates in hands-on STEM research through a 10-week program; they provide multiple internship opportunities to our undergraduate students; and they sponsor events across campus, such as our recent Super STEM Saturday, a celebration of innovation and science education designed to expose and engage kids of all ages, and their families, to the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Several of ViaSat’s senior leaders volunteer their time and expertise on multiple college advisory boards, and ViaSat’s President and COO, Rick Baldridge even offered leadership advice and insight into the company and his career path by speaking at “In the Executive’s Chair” – a business course where students hear and learn from regional business leaders. The company’s leadership and input was also invaluable as we developed our new Cybersecurity Professional Master’s Degree.

4) What do you anticipate for the CSUSM in the next 5 years? What do you anticipate for the San Diego region?
For 25 years, there has been great synergy between the University and our region. We have literally grown up together, coming of age as we have helped create, and were fed and nurtured by, regional businesses, organizations, schools, neighborhoods and cities.  Moving forward over the next five years and beyond, we will continue to drive forward as a place of community engagement, a place for academic excellence and research, and a place for welcoming and stimulating environments supporting the success of the rich diversity of students we serve.

We know that the San Diego region will continue to have workforce needs in multiple areas, including the life sciences, healthcare and information and communication technologies.  To meet these demands we continue to survey key stakeholders in multiple business and nonprofit sectors to learn about their expectations and create innovative degree and certificate programs to fill those needs.  Among these are new or planned programs such as our master’s degree program in public health and health information management; stackable certificates, potentially leading to master’s degrees, in international business, business intelligence, tourism and hospitality; and professional master’s degrees in cybersecurity and biotechnology.  Efforts like these are part of our commitment to ensure that our students graduate career-ready to serve the needs of our region.

Subscribe to our blog

October 31, 2013

NACIC 2013 panel image

Earlier this week the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Mexico Business Center hosted the North American Competitiveness and Innovation Conference (NACIC). The conference focused on cross border trade and business opportunities between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. 
 
One of the most popular panels focused on developing workforce talent and was moderated by EDC’s CEO Mark Cafferty. The panelists were Bill Bold, sr. vice president of QUALCOMM, Lauren Friese, CEO and founder of TalentEgg from Ontario, Canada and Rafael Sostmann, professor of practice for education innovation and special advisor to the president of Arizona State University.
 
Mark opened the session by explaining that San Diego Regional EDC’s attraction efforts focus on corporate executives and talent, specifically young people just graduating from universities. He said competitiveness for North America is about talent and asked the panel: “How we develop the workforce of the future?”
 
Rafael, an engineer by training, is also the former president of Mexico’s largest private, nonprofit educational system, Tecnológico de Monterrey. He suggested that industry linkages with universities are critical. At ASU, student startups are supported through on campus incubators and on campus industrial parks leased to businesses.
 
Lauren explained that she started her company, an online tool that connects young talent with job opportunities, after she finished graduate school in London. She discovered that linkages between students and industries were much stronger in the United Kingdom than in Canada. Inspired by the tools she saw working in the UK, she replicated the networking platform through TalentEgg. She suggested that too often employers only want to hire young people with “the right” degree, when there are plenty of people who can be trained for just about any career. 
 
Bill spoke about the investments and partnerships QUALCOMM has with students and universities to grow its future workforce. As a world leader in mobile communications and computing technologies, QUALCOMM licenses its innovations to smart phone manufacturers. QUALCOMM is also the world’s largest producer or semiconductors. Of its 31,000 employees worldwide, 81 percent have a degree in a STEM field. The mobile giant is dependent on international markets; While 92 percent of the company's revenues are earned outside the U.S 67 percent of its workforce is in San Diego because they care about hiring locally. Bill said Qualcomm is intense about recruiting – pursuing only the top one percent of graduates from the top five percent of universities – likening it to college football recruiting. Last year Qualcomm had 1,100 paid interns, of whom 300 got offered full time jobs, and 250 accepted. The company recently invested $20 million in a new engineering center at Berkeley to build a cutting-edge program blending art, architecture and engineering. 
 
Responding to a question from the audience about the best ways to prepare young people for careers, the panel pointed to the German apprentice-style model. Germany’s vocational education system pairs classroom studies with on-the-job learning. Students apply for a specific apprenticeship at a company. For two to three years they spend a few days a week at a work site, getting paid a stipend from their employer, and one to two days a week in a classroom learning theory. They graduate with a certificate that signifies they know all the basics to begin working professionally in their fields. Not only are the certificates standardized throughout Germany,  but they are also well-respected and often a necessary requirement for jobs. Companies like Siemens have brought the work experience aspects of the program to the U.S. offering students here similar opportunities. 
 
If San Diego wants to maintain its share of talent, it would be in our best interest to explore similar programs.