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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


September 2019

September 12, 2019

 

In an effort to provide residents with increased access to high-demand jobs, San Diego Regional EDC launched Advancing San Diego, a $3 million local investment initiative underwritten by JPMorgan Chase that will align industries with economic development, workforce development and education systems.

“Talented and skilled workers are integral for a strong economy,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO at San Diego Regional EDC. “With and through our program partners and stakeholders, we are establishing a first-of-its-kind, employer-led initiative that will measure and aggregate workforce needs while also indentifying solutions that align and strengthen our local education systems. We need to ensure that the benefits of our region’s growing innovation economy are reaching all San Diegans.

Advancing San Diego will establish nine working groups that are designed to give employers a collective voice about talent needs in priority industries, ranging from software and technology to marketing, healthcare and more. In the first report, 17 participating employers expressed a projected need for more than 7,200 additional software-related positions over the next three years.

The Advancing San Diego initiative
In April 2019, San Diego was one of five cities to receive a $3 million investment as part of JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities Challenge, an initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity across the U.S. Advancing San Diego is a collaborative program by San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the City of San Diego, San Diego Workforce Partnership, United Way of San Diego, and San Diego & Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA).

As San Diego’s economy continues to expand, employers are seeing an increased demand for skilled workers. While San Diego strives to attract and retain talent, it must also look inward to build a workforce that meets demands for current and future jobs. EDC and its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee of 40 employers have endorsed a regional goal to double the number of skilled workers produced in San Diego County to 20,000 per year by 2030. This requires strong, effective learning programs offered by community colleges and other education institutions.

The goals of Advancing San Diego are to:

  • Engage employers in a structured process to collectively communicate talent needs
  • Identify education programs that are aligned with industry needs
  • Increase the pool of diverse, skilled talent in San Diego
  • Expand access to talent pipelines for small companies

“By 2020, nearly two of every three jobs in the U.S. will require a credential or degree, and currently, 90 percent of our students remain in San Diego after graduation,” said Dr. Sunita "Sunny" Cooke, superintendent & president at MiraCosta Community College District. “Community colleges play a critical role in creating a diverse talent pipeline for the region. The Advancing San Diego program willhelp connect the work occurring within local community colleges to ensure we offer innovative curricula that support employer needs and include opportunities for students to apply their learning in workplace settings so graduates are ready for employment.”

Education systems that are aligned with results set forth by the working groups will be listed as ‘preferred providers’ by Advancing San Diego. This designation rewards higher education students with priority access to work-based learning and engagement opportunities via networking events, career and internship fairs, and local company tours. To learn more and become a ‘preferred provider,’ educators are encouraged to apply at advancingSD.org.

Additionally, businesses with fewer than 100 employees make up 98 percent of San Diego firms, and on average, are challenged to compete with larger employer wages. As part of EDC’s inclusive growth strategy, more than 35 employers (and counting) have endorsed a regional goal to create 50,000 new quality jobs within small businesses by 2030. To further engage small businesses, nearly half of the funding for Advancing San Diego will be used to subsidize internships within small businesses and offer additional services that support student success in the workplace.

“Start-ups like LunaPBC are rich with mission, purpose, and the opportunity for personal and professional growth,” said Dawn Barry, co-founder & president at LunaPBC. “Unlike large employers, startups are often lower on salary, but offer exciting equity and the opportunity to experience first-hand what it’s like to build an enterprise. When large employers work together with smaller employers, and pursue partnerships with incubators and accelerators, higher education and regional development teams, we strengthen our collective visiblity as a region for career development.”

Report: Demand for Software Talent and Criteria for ‘Preferred Providers’
Working group members were asked to provide hiring projections along with skills and competency requirements for critical jobs, in order to identify programs that align with industry needs. Collectively, these results were compiled into the Demand for Software Talent Report and will create a criteria for ‘preferred providers’ of software – a designation by employers that demonstrates an education program is providing adequate training for software engineers.

Companies that contributed to this report represent industries with the highest proportion of software talent in San Diego, including tech, life sciences, healthcare and defense. Based on the participation of 17 employers who collectively employ approximately 53,000 people and share a need for software talent, this report indicates the working group is projected to hire more than 7,220 additional software professionals over three years.

Additional key findings include:

  • Software engineers accounted for the highest future hiring demand among all software occupations in working group companies, making up 53 percent of total projections
  • Entry-level software engineers represent the highest hiring need of any position at any level
  • Collectively, the working group projects they will hire more than 1,700 entry-level software engineers over the next three years
  • Approximately 44 percent of working group employers require a bachelors degree for entry-level software engineers

Through the Advancing San Diego collaboration, San Diego strives to cultivate a more inclusive economy, as this initiative will look inward to address regional talent shortages and strengthen the relationship between employers and education systems.

For more information about the new Advancing San Diego initiative, future working groups, or to be listed as a ‘preferred provider, visit advancingSD.org. Follow along and join the conversation at #advancingSD.

View the full interactive web report—“San Diego’s Demand for Software Talent Report”—here.

**Read the full press release here.**

September 5, 2019

San Diego has the largest concentration of military assets in the world. The local defense industry brings in more than $26 million in direct spending and is responsible for approximately 22 percent of all jobs in the region.

With such a significant economic impact and contribution to the region by both military and defense, San Diego was recently selected by the Department of the Navy and NavalX, as one of five U.S. locations to soon house a new innovation incubator model – ‘Tech Bridges.’

During planning stages, the NavalX team spent several months looking at regions across the U.S. that had both the necessary internal ecosystem to support greater innovation among the Department of the Navy as well as strong outside partners – think: academia, state/regional governments and local privately held companies – residing in each location. San Diego also has the foundation in place to connect emerging startups with the Department of the Navy. The additional cities selected to carry out their own form of this innovation platform include Newport, RI; Keyport, WA; Orlando, FL; and Crane, IN.

As the SoCal Tech Bridge gets fully operational and a location is soon selected, the platform will run on a franchise model, allowing San Diego’s diverse innovation ecosystems to fully shine. The goal is focus on connecting ‘non-traditional partners’ to enhance collaboration, in order to meet the growing needs of our region’s Navy and Marine Corps. Defense contractors and growing startups will soon have easier access to resources from the Department of the Navy, made possible by the Tech Bridge.

“Earlier this year, the Naval Expeditions (NavalX) office stood up to facilitate rapid adoption of proven agility-enhancing methods across the Department. And today, I’m proud to announce that NavalX in collaboration with our workforce has furthered this effort by creating the first five regional “Tech Bridges” across the country to better connect the DON and the private sector. These five spaces will lower barriers that traditionally hamper external collaboration.”
Mr. James Geurts, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition

Based on research conducted by EDC’s research team in 2018, more than 5,600 defense contractors collectively employ more than 62,000 people in San Diego. Plus, defense contractor jobs have grown 6.3 percent over the last three years, and are expected to grow another 9.3 percent over the next year. The future is bright for defense-related jobs in San Diego, and the addition of SoCal Tech Bridge places it on a path to continue fueling innovation and new technologies.

 

September 4, 2019

This op-ed was originally published in Times of San Diego, authored by Kim Becker, Jane Finley, and Chris Nayve.

More big business executives are shifting their corporate policies to include the needs of every stakeholder—not just the company’s shareholders, but all of its stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, customers, and community. The importance of this issue was magnified by a recent statement from the Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs from America’s leading companies. In today’s world of widening economic disparities and rapid digital automation, it is critical now, more than ever, for large companies to go beyond checking the boxes of corporate social responsibility and actually create solutions for inclusive economic growth, which means prioritizing the success of small businesses in their community.

In San Diego, where small businesses make up 98 percent of firms, large corporations can play a crucial role in growing the economy—through supporting small businesses, especially those in “opportunity industries.” While the region’s highest-paying jobs come from innovation industries, a new study by San Diego Regional EDC indicates that opportunity industries offer alternative pathways to prosperity. These industries—such as construction, manufacturing, and logistics—provide good pay, benefits, and sustainable career paths, through quality jobs that do not require a bachelor’s degree. The problem is that workers cannot get jobs where none exist.

To address these challenges, EDC launched an employer-led Inclusive Growth Steering Committee to drive an agenda that maximizes economic growth through inclusion. Guided by the findings of EDC’s latest study, the steering committee recently endorsed a regional goal to “create 50,000 new quality jobs in small businesses by 2030.” This includes supporting small firms in opportunity industries, which have a higher concentration of quality jobs accessible without a bachelor’s degree.

The steering committee also developed a set of actionable recommendations for how large employers can support local small businesses, through their procurement decisions and direct investment in small business support programs. These actions help small businesses increase revenue and, as a result, create more quality jobs.

According to a recent survey, the most difficult challenge faced by small businesses is attracting new customers. Though many large firms in San Diego procure goods and services from opportunity industries, local small businesses struggle to compete for their attention and often lose out to larger suppliers from outside the region. By establishing a more concerted effort to procure from local businesses, San Diego’s large companies could fuel local job growth without sacrificing quality of work.

No one understands the value of strong local supply chains better than San Diego’s anchor institutions. As locally-serving organizations deeply rooted in their community, anchor institutions have a vested interest in helping small businesses succeed. The University of San Diego understands the transformative impact an anchor institution can make by simply expanding partnerships with local service providers. The university’s director of procurement has set spending targets specifically for small and minority-owned businesses and hosts quarterly supplier diversity workshops. The university takes responsibility for strengthening the local small business ecosystem, so that more students can thrive in San Diego after graduation.

As an advocate for community health, Kaiser Permanente recognizes that economic opportunity and stability are essential to maintaining healthy residents. Kaiser Permanente recently funded a tuition-free training program for small business owners to help build capacity for sustainable growth. During its first year in San Diego, the program helped 55 small businesses grow revenues and create new jobs.

Through its Small Business Development program, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority ensures that small and disadvantaged businesses have the opportunity to work with the airport. Over the past decade, the airport authority has contributed $250 million to the regional economy in construction contracts with small businesses alone, and has benefited by increasing competition in the procurement process and gaining access to external talent. By demonstrating the value from these partnerships, anchor institutions, like the airport authority, can provide examples of effective procurement strategies that other large companies can adopt to benefit themselves and the region as a whole.

Like CEOs of the Business Roundtable, our region’s anchor institutions and large employers have an opportunity to play a central role in creating a better, more inclusive San Diego. By directly investing in local small businesses through procurement and support programs, large firms can help sustain these smaller companies and maximize regional economic growth, while still maintaining their bottom line. It’s time that San Diego’s largest entities work together to restore our corporate ecosystem and, ultimately, provide more San Diegans with access to quality jobs.

Kim Becker is the president and CEO of San Diego County Regional Airport Authority. Jane Finley is the senior vice president and area manager for all Kaiser Permanente facilities in San Diego. Chris Nayve is the associate vice president for community engagement at the Karen & Tom Mulvaney Center of the University of San Diego. These organizations are all members of San Diego Regional EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee.