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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Economic Drivers

June 5, 2019

Today, San Diego Regional EDC and its employer-led Inclusive Growth Steering Committee officially endorsed a regional goal to create 50,000 new quality jobs within small businesses by 2030. Driven by EDC’s latest study release, Equipping Small Businesses to Compete, the regional goal and accompanying set of employer recommendations aim to help small businesses in San Diego to compete.

 “If you care about the future of San Diego—economic competitiveness and mobility—then you need to pay attention to small businesses,” said Janice Brown, board chair, San Diego Regional EDC. “From large employers to elected officials, it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that small businesses have the tools to succeed.”

In its new study, EDC found that while small businesses—those with fewer than 100 employees—employ the majority of San Diego’s workforce, only 26 percent of jobs in small businesses are quality jobs—those that pay enough for economic security (paying wages of at least $40,529 per year or $19.49 per hour).

Additional key findings include:

  • Due to financial challenges, small businesses pay 14 percent lower average wages.
  • Only 36 percent of all businesses are minority-owned, and about the same proportion are woman-owned.
  • Opportunity industries, such as construction and transportation, offer a greater number of quality jobs than many innovation industries, including precision health and cybersecurity. Additionally, many opportunity industry jobs can be accessed without a bachelor’s degree.

Citing these key findings, it’s important for the region to invest in diverse founders, support existing small businesses, and focus on job growth within opportunity industries. San Diego will be able to drive a greater economic impact and broaden access to quality jobs, especially for people residing in communities with lower rates of educational attainment.

“When small businesses succeed, it leads to more quality jobs, better local economies, and healthier communities,” said Jane Finley, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente. “We support this goal and invest in programs like Inner City Capital Connections because Kaiser Permanente believes that investing in small businesses and creating more quality jobs leads to improved health and well-being for every San Diego resident.”

EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee is led by large employers, who understand the crucial role that small businesses play in the regional economy.

In order to meet its goal by 2030, the Inclusive Growth Steering Committee is committed to collaborating with other regional employers through the following actions:

  1. Transparency – connect with and better understand existing local service providers to strengthen their capacity and resiliency.
  2. Engagement – commit to mentoring and/or building strategic partnerships with small businesses in high-growth, high-wage industries, particularly from underrepresented groups (women, minority, veteran, disabled, low-moderate income).
  3. Investment – invest directly in small business support programs, such as supplier diversification and growth acceleration initiatives.

For more information about these actionable recommendations or a complete list of employers committed to this effort, visit smallbiz.inclusivesd.org.

EDC’S INCLUSIVE GROWTH INITIATIVE

In 2018, 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 with other regions. 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.

Additionally, San Diego recently won a $3 million grant from JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities program to further propel the inclusive growth initiative and its goals.

For more information about the Inclusive Growth initiative, visit inclusiveSD.org. Join the conversation at #inclusiveSD.

**Read the full press release.**

 

May 23, 2019

Planck Aerosystems, a technology company that develops specialized drones, was awarded a $25,000 voucher as part of its participation in the inaugural Defense Innovation Voucher Program (DIV) Grand Prize Pitch. Launched in 2018 to help small and mid-sized defense companies in San Diego scale, the DIV Program worked directly with 15 local defense companies throughout 2018-2019, providing strategic boot camps and business consulting services via an initial $15,000 grant to aid in strengthening and expanding company operations.

“Our local defense economy supports one in five jobs, and small businesses represent 98 percent of total companies in our region,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “This is why EDC is committed to building programs that promote defense innovation and build resiliency in small and mid-sized businesses.”

Five DIV companies were chosen to participate in the DIV Grand Prize Pitch, based on their accomplishments, goals and overall involvement in the program. The finalists were EpiSci (EpiSys Science Inc.), Fuse Integration, Inc., GET Engineering Corporation, Planck Aerosystems and Trabus Technologies.

A live voting audience and a panel of judges selected Planck Aerosystems as the winner.

Planck is thrilled to win the Grand Prize Pitch event and be a part of DIV’s first year,” said Dave Twining, COO of Planck Aerosystems. “Thanks to San Diego Regional EDC, Booz Allen Hamilton and Propel San Diego for your guidance and support through the DIV program. We’ll be using the funds to scale our marketing efforts, which we hope will generate additional sales and investment in San Diego.”

In its inaugural year, the DIV program provided two primary benefits to chosen participants. Companies selected a pre-approved contractor to assist with services including marketing, certifications needed for government work, strategic planning, accounting compliance or lean supply chain & additive manufacturing support. Additionally, participants enrolled in a six-month-long boot camp, which provided best practices and strategies on topics ranging from contract procurement to fundraising to marketing and branding.

“We are proud to support the continued innovation that is a hallmark of the San Diego defense community,” said Jennie Brooks, senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton. “At Booz Allen, we empower people to change the world, and DIV’s mission helps empower and strengthen the small and mid-size businesses that are bringing an incredible range of solutions to all branches of the military.”

Managed by San Diego Regional EDC, DIV is primarily funded through Propel San Diego, a grant award provided to the City of San Diego from the Department of Defense’s Office of Economic Adjustment. Additional programmatic funding for DIV is provided by Booz Allen Hamilton, the presenting sponsor.

The DIV Grand Prize Pitch event was hosted at San Diego Central Library on Thursday, May 23, with a keynote presentation by Marisa Silva, partner at Booz Allen Hamilton.

 

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May 17, 2019

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases employment data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego's Economic Pulse covers April 2019. Check out EDC's research bureau for more data and stats about San Diego's economy. 

This report is sponsored by Manpower San Diego.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.0 percent in April, down from a revised 3.6 percent in March 2019, and below the year-ago estimate of 3.1 percent
  • The region’s unemployment rate remains lower than both the state and national unemployment rates of 3.9 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively
  • Between March 2019 and April 2019, total nonfarm employment increased from 1,492,600 to 1,500,400, adding 7,800 jobs
  • Between April 2018 and April 2019, total nonfarm employment increased from 1,480,000 to 1,500,400, adding 20,400 jobs
  • Between April 2018 and April 2019, education and health services led the year-over gain, adding 7,600 jobs

May 7, 2019

Small businesses + defense economy = our future.
It's simple math.

  • Small businesses represent 98% of San Diego companies
  • The defense economy supports 1 in 5 jobs in San Diego

That's why EDC is focused on helping small and mid-sized defense companies grow.

What is DIV?
In 2018, we launched the Defense Innovation Voucher Program(DIV). Thanks to funding provided from the Department of Defense, EDC worked directly with 15 companies to provide consulting services (think: marketing assistance, certifications, accounting compliance, and more) and a six-month long crash course designed to help these participants win high-value government contracts and find other revenue streams.

What's next?
Now, we need your help taking DIV to the next level. On May 23, we're inviting five companies to share their story and pitch for the grand prize - an additional $25k in funding. And YOU - the audience - gets to help pick the winner. 

Event details: 
Grand Prize Pitch
Thursday, May 23 | 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
San Diego Central Library – Shiley Special Events Suite

Who should attend?

  • Defense industry employees that want a better grasp of market trends
  • Startups interested in connecting with other high-growth companies
  • Services providers looking for their next client
  • Anyone that cares about the future of San Diego

The participating companies:

  • EpiSci (EpiSys Science, Inc.) was founded in 2012, with the vision that future disruptive innovations would be derived from the paradigm of systems science. Through its deep technical expertise in multiple emerging areas, EpiSci develops the most innovative systems solutions for defense, intelligence, and commercial applications.
  • Fuse Integration, Inc. was founded with a noble cause of bringing the benefits of commercial human-centered design processes to first responder and military systems engineering. Fuse is working hard to lead the charge with an agile approach to development and a rapid prototyping ethos for the way they build systems.
  • GET Engineering Corporation is a leading-edge, high technology engineering firm providing tactical data solutions to government and industrial clients. GET is a small business dedicated to providing the U.S. Department of Defense and its coalition forces the most cost effective tactical communication products and solutions available.
  • Planck Aerosystems combines artificial intelligence, advanced controls, computer vision, and rigorous testing to enable drones to operate from moving platforms and execute fully autonomous missions. Its customers include government agencies and commercial maritime operators.
  • Trabus Technologies is a high-tech IT and engineering corporation that continues to expand its impressive portfolio of capabilities, programs, and services. Trabus Technologies thrives on practical solutions to the toughest challenges in cyber, wireless, and unmanned systems.

This project is funded with Community Economic Adjustment Assistance for Reductions in Defense Industry Employment funds provided by the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment to the City of San Diego.

Join us on May 23 for the Defense Innovation Voucher Program Pitch event, beginning at 9 a.m. at San Diego Central Library – Shiley Special.

April 19, 2019

Each month the California Employment Development Department (EDD) releases employment data for the prior month. This edition of San Diego's Economic Pulse covers March 2019. Check out EDC's research bureau for more data and stats about San Diego's economy. 

This report is sponsored by Manpower San Diego.

Highlights include:

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in March, up from a revised 3.5 percent in February, and up from the year-ago estimate of 3.4 percent.
  • San Diego’s unemployment rate remains below both the state rate of 4.6 percent and the national rate of 3.9 percent.
  • The labor force contracted by 8,000 workers over the month, but is currently up 15,100 compared to a year ago.
  • Total nonfarm employment is up 4,300 in March and up 20,100 over the year.
  • The largest employment gain over the year occurred in educational and healthcare services, which added 7,700 jobs.

 

April 18, 2019

Today, JPMorgan Chase has announced that San Diego is one of five cities to win a $3 million grant from the AdvancingCities Challenge. Launched in 2018, the inaugural competition is a $500 million, five-year initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity in cities across the United States. This grant will be used to fund a new collaborative program—Advancing San Diego.

“The Advancing San Diego program is going to be a game-changer and will provide resources to underserved communities that need it most,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “It’s going to lift up our small businesses, prepare San Diegans for skilled jobs and make a real difference in people’s lives. It’s also going to level the playing field so that no matter where you grow up in San Diego, you have access to opportunity. I want to thank JPMorgan Chase for choosing San Diego, as well as the San Diego Regional EDC and all of the participating agencies who supported our proposal.”        

JPMorgan Chase received more than 250 applications from 143 communities. Among the four other winning cities in the U.S.—Chicago, IL; Louisville, KY; Miami, FL; and Syracuse, NY—San Diego was selected because its proposal successfully outlined local coalitions of elected, business, and nonprofit leaders who will work together to address major social and economic challenges such as employment barriers, financial insecurity, and neighborhood disinvestment.

Through Advancing San Diego, EDC and its partners will collectively work to double the production of skilled workers by 2030 and enhance relationships between local employers and the region’s education systems. The concept incorporates a demand-driven, employer-led strategy to both connect underrepresented residents with high-demand jobs, while also providing small business access to diverse talent applicants. More specifically, these efforts focus on elevating San Diego’s Hispanic population, who is projected to be San Diego’s largest demographic group by 2030. Currently, 84 percent of Hispanics do not hold a bachelor’s degree and are drastically underrepresented in the region’s innovation economy.

With unemployment rates at multiyear lows, companies need to compete for talent like never before. The good news is that our future talent poolthe engineers, scientists, data analystswill be homegrown,” said Janice Brown, Board Chair, San Diego Regional EDC. “EDC has embarked on Advancing San Diegoa collaborative effort between business, nonprofit, philanthropy and academia, aimed to increase degree and credential completions required for high demand jobs and support the small businesses that drive our economy forward.”

The San Diego of tomorrow is going to look very different than the San Diego of today. With the AdvancingCities Challenge, EDC is able to support its existing inclusive growth efforts, which aim to build a strong local talent pipeline, equip small businesses to compete, and address the affordability crisis. Together with San Diego Workforce Partnership, San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA), United Way of San Diego County, and City of San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC is leading a region wide approach to sustain growth throughout San Diego County.

To learn more about AdvancingCities and the other AdvancingCities Challenge Winners, visit jpmorganchase.com/advancingcities.

Join us in Advancing San Diego. For more information about EDC’s inclusive growth efforts, visit sandiegobusiness.org/inclusivegrowth

*Read the full press release.*

April 10, 2019

From surveying land after natural disasters to delivering packages, drones offer a world of possibilities to advance society and unlock economic potential. However, in order for this type of drone work to become a reality, they must be able to operate beyond a visual line of site(BVLOS). At the moment, no one is allowed to fly BVLOS in U.S. airspace without obtaining a special, hard-to-get waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Chula Vista Police Department is the exception. As part of the FAA's Integration Pilot Program (IPP), San Diego is one of only 10 agencies nationwide selected to partner with private sector entities to accelerate safe UAS integration and innovation both regionally and nationally. In October, the Chula Vista Police Department announced a new test program to deploy drones as first responders. Now, thanks to the support of CAPE, Airmap and, Skyfire, the Chula Vista PD has become the first public safety agency within the 10 IPP destinations to receive a beyond visual line of sight waiver. This waiver will help Chula Vista continue to expand its Drone as First Responders program across the city providing faster responses and better services to the community.

San Diego's IPP is comprised of the city of Chula Vista, the city of San Diego, and San Diego Regional EDC. Recognizing the potential of drone technology for the regional economy, EDC plays a key role in driving the IPP work and supporting the cities of Chula Vista and San Diego with successful integration.

 

April 10, 2019

With the largest concentration of military assets in the world and the largest federal military workforce in the country, San Diego has the third highest population of veterans in the United States.

Each year, more than 20,000 Sailors and Marines stationed in San Diego leave military service. A third of these individuals, who are  often highly trained, team oriented, and hardworking,  are expected to stay in the San Diego community when transitioning to civilian life. However, adjusting to life outside the military structure and regime comes with its own challenges. According to the National Veterans Transition Service Inc. (NVTSI), 81 percent of transitioning military personnel do not feel fully prepared for the process of entering the job market.

With such high volume of transitioning military personnel comes countless local support services for veterans. Navigating the programs and resources can be a daunting process that leaves many feeling discouraged. Now in its fourth year, the Military Transition Conference, hosted at USD in partnership with EDC, was created to provide a holistic, fresh perspective on the transition experience through the lens of education. Content focused on translating military experience into skills and knowledge applicable to a wide variety of industries, and addressed key questions military personnel and veterans have around educational benefits, job hunting, and more.

More than 40 veterans and their dependents received personalized coaching on how to continue meaningful work in San Diego. The day kicked off with a keynote address by Justin McAnear, former exec of J&J, Apple, and Tesla, Naval Academy grad, navy aviator, with an MBA from USD. Following the keynote were a series of breakout sessions where participants could get their resumes reviewed, speak one-on-one with industry representatives, or get coached on job search strategies. Finally, a panel of accomplished veterans from Petco, Intuit, Cubic, and Teradata wrapped up the conference by sharing their honest transition stories and how they ended up in successful careers across tech, law, and retail.

Supporting our veterans in San Diego means expanding access to education, training, and opportunities that catalyze a smooth transition. Representing nearly 10 percent of San Diego’s population, veterans are an important pool of talent helping drive San Diego’s economic success. EDC will continue to support the veteran ecosystem by elevating local opportunities for transitioning military. 

April 9, 2019

In February 2019, EDC supported The San Diego Foundation’s annual convening to recognize the accomplishments of its 2018 Science and Technology program grantees. The San Diego Foundation supports efforts that encourage more students to pursue STEM careers and academic research, with the goal of strengthening our regional economy. Grantees have a demonstrated track record of engaging students in STEM fields, particularly among underrepresented populations. Eduardo Velasquez, research manager at EDC, participated in a panel alongside City of San Diego’s Deputy Operating Officer Erik Caldwell and Qualcomm’s Inclusion and Diversity Manager Carrie Sawyer for a discussion on the importance of building a strong local talent pipeline. 

The San Diego region is recognized as a tech hub, with some of the most innovative companies and world-class research universities. Yet, not all students have the opportunity to explore and pursue STEM-related fields that lead to high-paying jobs in the innovation economy. San Diego’s Hispanic population is statistically the least prepared to enter or complete a degree or credential, yet represents nearly half of the future local talent pool.

This demographic gap in educational attainment, combined with rapidly changing skill requirements and a nationwide battle for talent, is likely to lead to an increased shortage of skilled workers in our region. As a member of EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee, The San Diego Foundation’s convening directly supports the regional goal of producing 20,000 new skilled workers per year by 2030.

Learn more at talent.inclusivesd.org

April 9, 2019

From inclusive growth to San Diego: Life. Changing., many of EDC's most high profile initiatives have a similar origin story: they started with bringing the right people around the table. Looking to spur similar programs and initiatives on the 78 Corridor, Innovate78, a program funded by the five cities along the 78 Corridor (Carlsbad, Escondido, Oceanside, San Marcos, and Vista) and managed by EDC, hosted its first Innovator Dinner in March 2019.

 The Innovators Dinner Series is designed to bring together a diversity of people, engaging in meaningful conversations about how we can all grow and build a more prosperous North County. Bringing together 25 individuals from every corner of the 78 corridor, the wide range of industries represented—from technology to manufacturing to brewing to life sciences—reflected the strength of the corridor.

As the event got underway, the conversation gravitated toward natural themes of mentorship, access to capital, the viability of the local talent pool and more. The idea around remote work came up as well. With North County's strong quality of life and abundance of coworking spaces, many have noted a rise in remote employees based in North County. However, one entrepreneur at the Innovators Dinner bucked that trend. Although his company is located on the 78 corridor, many of his employees are remote, and live as far away as the Midwest.