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The Big Picture San Diego Blog


Talent and Universities

March 14, 2019

In a world where Internet-enabled devices have become embedded in everyday objects, the need for cybersecurity has never been more vital. San Diego's roots in wireless technology, combined with its top tier engineering talent and military presence, make it a fertile ground for cybersecurity talent. And that's exactly what EDC's most recent economic impact study found.

cybersecurity economic impact numbers in SD

Commissioned by San Diego Cyber Center of Excellence, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the region’s cyber economy, the study found that San Diego had more than 150 core cyber firms that employ 4,920 people in the region. The Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) provides an additional3,530 jobs to San Diego’s cybersecurity industry. In total, there are 8,450 direct jobs – up 11 percent from 2016 (faster than the regional employment growth of 3 percent). 

"Too often San Diego worries about falling behind Silicon Valley or the East Coast, but this study conveys we have the talent and workforce to punch above our weight," said Rear Admiral (Ret), Ken Slaght, CCOE chair and president of Cyber Center of Excellence. "San Diego's premier educational institutions, existing industry base and robust federal assets, seed not only the cyber workforce but the innovation needed to protect our nation."

The study was launched at Qualcomm on March 13, and featured a keynote from Dr. John Zangardi, CIO at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, as well as an in-depth look at the interactive research tool, presented by EDC's Research Director Kirby Brady.

View the interactive tool here.

January 29, 2019

In 2018, San Diego saw nearly 84,000 unique job postings for STEM-related occupations (EMSI, Job Posting Analytics). While tech heavyweights such as Illumina, Viasat, and now Apple all cite talent as a major reason for their San Diego presence, the region must continuously strive to attract, retain, and develop skilled workers to remain competitive.

As part of San Diego: Life. Changing. – EDC’s talent attraction and retention program – we have launched the ‘Just Say No to Winter’ campaign. The campaign targets three markets – Boston, Chicago, and New York – in the throes of winter via video, subway (Boston T), and social media advertising.

In an attempt to bring top-tier STEM talent to San Diego to fill open positions at the region’s many tech and life sciences companies, the campaign juxtaposes San Diego’s (nearly) year-round sunshine with the harsh winters in markets across the country, while also communicating the focus on the mission-driven companies that call this place home. More at justsaynotowinter.com.

Just Say No To Winter. from San Diego on Vimeo.

EDC is running the campaign in coordination with its Inclusive Growth initiative, which seeks to find employer-driven strategies to build a stronger local talent pipeline, help small businesses compete and address affordability issues in San Diego.

Ad on Boston T (red and orange lines)

January 22, 2019

Small businesses are the backbone of the San Diego economy, representing 98 percent of local businesses and employing roughly 59 percent of the workforce. According to a new study by San Diego Regional EDC, in partnership with the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center, small businesses are one of the primary drivers of local economic growth, with 41 percent of the region’s small businesses intending to hire more employees in the next two years.

Based on a survey of more than 500 respondents, “An In-Depth Look at San Diego's Small Business Ecosystem” uncovers insight about the region’s small businesses – those with fewer than 100 employees – and quantifies the number of firms, workforce, demographic and industry breakdown, business outlook and more across San Diego and Imperial counties.

The study found 36 percent of small businesses are women-owned, 20 percent are minority-owned, and 10 percent are veteran-owned.

 “This study helps reinforce what we already know: San Diego’s small businesses are the cornerstone of our economy, employing nearly 700,000 San Diegans and driving innovation across the world,” said Kirby Brady, Research Director, San Diego Regional EDC.

Encompassing industries from healthcare, finance, food and beverage, education, construction and real estate, San Diego’s small businesses are driving the local economy – representing two-thirds of current regional employment.

KEY FINDINGS

  • Small businesses employ 697,000 workers, making up 59 percent of San Diego’s total workforce. 
  • 27 percent of the region’s workers are in businesses with fewer than 20 employees; while more than 64 percent of firms employ fewer than five people.
  • 69 percent of small businesses reported financial growth in the past two years.
  • 59 percent of the region’s small businesses have local customers.
  • Of firms surveyed, roughly 43 percent expect to grow in terms of workforce and 81 percent expect to grow in terms of financial performance.
  • The majority of companies who have been operating less than two years generate less than $100K in annual revenue, while more than half of established companies (10 years or longer) generate more than $1M in revenue annually.
  • Small business growth challenges:
    • Eighty-five percent of locally-serving small business said ‘sales and new business’ is a challenge, including 25 percent who said it is the most significant challenge.
    • Fourteen percent of small businesses said that ‘financial stability and cash flow’ is the most significant challenge.

“In order to better serve the needs of our small businesses and entrepreneurs, it’s important that we understand their perceptions and experiences," said Danny Fitzgerald, Associate Regional Director of San Diego & Imperial SBDC Network. “This study will enable us to create new and enhance existing programming to support small business growth across the region.”

Furthermore, with a commitment to lifting up San Diego small businesses, EDC has launched an Inclusive Growth initiative in order to develop measurable targets and actionable recommendations to promote small business growth, talent development and affordability.

The SBDC has become our trusted 'go to' resource for just about everything. They have connected us to the vast networks in San Diego that has brought us new customers and important industry connections. We wouldn't be where we are today without them,” said Nic Halverson, Founder/CEO of Waitz App.

The report was produced by San Diego Regional EDC, with support from the San Diego & Imperial Small Business Development Center. Read the full study here.

For more research from San Diego Regional EDC, visit sandiegobusiness.org/research-center.

 

January 7, 2019
This op-ed was originally published in the San Diego Union-Tribune, authored by Nikia Clarke, Cynthia Curiel, and Patricia Prado-Olmos.
 
As high school seniors throughout the country complete final exams and eagerly await college acceptance letters, only 37 percent of Hispanic and black students in San Diego will be college-ready when they finish high school. This lack of preparedness significantly affects San Diego’s competitiveness since these groups already represent a large (and growing) part of our population. And while talent attraction efforts are an important facet of economic growth, the nationwide competition for skilled talent combined with San Diego’s high cost of living make relocating talent from elsewhere increasingly difficult. Now more than ever, San Diego employers must focus on building a strong local talent pipeline, or we — as a region — simply won’t survive.
 
The success of San Diego’s innovation economy is inextricably linked to the region’s talent pool. In fact, projections indicate that San Diego will need to double its annual production of high-skilled college graduates by the year 2030 in order to meet the demands of the future economy, ultimately developing interventions that impact today’s seventh-graders. Though this can only happen through extensive systemic changes, we can rest assured knowing that we don’t have to look far to access a viable workforce. San Diego doesn’t have a talent supply problem; it has a talent development problem.
 
San Diego is home to a large pool of untapped talent that is vastly underrepresented in the innovation economy. Hispanics represent San Diego’s fastest growing population and will become the region’s largest demographic group by 2030; yet 85 percent of Hispanics in the region do not hold a bachelor’s degree. This presents an opportunity for employers to develop this local talent and create sustainable inflows of new employees directly from their surrounding communities.
 
To address these regional challenges, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. (EDC) launched an Inclusive Growth initiative this year, and convened an employer-led steering committee to help develop and drive an agenda that maximizes economic growth through inclusion. Informing this work, EDC recently released an interactive web study — talent.inclusivesd.org — indicating that talent shortages pose a significant threat to San Diego’s economic sustainability.
 
The 40-company steering committee is encouraging other employers to focus efforts on talent development programs that directly equip the local workforce with the skills they seek in employees. The committee has endorsed “20,000 skilled workers by 2030” as a regional goal, along with a set of employer-focused recommendations around transparency, engagement and investment. These recommendations serve to build a platform in which people can track the region’s progress, as well as provide employers with programs they can adopt and implement at their own organizations.
 
As a key leader in EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee, defense technology company Northrop Grumman plans to pilot a talent pipeline program in 2019 that will link STEM education opportunities from K-12 through college. The company is creating a new pathway for high school students to obtain STEM-focused degrees through close collaboration with local community colleges and practical on-the-job experience. By helping reduce the barriers many face when considering college, Northrop seeks to empower students and their families to pursue both educational and career opportunities, while creating a sustainable source of high-skilled talent.
 
Cal State San Marcos, another steering committee leader, has collaborated with Northrop Grumman to ensure that local education systems and curriculum are equipping students with the skills required to fill these higher-paying jobs. Cal State San Marcos works closely with a range of industries to design academic programs connected to workforce needs, such as a master’s of science in cybersecurity and the university’s newly launched engineering program.
 
Inclusive growth is not just about “doing the right thing” — it’s about economics, and making sure our community is set up for success. In 2019, EDC will continue to work with its steering committee to develop employer-focused recommendations around two other inclusive growth goals: equipping small businesses to compete and addressing the affordability crisis.
 
This process is complex and will take time; San Diego’s continued growth and success will largely depend on collaboration among companies, universities, philanthropic organizations and local government to ensure that inclusive growth practices are integrated into future decision-making. As a region, and especially as an economic development organization, if we are not doing this right, we should not be doing anything at all. Our hope is that when we tell San Diego’s story in the not-too-distant future, we can tell the story of a region that not only excels in technology and innovation, but also one that includes and uplifts all of its residents — a place where everyone can thrive, no matter your ZIP code.
 
Clarke is vice president of economic development at San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. Curiel is vice president of communications at Northrop Grumman Corp., Aerospace Systems. Prado-Olmos is vice president of community engagement at Cal State San Marcos.
 
Follow along and learn more at InclusiveSD.org.
December 13, 2018

Apple has announced it will be planting roots in San Diego, solidifying what we already knew about our region: San Diego is an innovative tech hub, home to some of the best and brightest talent in the world. While we're not a headquarters town, we continue to see an influx of local expansions from some of the world's largest companies. San Diego Regional EDC's official statement below:

“Joining an influx of other large tech firms like Amazon, Google and Teradata, Apple is setting up a significant operation in San Diego to take advantage of the region’s STEM talent. We look forward to building a stronger working relationship with Apple to help them grow and succeed in this already thriving tech hub.” Mark Cafferty, president & CEO, San Diego Regional EDC

December 5, 2018

Saving the best for last, project management software company Wrike celebrated the opening of three office locations worldwide: Melbourne, Dublin, and San Diego. The celebration took place back-to-back over the course of just 16 hours, in what the company called a #WrikeRelay.

Named among Deloitte's 500 Fastest Growing Companies in North America, Wrike has grown from 300 employees in 2015 to 700 today (and hiring), serving customers across 130 companies. 

This marks Wrike’s third location in San Diego. The first San Diego office opened in February 2016 with the company well on its way to meeting its goal of creating 150 jobs in three years. The new office in UTC will accommodate the increasing number of sales and customer success roles that make up the bulk of its local team. Wrike has grown its customer base in North America by 362 percent and its total annual recurring revenue in the region by 287 percent over the last three years. 

“The collaborative work management market has really taken off in the last few years as a variety of trends from digital transformation to the rise of the remote workforce and the consumerization of IT all converged,” said Wrike Senior Director of North American Sales Alex German. “It has been exciting to witness firsthand as high-growth companies have discovered how Wrike could help them increase productivity, improve collaboration, and create new revenue opportunities. Moving into this new space will give us the room we need to expand our team and continue driving exponential growth for the company.”

JLL, a world leader in real estate services, represented Wrike in the search and negations for its new San Diego office.

 

November 1, 2018
Today as part of its local expansion, software startup Cloudbeds unveiled its new San Diego headquarters alongside Congressmember Scott Peters and San Diego Regional EDC. Reflective of its company culture and of the region’s innovative technology cluster, the company’s newly expanded office space is vibrant – chock-full of art, a game room, outdoor working space and picnic area, and a 12-foot willow tree and turf in its common area.
 
Founded in 2012 by native San Diegans and UC San Diego Rady School of Management MBA graduates Adam Harris and Richard Castle, the company creates cloud-based hospitality management software and employs nearly 25 in San Diego, with plans for further growth.
 
“We’re extremely proud of the team across the world for making our growth so far possible, and we plan to continue in a much bigger way,” said Adam Harris, CEO at Cloudbeds. “We plan to have grown by 50 percent globally over our current size at the end of 2019.”
 
Some of that growth will be focused in San Diego. Cloudbeds is currently looking to fill technical positions to support the continued development of its hospitality software. Additionally, Cloudbeds was recently selected to take part in MetroConnect 2018, an export assistance program run by World Trade Center San Diego (WTC) – an affiliate of San Diego Regional EDC – and designed to help San Diego companies accelerate their global growth. Over the next year, Cloudbeds will work directly with WTC and EDC to expand into more global markets – specifically targeting India and Southeast Asia. The company currently supports 200 jobs across 28 countries.
 
“We’re thrilled Cloudbeds is expanding in San Diego. Its new headquarters is truly reflective of the region’s tech ecosystem – creative, innovative and collaborative," said Nikia Clarke, VP of Economic Development, San Diego Regional EDC. "As part of our MetroConnect program, EDC and WTC San Diego look forward to supporting Cloudbeds’ continued growth here and abroad.”
 
“Congratulations to Cloudbeds – a product of San Diego innovation that started right here at UCSD’s Rady School of Management. Their new headquarters fits right in with our top technology sector and thriving hospitality sector,” said Congressman Peters. “I’m proud to support growing startups, like Cloudbeds, that are changing the way we approach business solutions and I look forward to celebrating their success.”

 
October 17, 2018

Originally published on SDlifechanging.org.

Who has the best job in America, you ask? According to Glassdoordata scientists do. And lucky for them, there's plenty of data science gigs available at tech and life sciences companies in San Diego. With a median base salary of $110K and a 4.25/5 job satisfaction score, this growing profession is giving rise to leaders in the digital age.

It goes without saying that in a technology-driven world, the amount of available data will to continue to grow exponentially. And data scientists are exactly the types of people we’ll need to set up systems to digest and glean insight from all of that information.

Data scientists are deep thinkers, problem solvers, and interpreters, driven by seeing the result of their algorithms in action. And most of all, they are needed by companies across the world; most especially, in San Diego.

If you’re a data scientist interested in upgrading your life by living and working in San Diego, join us October 30 from 9am-12pm PST for a Virtual Career Fair with top employers: FICOResMedAnalytics Ventures Lab, and Booz Allen Hamilton.

The web-based fair will give participants (you?virtual access to recruiters from the companies just mentioned. These San Diego companies span defense, life sciences, and technology industries, providing a deep dive into all that a career in data science has to offer. You can explore company booths and chat with recruiters via instant-message or video call…and you don’t even need to leave your living room!

Apply and register for free here.

 

Data Science Virtual Career Fair from San Diego on Vimeo.

October 5, 2018

Each year, EDC carefully selects a peer metro for our annual Best Practices Leadership Trip – a chance for EDC and a group of key partners and stakeholders to learn from another region facing challenges similar to our own. The decision to go to Indianapolis this year was not a hard one. We were drawn to Indy not just as a fellow participant in the Brookings Inclusive Economic Development Learning Lab last year, but because of its regional approach to inclusive growth that has catalyzed since. We were further intrigued by Indy’s unique talent attraction and retention programs and its many collaborative efforts across government, business, and philanthropy. Over three days, our group of nearly 30 San Diegans was welcomed by Indy’s civic leaders who highlighted local programs, projects, and initiatives. Ultimately, our goal of the Leadership Trip is to inspire fresh approaches to our own challenges and opportunities at home.

A two-sided economy: The Indy Chamber kicked-off our visit with an overview of the economic disparities facing Indianapolis. Similar to EDC, the Indy Chamber led its region through the Brookings Institution Inclusive Growth Learning Lab designed to help economic development organizations (EDOs) build a data-driven platform that articulates the economic case (and imperative) for inclusion. Since the lab, the Indy Chamber has disseminated the Indy narrative throughout town, with many civic leaders referencing its findings throughout our visit. While Indianapolis bodes well on measures affordability, job growth, and entrepreneurship, it is also the 6th most economically segregated region in the U.S., with limited opportunities for upward mobility for individuals born into poverty. The impacts of automation exacerbate economic segregation and poverty in Indianapolis, which lost more than 20 percent of its manufacturing workforce over the last decade. In facing these realities, civic leaders have enacted new measures to increase job preparedness, homeownership, and overall economic security for Indianapolis residents.

The Cook Medical “unicorn”: In a particularly moving presentation, Pete Yonkman, president of Cook Medical, shared an incredible benefit that his company offers employees who wish to advance their educational goals. With more than 12,000 employees worldwide, Cook is a privately-held medical device manufacturer headquartered in Indiana with facilities in six countries, including K-Tube Technologies in Poway. Through a program called “My Cook Pathway,” Cook eliminated its high school diploma requirement for entry-level manufacturing positions in 2017. High-potential individuals without a high school degree are hired to work at Cook in the mornings before spending the afternoon studying for their GED. During the seven weeks it takes to earn their high school equivalency (HSE), Cook pays employees full-time wages and associated fees. Furthermore, Cook has partnered with the local Ivy Tech Community College to expand the program for employees interested in AA degrees or certificate programs, fronting registration fees and associated expenses and providing guidance on the financial aid process. After overwhelming response from its employees, Cook has since expanded the program even further. Now, Cook employees can get an HSE through a Master’s degree leveraging the My Cook Pathway program. Before introducing this program, fewer than 65 employees took advantage of education reimbursement. Two years later, more than 1,000 employees are enrolled. By leveraging various state and federal funding streams that support employee education, Cook offers this benefit to its employees for less than $2,000 per employee. When Cook leadership eliminated its high school diploma requirement, they decided they wouldn’t sit back and wait for highly educated employees to show up at their door. Now, they are active participants in preparing Indiana’s future workforce, with resumes flooding their doors and employee retention rates on the rise.

Connecting Talent: Through its lauded statewide community college system and multiple universities, Indianapolis is well positioned to produce the workforce its economy needs, but the Midwestern city risks losing talent to the “lure of the coasts.” Jason Kloth, CEO of Ascend Indiana, is front and center on a statewide effort to retain talent by increasing employer access to qualified workers while supporting the residents of Indiana in their pursuit of a meaningful career. After serving in many leadership positions for Teach for America, Kloth led the City of Indianapolis Office of Education Innovation (OEI) as the deputy mayor of education under Mayor Greg Ballard. Kloth is the mastermind behind Ascend, a nonprofit focused on creating a stronger alignment between the supply of skilled talent and demand from employers in Central Indiana. Ascend has raised more than $10 million to support its work. The organization provides strategic consulting services to help high-growth companies identify, evaluate, and secure education partners to deliver a custom talent pipeline, usually in less than a year. In a recent project with medical device giant Roche, Ascend partnered with the University of Indianapolis to address the company’s shortage of technicians fueled by increased retirement turnover. The result was a work-ready pipeline of 25 skilled, entry-level professionals in less than 12 months. Ascend has also created a next-level, cloud-based platform called “the Ascend Network” that matches qualified talent from 14 higher education institutions to positions at more than 70 large companies. The platform has helped place more than 400 individuals in Indiana. Through its experienced team of recruiters and matching algorithms, Ascend ensures high quality candidates and speeds up the hiring process for both individuals and companies. Needless to say, our group was astonished.

Before returning home, many members of our San Diego group continued onto Washington D.C. for a day at the Brookings Institution. The group was welcomed by Amy Liu, vice president and director of the Brookings Metropolitan Program, before Brookings fellows facilitated a series of discussions on how and why other metros are approaching inclusive growth to help us think more broadly about strategies for succeeding in a rapidly-changing economy.

 San Diego’s Progress

After spending much of 2017 deepening our understanding of regional challenges facing San Diego, EDC has spent 2018 assembling an employer-led steering committee to build an inclusive growth agenda that benefits more people, companies and communities. Guided by the findings of a recent EDC study, EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee recently endorsed a regional goal to double the number of skilled workers produced in San Diego County to 20,000 per year by 2030. To support this goal, the committee developed recommendations around transparency, engagement, and investment for employers to adopt and implement within their own organizations. EDC continues to work with the steering committee to set goals and recommendations for employer engagement around our other two pillars of inclusive growth; small business competitiveness and addressing affordability.

Before Indy, we traveled to Nashville and Louisville, smaller regions confronting deeply entrenched histories of racial segregation and poverty. Indianapolis is home to one of the largest endowments in the country and would not be where it is today without the investment of the Lilly family. Each metro is unique in its history, resources, and politics, and will inevitably need to craft an inclusive economic development strategy that works for their community based on their particular circumstance. However, inclusive growth as both an economic and moral imperative is a sentiment that permeates among more and more leaders nationwide.

Regardless of how different our circumstance may be from Nashville, Louisville, or Indianapolis, the authenticity that is threaded throughout our visits each year encourages an honest dialogue among our San Diego delegation, leading to a heightened sense of unity in purpose and mission amongst our investors and newer partners. There is much to be done, but EDC and our stakeholders are committed to this work. It will remain driven by collaboration, coordination, and honesty. EDC’s mission is to maximize the region’s economic prosperity and global competitiveness. To live up to that mission, our economic development strategies must promote growth through inclusion.

Learn more at inclusiveSD.org.

The trip was made possible by the generous support of Southwest Airlines.

October 3, 2018

San Diego Aira is changing how people see the world, literally. The EvoNexus graduate was formed by several Rady School of Management alumni that had a vision to help blind and visually impaired individuals have a higher quality of life. The company has created a wearable technology that a blind or vision impaired (BVI) person can wear, which better connects them to their surroundings via a live individual who sees exactly what they would. These navigators transcribe the visual world into an auditory one. From shopping, to reading ingredients and instructions, picking out an outfit to traveling or calling an uber, Aira helps BVI individuals live a more independent lives. Based in San Diego, the company now employs 50 people, developers and navigators, that help clients across the country. And Aira is just getting started. Partnering with institutions like UC San Diego and San Diego International Airport, Aira Enabled Zones are being stood up to ensure BVI individuals are able to access this assistance for free while at school, on travel, etc.

San Diego Regional EDC has been proud to support Aira in creating strategic partnerships via introductions to San Diego institutions and regional partners. EDC was able to leverage its existing network to open new doors for Aira at key San Diego business and organizations including the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego Tourism Authority, Petco, Viasat, BD, Cubic, Canadian Department of Commerce, Zero8Hundred, Seaworld, Tijuana EDC, and more.

The company was also recently named to WTC San Diego's export accelerator program, MetroConnect.

Aira truly is another example of a truly #SDlifechanging company in San Diego.