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Big Picture San Diego Blog

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.

 

 

August 27, 2019

Fortune recently announced its 2019 Change the World list, its annual ranking of companies that are using creative tools of business to meet society's unmet needs. In today's world of widening economic disparities and rapid digital automation, it's critical now, more than ever, for large companies to go beyond checking the boxes of "corporate social responsibility" and actually create solutions for sustainability and inclusive economic growth.

See which San Diego-based companies made this year’s list:

No. 1 Qualcomm: Turning faster connections into green gains
Why Fortune ranked Qualcomm as Number 1 on its 2019 Change the World list: The mobile-chip designer has been a leader in wireless tech since the earliest smartphones. Now it’s building chips for 5G connectivity, which promises speeds 10 to 100 times as fast as those of today’s phones. Already, phonemakers are using Qualcomm modem chips to power 5G-compatible devices. But the company will soon introduce inexpensive, low-power versions for smart devices and sensors that could have a profound impact on the planet. As such sensors become pervasive, cities will be able to monitor air and water quality in real time, farmers can avoid overwatering or overfertilizing crops, and self-driving cars will communicate with each other to avoid traffic jams and reduce emissions.

No. 12 Viasat: Connecting Latin America to the Internet, dirt cheap
Why Fortune ranked Viasat as Number 12 on its 2019 Change the World list: Satellite Internet service provider Viasat has been able to offer cheap online service from space to poorly wired parts of the world as the capabilities of its spacecraft have improved. Since lofting the school-bus-size ViaSat-2 satellite in 2017, the company’s reach has extended across Latin America. In Mexico, for example, a simple $1,500 receiver setup in a local shop can provide Wi-Fi across a wide area for as little as 50¢ an hour to users with cheap phones or tablets. So far, over 600,000 devices have logged on for Internet connections in Mexico. In July the state of São Paulo began working with Viasat to set up community Wi-Fi stations to provide connectivity in 20 underserved areas. Coming next: three ViaSat-3 satellites, with more capacity, reaching Europe, the Middle East, and Africa in 2021 and the Asia-Pacific region in 2022.

No. 35 Illumina: Lifesaving shortcuts in gene testing
Why Fortune ranked Illumina as Number 35 on its 2019 Change the World list: The genomic sequencing giant has managed to spur personalized drug development, help foster a revolution in at-home DNA testing, and even save critically ill newborns. The company has been at the forefront of making whole genomic sequencing not just cheaper (it now costs less than $1,000 to conduct such sequencing, as opposed to the $3 billion it cost to sequence the first full human genome—largely thanks to Illumina’s work over the past 20 years)—but also considerably faster.

That’s absolutely critical when it comes to saving newborns in the ICU suffering from rare genetic disorders, according to Dr. Stephen Kingsmore, the CEO of Rady Children’s Institute for Genomic Medicine in San Diego. “Illumina is involved in every step of delivering care for these sick babies,” he says. Kingsmore says that, thanks to Illumina’s technology and dedication to making whole genomic sequencing accessible, affordable, and fast, a critically ill baby can have his or her genome sequenced in as little as 20 hours—which means that child can have personalized treatment delivered within a matter of days rather than weeks, likely spelling the difference between life and death. The Rady Institute has already tested about 1,000 sick newborns with Illumina’s tech in the past three years (about half of them in the past 12 months).

Aira makes Fortune's "Ones to Watch" list.
Most of the companies on Fortune Magazine's 2019 Change the World list are large corporations with $1 billion or more in annual revenue, which helps them pay for and scale their efforts. So it created a "Ones to Watch" list, which ranks smaller companies that may not have the  financial means to make significant impacts (yet), but have made technological breakthroughs that can lead to even larger gains and social impact in the future. Featured at the top of this list is San Diego-based Aira.

Why Fortune names Aira on its Ones to Watch list: Aira makes life easier to manage for the visually impaired. The four-year-old start-up offers customers a pair of camera-wielding smart glasses and an app that allows users to connect with Aira agents, who offer verbal assistance while they go about their day—navigating errands or tasks at work. With several thousand users, Aira has evidence that it boosts quality of life and reduces the chances that a blind student will drop out of college, and the company says its technology helped more than 250 visually-impaired users get jobs. The National Federation of the Blind has signed on as a partner.

Check out the full rankings on Fortune’s 2019 Change the World List here.

 

August 21, 2019

Inc. Magazine recently published its annual guide to the 5,000 fastest-growing privately held companies in the U.S., known as the Inc. 5000 list. San Diego garnered a solid handful of companies among this year’s ranks - 110 in the region.

Plus, in addition to this year’s notable rankings, Inc. Magazine created a list of the top 10 hottest startup cities in America. San Diego came in at no. 4, giving us more proof that San Diego is a great place to live, work, and grow your own business. Here's what Inc. had to say: 

“With 24 incubators and accelerator programs, along with strong talent pipelines from the University of California, San Diego, and nearby military bases, the city is a sanctuary for startups.” 

Companies on the 2019 Inc. 5000 were ranked according to percentage revenue growth over a three year period -- from 2015 to 2018. For 2019, the San Diego region made up 2.2% of total privately held companies on the list. Click here to view the complete 2019 Inc. 5000 List

 

August 16, 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 July 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:

San Diego's Economic Pulse - August 2019 from San Diego Regional EDC on Vimeo.

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in July, up from a revised 3.3 percent in June 2019, and unchanged compared with the year-ago estimate of 3.6 percent.
  • The region’s unemployment rate remains lower than both the state and national unemployment rates of 4.4 percent and 4.0 percent, respectively
  • Leisure and hospitality (up 2,600) added the largest number of jobs over the month, driven in part due to the influx in tourism in the summer months
  • Between July 2018 and July 2019, total nonfarm employment increased from 1,480,300 to 1,510,000, adding 29,700 jobs.
  • Government (up 9,100) followed by professional & business services(up 8,400) led job growth during the past year

 

 

 

 

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July 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 June 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:

San Diego's Economic Pulse: July 2019 from San Diego Regional EDC on Vimeo.

  • The region’s unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in June, up from a revised 2.7 percent in May 2019, and below the year-ago estimate of 3.6 percent
  • The region’s unemployment rate remains lower than both the state and national unemployment rates of 4.1 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively
  • Between May 2019 and June 2019, total nonfarm employment increased from 1,510,200 to 1,517,300, adding 7,100 jobs
  • Between June 2018 and June 2019, total nonfarm employment increased from 1,491,600 to 1,517,600, adding 25,700 jobs
  • Between June 2018 and June 2019, professional and business services led the year-over gain, adding 8,000 jobs and mostly driven by growth in professional, scientific, and technical services (up 7,100).

 

July 19, 2019

If you've ever hopped on the tube in London or swiped your MTA card to take the L from Brooklyn into Manhattan, you have San Diego innovation to thank for it. Cubic's Transportation division is helping move millions of people throughout the world's most dynamic cities, including Sydney, London, New York, and more. Though Cubic is a global company, it is headquartered right here, in San Diego.

This week, the company reaffirmed its commitment to San Diego by breaking ground on a new campus. The two 125,000 square-foot, three-story buildings, developed in partnership with Cisterra Development, will bring its San Diego-based workforce together onto one centralized location in Kearny Mesa.

A long history in San Diego

In 1951, Walter J. Zable opened a small electronics company operating out of a modest storefront. Today, Cubic has 6,000 employees globally and three primary business units that do everything from increase mass transit efficiencies to train and protect our armed forces. Along the way, the company has developed a lot of "firsts"; from the world's first electronic scoreboard for a stadium to the first wholly contactless fare system in the U.S., meaning you can swipe a card (and in some cities, a smartphone) instead of scrounging for change to buy a bus ticket.

Since the beginning, San Diego has been a crucial part of Cubic's story. As the company began to win new contracts and bring innovations to market, it added new employees to keep up with the demands. However, these employees were spread throughout a few buildings in San Diego.

One Cubic headquarters

Cubic's new home base seeks to change that.

"Our culture is driven by One Cubic, which emphasizes collaboration across our businesses to share ideas, strategies, and expertise. We are thrilled our new campus will bring together our San Diego employees onto one centralized location where we can continue to achieve excellence through teamwork,” said Bradley H. Feldmann, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Cubic Corporation. If you're looking for jobs in San Diego, you might want to visit Cubic's career site.

This isn't Cisterra Development's first time working on a project of this magnitude. In San Diego and beyond, the developer has made a name for itself for creating cutting-edge space for San Diego strongholds including Sempra Energy (and it's downtown headquarters) as well as  Diamond View Tower, which houses numerous San Diego startups.

The new campus will also contain new landscaped common areas for employees, including a basketball court and open lawn, as well as a new café and fitness center.

With assistance from EDC, Cubic secured a CalCompetes Tax Credit worth $8.5 million. Locally, Cubic was also able to secure expedited processes through the City of San Diego, in addition to a Business Incentive Program and Business Cooperation Program award. In total, the incentives and expedited processes provided gave Cubic the necessary offsets and timeline confidence to commit to redeveloping its Kearny Mesa headquarters, and keeping San Diego as its home for decades to follow.

And not to be overlooked, Cubic's new campus will also provide access to one of San Diego's overlooked neighborhoods - Kearny Mesa. As Councilmember Chris Cate, who represents the city of San Diego's 6th district, said, "Kearny Mesa is going to be the hottest neighborhood in San Diego."

And we can thank Cubic for being (one of) the impetuses of this. The new campus is expected to be online by December 2020.

 

July 9, 2019

Since 2013, the U.S. Department of Commerce hosts its annual SelectUSA Investment Summit, making it the country’s largest trade show for foreign direct investment (FDI). This year, in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) International Affairs and Business Development team, WTC San Diego and San Diego Regional EDC staff attended the event to promote California and San Diego.

Garnering more than 2,000 attendees and an impressive slew of speakers, the conference featured keynotes from Secretary Wilbur Ross, Larry Kudlow, and Ivanka Trump, alongside dozens of technical presentations. US Ambassadors from all over the world brought delegations of companies set on expanding into the US from their respective countries to learn about the competitive advantages of each state. At the conference, economic development representatives from nearly all 50 states vie for the attention of these companies by demonstrating why their state is best suited to support international expansion. While some states resort to fun, unique antics like utilizing a Captain America outfit to draw in crowds, the delegates from California drew attention to the immense academic investment and corporate strengths of the fifth largest economy in the world.

In the span of two days, WTC staff met with more than a dozen companies from across the globe – Israel to China and UK to Japan – specifically discussing each country’s interest in San Diego. As states and regions compete to attract foreign investment, increased coordination and collaboration across California is necessary to help combat any negative narratives, and ultimately, highlight the success of the entire state’s economy.

With Bud Colligan as Sr. Advisor for International Affairs and Trade for California, there's been an increased call for California to develop more robust trade and FDI strategy. According to SelectUSA, majority-foreign-owned companies support 769,20 jobs in California, placing the state in a distant first with Texas coming in second by supporting 596,900 jobs.

If you are interested in WTC San Diego’s approach to creating a statewide strategy for foreign direct investment, contact Director of World Trade Center San Diego, Jesse Gipe at jg@sandiegobusiness.org.

July 9, 2019

The Integrated Pilot Program (IPP) reached a large benchmark on the food delivery mission, which included a successful test flight with Uber Eats on San Diego State University campus. Starting this summer, Uber will be using specially crafted drones developed by its flight arm, Uber Elevate, to grow the company's food delivery program. Giving way for Uber Eats to operate in the region's airspace, San Diego Office of Homeland Security has been integral in this initiative with coordination from EDC, in order to obtain the necessary waivers and certifications from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) through the IPP. Read more about this program here

The IPP is rapidly moving forward on the first-ever international Unamnned Aircraft Systems (UAS) flight, which is made possible in coordination with EDC's partners at CAPE Aerial Telepresence and the City of Tijuana. The project has also been working diligently with Matternet, the medical delivery operators, to determine the route for the first blood sample test delivery.

Next up: EDC, in partnership with Booz Allen Hamilton, is planning the process for a drone conference, which is slated to take place in February 2020. The themes include San Diego as a center of excellence in the emerging technologies industry, inclusivity, and deep dives into the unique challenges of UAS integration. A planning committee is being formed, involving possible participation from local government partners, local industry leaders, nonprofit stakeholders, and higher education institutions. Expect more details on the conference coming soon. 

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