“Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” —General Dwight D Eisenhower
Every year at EDC, our team spends November and December moving through a structured goal setting process together with our investors, our executive committee, and our board. We work to establish objectives for the year that are responsive to the demands of current economic conditions; that are led by the businesses that create jobs for San Diegans; and that have measurable outcomes that contribute to prosperity and competitiveness across the binational region.
This year, we face unprecedented uncertainty as an organization, economy, and community. The pandemic and subsequent economic hardships have not impacted our community evenly, and the decisions we make on where to prioritize our time and resources have never been more critical. We know 2021 will be another challenging year for everyone. But we also know that it will present us with historic opportunities to contribute to the region’s economic resiliency, recovery, and long-term prosperity.
For an economic development organization, meeting this unique moment requires going back to basics—prioritizing the fundamental building blocks of a strong economy: jobs, talent, and households. In 2021, all our goals, programs, and initiatives roll up to these three priorities as we work to better connect our businesses, workers, and communities to the drivers of growth.
- JOBS: Our core competency at EDC is working with businesses, both as they navigate the now, as well as understanding what comes next. At a time when the rules are changing daily, we will track business sentiment and economic resilience. We will continue to assist companies of all sizes as they seek relief, insight, and sustainable connections to customers and markets. And via our World Trade Center, in 2021, we will grow available services for small businesses hoping to access international markets.
- TALENT: Despite high levels of unemployment, there are still shortages for in-demand jobs. Via Advancing San Diego, we will continue to work through employers to identify needed skills and create pathways for all San Diegans into quality jobs. And via San Diego: Life. Changing., we will connect talent around the world to jobs at San Diego firms.
- HOUSEHOLDS: A competitive region is an affordable one, with the infrastructure the economy needs to thrive. We will double down on the pillars of inclusive growth through our Anchor Collaborative, which enables large employers—universities, hospitals, governments, and utilities—to maximize their economic impact. This year, we will release research and recommendations that leverage large buyers to provide $100 million in new contracts to small businesses, and work with and through our anchor partners to advance those goals.
There is much we don’t know about what this year holds, but we do know that things will change: in the economy, in our region, and thus in these goals and plans. We know we will have to remain agile, adaptable, creative, and inclusive to ensure that EDC remains a resource to our community. We will continue to work with and through our investors and stakeholders to get this recovery right. Join us.
—Dr. Nikia Clarke, VP of Economic Development, EDC; Executive Director, WTCSD