Ensuring Everyone has a seat at the table
A prosperous San Diego means an economy that works for all residents. Despite record low unemployment rates and a flourishing innovation economy, San Diego, and many other regions, have seen a rise in economic inequities. And if not addressed, this rise will have dire economic consequences.
It started with taking an uncomfortable – yet honest – look at how San Diego can better address strategies for inclusive economic growth and how economic development professionals in San Diego can better address these strategies that impact both businesses and workers.
EDC’s still has a long way to go in its mission to help make the competitiveness case for inclusion, but we’ve come a long way. See more in our timeline below:
- APRIL 2016 – THE RISING TIDE
A rising tide hasn’t lifted all boats, and sometimes it takes a former Navy Admiral to make that observation. At EDC’s Annual Dinner, Jim Zortman takes over as EDC chair, and challenges us to re-think economic development and engage communities that have been historically left out of the conversation.
- DECEMBER 2016 – A BROOKINGS INSTITUTION INCLUSIVE LEARNING LAB
San Diego wasn’t the only place having these conversations. DC, on behalf of San Diego, was selected as one of three regions from around the country to participate in a learning lab, spearheaded by the Brookings Institution, focused on inclusive economic development and how organizations engage in this complex topic. EDC convened partners in the community who were embedded in these issues to come around the table.
- JULY 2017 – DEFINING THE PROBLEM
With the help of the Brookings Institution, EDC completed a narrative to make the competitiveness case for inclusive growth. Economic inclusion is more than just ‘corporate social responsibility’; it’s an economic development imperative.
In the narrative, EDC highlights key stats about this challenge that frames inclusion as a competitiveness issue: that our demographics are shifting and our ‘innovation economy’ workforce is not reflective of our population; that the educational attainment gap in minority populations will exacerbate company workforce shortages in STEM fields; and that small businesses are not able to compete to grow. All of this is happening at a time when housing prices are at an all-time high and our population’s ability to afford to live here is shrinking.
- SEPTEMBER 2017 – A LEADERSHIP TRIP TO LOUISVILLE
EDC took a group of business leaders to Louisville, KY to understand how their region addresses challenges related to inclusion. In Louisville, where socioeconomic and demographic challenges have come into everyday conversation, our group learns to be bold and be direct when addressing these issues. It’s only when everyone can talk about the challenges that they can be addressed, in full.
- 2018 – WHAT’S NEXT
As the region’s innovation economy continues to grow, EDC is incorporating lessons learned into its own strategic plan. The plan is three-fold: 1) Developing San Diego’s population to meet the region’s talent needs 2) Helping SMEs better compete and 3) Highlighting issues of affordability that prevent talent from staying in, or coming to the region.
We’re just getting started. Stay tuned for more in 2018.