Mark Cafferty: How EDC is helping local companies connect and pivot

Originally published on April 12 in the San Diego Business Journal, this excerpt is from the latest of EDC President and CEO Mark Cafferty’s weekly columns:

Our team has responded to more than 360 companies in the last three weeks, and we have been actively working to connect them to the right services and resources and to help them better understand the various programs that are being expanded, created and updated on a daily basis. As a comparison, in a typical year, the EDC team works on about 150-180 business projects. As you can see, we have doubled that number in just a few weeks and are only working with a fraction of the businesses in need of support at this time.

While recent events have forced us to think and work differently, I truly believe that when the programs we are delivering to the community are important and valuable, we need to find more creative ways to keep them going. One program that exemplifies this kind of pivot for EDC is Advancing San Diego. Thanks to a grant from JP Morgan Chase, EDC and regional partners have launched a program that drives economic inclusion by addressing talent shortages. We had always thought that a critical part of this program would be creating a series of new paid STEM internships within our small businesses. So our team has flipped the traditional workforce development model on its head: employers tell us the skills they need, we identify the educational programs – Preferred Providers – that do the best job providing the identified skills, and then we use Advancing San Diego funds to create pathways for San Diegans into quality jobs in the companies that need them most. And the companies that need talent the most right now are our small businesses.

Read the full column on San Diego Business Journal’s website.