Pushing forward – AI and San Diego

For the past two years alongside underwriter Booz Allen Hamilton, EDC has released a series of five studies on the proliferation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI-ML) within San Diego County’s key economic clusters. The reports represent the most comprehensive deep dive on San Diego’s AI-ML ecosystem—evolving and growing since the baseline report was published in December 2020.

The reports found, by and large, that AI-ML technologies are creating new jobs, not eliminating them. Furthermore, the high pay commanded by workers in AI-concentrated fields has positive ripple effects in the local economy; for every 1,000 jobs gained in this industry, another 1,400 are created in other sectors. And while San Diego is well-positioned to welcome a new era of this innovation, accessibility and compensation remain ongoing challenges across the region.

The growing talent gap

In order to maximize the full potential of AI-ML integration, San Diego must grow its skilled workforce. Demand for AI-ML talent is more than double our regional supply. In fact, San Diego produced fewer than 3,000 AI-ML-related graduates in 2021, meanwhile, more than 7,800 local unique job postings required AI-ML skills in 2022.

San Diego’s colleges, universities, and training programs are hard at work to bridge this gap. The region boasts a collective 118 degree-track programs focused on cybersecurity, many of which include AI-ML training, as well as numerous certificates on AI-ML methods. The growth of cybersecurity, smart urban development, and life sciences innovation will depend on the development of AI skills in the next generation of workers.

Connecting with a wide array of training programs, such as community colleges, certificate programs, and bootcamps, can help San Diego companies source talent locally.

Inclusion is key

Even as San Diego’s existing AI-ML talent supply is more racially diverse than the national average, it still lags in comparison to the region’s population demographics. Making growing industries and high-wage roles accessible to San Diego’s Black and Hispanic talent—our region’s fastest growing populations—would help San Diego companies enjoy a talent surplus, strengthen our region’s competitiveness, and enhance our ability to drive life-changing innovation. Ultimately, greater diversity in the workforce will make AI-ML tools more powerful.

More on inclusive growth

When implemented, AI-ML has the potential to help San Diego companies expedite life-saving drug discovery, thwart cyber threats, and revolutionize transportation and logistics. More importantly, AI-ML can help cities and regions improve affordability and quality of life for residents, as well as support job growth and business expansion.

“EDC’s AI series underscored that AI-ML adoption is creating new job opportunities, and the demand for these skills far outpaces the supply,” said Teddy Martinez, Senior Research Manager, EDC. “As we wrap with a focus on Smart Cities, it is clear that if done right, AI-ML also has the potential to advance economic inclusion and improve quality of life for more San Diegans.”

You can read our entire AI series here:

  1. Baseline AI-ML: Report | Summary
  1. AI-ML in Cybersecurity: Report | Summary
  1. AI-ML in Transportation: : Report | Summary
  1. AI-ML in Life Sciences: : Report | Summary
  1. AI-ML in Smart Cities: Report | Summary

Thank you to our underwritten by Booz Allen Hamilton.

Learn more about EDC’s Research Bureau here

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