The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched this Spring in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98 percent of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two thirds of San Diegans, and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.
As students close out their Summer internship experiences, EDC has rolled out this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that make up the first cohort of the program, and the interns they hosted.
In this feature, we sat down with Anna Kelley, ASD intern at Tourmaline Wireless. A part of the inaugural cohort of host companies, Tourmaline Wireless is building the future of decentralized wireless telecommunications. The Oceanside-based company provides resilient, off-grid solutions based on mesh networks, 4G LTE, and Iridium satellite.
Tell us about yourself.
Hi my name is Anna, and I was a second-year student at San Diego Mesa College when I came across the ASD internship opportunity. I recently transferred to New York University to pursue a Computer and Electrical Engineering degree.
How has your experience in the ASD Internship Program been, and what projects/assignments have been the most meaningful?
The hands-on experience that I obtained while interning at Tourmaline Wireless exceeded all of my expectations. During this internship, I had an opportunity to get hands-on experience with different programming languages and to work on debugging and troubleshooting software defects. Since it was my first internship in the engineering field, I was worried that I was lacking in technical skills. However, my internship supervisor Paul Victorine was so supportive and he made it so easy for me to participate in all the activities during this internship. It was such an amazing learning experience for me and I will continue educating myself in these areas to grow my confidence.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your day-to-day, and what challenges have you faced as a student?
The most challenging part about being a student during COVID-19 was a transition to online learning because not every class can be fully online. For example, my chemistry lab was replaced with five minutes of YouTube videos and it was not the same experience anymore.
What advice would you give to high school students looking for a successful career in the local software industry?
I would recommend participating in different clubs, programs, and getting an internship as soon as possible. This year I participated in several programs with NASA (L’Space Academy and NCAS, all remote) and it was not only fun, but also a great experience that I can put on my resume.
The Advancing San Diego (ASD) Internship Program launched this Spring in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic and aims to provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully subsidized interns. This program targets companies with 100 employees or less, which comprise 98% of all businesses in San Diego, employ nearly two thirds of San Diegans, and account for 70 percent of job growth. A key issue for these companies has been a lack of time and resources to recruit the skilled talent necessary to continue their growth.
As students are closing out their Summer internship experiences, EDC is rolling out this blog series to highlight the innovative local companies that comprise the first cohort of the program, and the interns they hosted.
In this feature, we sat down with Paul Victorine, CTO and Co-Founder at Tourmaline Wireless, who hosted two ASD interns. A part of the inaugural cohort of host companies, Tourmaline Wireless is building the future of decentralized wireless telecommunications. The Oceanside-based company provides resilient, off-grid solutions based on mesh networks, 4G LTE, and Iridium satellite.
Why was your company founded, and what are your current points of focus?
I started the company at the beginning of 2019, after having worked for a Tier-1 wireless operator for nearly 20 years. I jumped at the opportunity to start my own consulting business, leveraging an extensive background in deploying and optimizing cellular networks. Tourmaline is currently developing a new gateway product that will allow localized mesh networks to connect to geographically separated networks across the globe. This gateway will allow neighborhoods and communities affected by natural disasters to continue communicating with their loved ones. This allows for the sharing of hyper-local information and will support offline payment remittances in far-off corners of the world. It might even provide hikers along the Pacific Crest Trail a means of “checking-in” with friends and family at various mile markers. There are many use-cases we envision for the mesh gateway, and we are excited to see how our customers anticipate using the device too!
Tell us about your experience building a small business in San Diego. What resources, services and/or organizations were most valuable in supporting Tourmaline’s growth?
Building a startup in San Diego has been a great experience overall! Valuable resources include following San Diego Regional EDC, Innovate78, and the City of Oceanside. There is a ton of talent here in San Diego – largely coming out of the many colleges and universities spread throughout the county. There is also a surprising amount of resources available here that help support small business. I’ve been really impressed with all the grants, loans, and positive encouragement broadcast daily from San Diego Regional EDC.
How has your company pivoted as a result of COVID-19?
As a result of COVID-19, we decided to go all-in and focus exclusively on new product development as our day-to-day consulting jobs (designing, installing, and optimizing cellular in-building equipment) were mostly sidelined due to COVID-19.
Tell us a little bit about your interns and the value they bring.
We are currently hosting two college interns through the ASD program, who you’ll hear from in another blog post. One intern is soon graduating from UC San Diego, with a BS in Computer Science. Our second intern will be starting her Junior year at NYU, as a transfer from Mesa College, also studying Computer Science. The internship experience was definitely a challenge given its fully remote format. Plus, it was our first time hosting interns, but it turned out to be a rewarding experience for all of us. They helped troubleshoot and improve our existing software codebase, adding new features and functionality. We were able to meet up in-person (socially distanced, of course) for a field day of wireless range testing at Balboa Park. It was a fun experience and I think it helped the interns better understand the capability of wireless mesh communications.
In your opinion, what is special about San Diego’s science and technology community, and the talent that drives it?
San Diego has historically been a technology-driven community, from the early days with the focus on military and defense (companies like General Dynamics) to the early 2000’s being a wireless hotbed (including Qualcomm, Nokia, etc). Now we are starting to see software really taking hold here, with companies like Apple opening offices and building out their local workforce. San Diego really is the perfect choice for STEAM students to select for college and then stay to launch their careers.
EDC’s inclusive growth strategy is fueled by three key economic ingredients: skilled workers, quality jobs (particularly in small companies) and thriving households. Launched in 2019 with funding from JP Morgan Chase, Advancing San Diego is helping the region meet its inclusive growth goals by addressing skilled talent shortages and expanding access to quality job opportunities. Advancing San Diego partners, in lockstep with industry and education partners, recognize that each group has a role to play in developing and strengthening our local talent pool.
The challenge & the opportunity
Employers cite access to diverse, qualified talent as a top challenge within their business, relying on high-cost recruitment strategies to fill job openings. Meanwhile, San Diego is a diverse community with an education system that serves hundreds of thousands of San Diegans (10 community colleges, 5 universities, numerous non-traditional training programs). Black and Hispanic San Diegans make up more than half of our population, but are glaringly underrepresented in high-demand jobs.
Advancing San Diego introduces a collaborative, region-wide strategy to prepare San Diegans for high-demand jobs via our locally-serving education intuitions. While labor market data is improving, there is not a consistent approach for adapting education to meet industry expectations. With clear and consistent communication about skills, we collectively create an environment where San Diegans are trained for, and can access quality job opportunities, and employers can look to our local talent pool for their hiring needs.
Talent development amid a global pandemic
We felt the initial impacts of the pandemic across our entire economy. Unemployment in San Diego rose from 4.2% to 15% in a matter of months, with some industries experiencing a 50% decline in their workforce. Of the jobs impacted the most, many were already at risk of decline due to factors including automation and digitization. Further, the highest-risk jobs are disproportionately held by Black and Hispanic San Diegans.
Other industries, particularity innovation industries, took less of a hit as business held steady and employees had the option to work remotely. Jobs most insulated from the impacts of the pandemic are disproportionately held by white and Asian San Diegans.
Pre- and post-COVID-19, software developers continue to rank among the highest demand occupations in San Diego. In May, software developers were the second most advertised job in San Diego, with 3,000 postings. With numerous training options beyond a 4-year degree, software engineers can be trained relatively quickly at a much lower cost to the individual, and both training and jobs can be done from essentially anywhere with an internet connection. As such, Advancing San Diego started its work by informing education providers on skills requirements for software engineers, and is actively working with employers do the same for engineering and business professionals.
The Advancing San Diego approach
Advancing San Diego is a demand-driven, outcomes based strategy for strengthening lines of communication between industry and education, and expanding access to talent for small companies.
COMMUNICATION: employer working groups communicate hiring requirements for entry-level jobs, offer feedback to education providers on how to update & improve curriculum, and recognize “Preferred Providers” as delivering top-quality training for quality jobs. It’s through this process that employers also gain a better understanding of which local institutions they should be recruiting from. YEAR 1 PROGRESS: 30+ employers have actively engaged in working groups to communicate skills criteria, offer feedback on curricula, and grow the network of Preferred Provider programs. Following their participation in the working group, many employers express interest in hiring from a community college, university, or non-traditional training program where they had not previously recruited from. >> Skills Reports for Software Talent & Engineering Talent
ADAPTATION: with better communication from industry, education programs can more effectively train talent that employers want to hire. Education programs are also recognized by employers for their ability to reach and serve a diverse student body. YEAR 1 PROGRESS: Employers have offered feedback to 21 education programs; 7 have been selected as Preferred Providers of software talent, and Preferred Providers of engineering talent will be announced in coming weeks. Multiple programs who were not selected are actively adapting programs for reconsideration as a Preferred Providers, which are evaluated annually. >> More information on Preferred Providers
ACCESS: Small companies (<100 employees) often do not have the time or resources to effectively recruit top talent. At no cost to them, small companies can host paid interns from Preferred Provider programs as part of Advancing San Diego. These companies receive training for building successful remote teams, access to a software platform for managing remote interns, and interns are eligible for $500 in products or services that support their internship success. The internship program prioritizes students who are first generation college students, community college students, or residents of San Diego’s low income communities. YEAR 1 PROGRESS: 22 small companies from a variety of industries are hosting ASD interns remotely this summer. A second cohort of companies is currently being recruited to meet interest in this program from students, many of whom are experiencing heightened anxiety due to job-market uncertainty. >> The average size of companies in this cohort is 12 employees, and 54% of host companies identify as either minority, woman, disabled, veteran, or immigrant-owned. >> ASD has placed +40 software engineering interns from community college, university, and non-traditional education backgrounds. 100% of interns are either first-gen college students, community college students, veterans, or residents of San Diego’s low income communities.
Advancing San Diego was designed as a cyclical process that is responsive to the ever-changing needs of the economy. Our priority remains to better prepare the local talent pool for the jobs our economy needs, and provide better access to talent for small companies. Even once shelter-in-place guidelines are lifted, we will continue to offer paid remote work experiences as one way to remove geographic and scheduling barriers for students and companies.
However, we realize that not all jobs can be done remotely. While we will continue to focus on high-demand job areas such as software, we will lean into jobs that are economically resilient, good-paying jobs that are accessible via shorter-term training and have cross-cutting industry need. We believe this approach will increase our ability to support those most impacted by the pandemic on a path to economic stability.
The Advancing San DiegoInternship Program launched this spring and students are now beginning their summer internship experiences in a remote-capacity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While students’ experiences are in their early stages, we’re launching this blog series to highlight the exciting local companies that are hosting interns in the program’s first round of internships.
We sat down with Steve Moyo, CEO at Welfie. Part of the inaugural cohort of host companies, Welfie, which stands for a ‘wellness selfie’, provides a snapshot of one’s health and delivers personalized content, products and services to meet individuals’ health needs – all while connecting users with people and professionals who care.
Tell us about you and your story.
I am a Zulu. I was born in Zambia and grew up in Canada. I moved to the US for medical school where I met a wonderful woman from Michigan. After I finished my Internal Medicine residency at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore I moved here to San Diego, for said woman. I founded Welfie as an extension of what I am most passionate about: promoting heart health and using content to tell stories. Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., and much like COVID-19, it has profoundly impacted the various communities that I am connected to, from healthcare workers to communities of color. Welfie is excited to be helping communities, universities, colleges and businesses, solve the immediate problem of how to “Get Back To Campus, Safely” with our symptom screening app and high quality PPE. But our long term focus is much bigger than just COVID-19, we sit primed to address important issues of our time, which include heart health, mental health and racial health disparities. We are starting here, in San Diego, focusing on local schools, businesses and communities and we call on any San Diego community leaders to contact us to collaborate.
How was your experience building a small business/startup in San Diego?
San Diego has been a great place to start a company. There are countless individuals, consultants, companies and organizations that have been essential to getting us where we are today. We are proud members of The Brink, San Diego Venture Group (now Connect), and part of the third cohort at Connect All Jacobs Center. The San Diego Angels Conference has been immensely influential as well as San Diego Startup Week. These are just a few of the organizations that have helped us grow rapidly and find our way in the entrepreneurial start up world.
How has your company pivoted as a result of COVID-19?
Welfie offers a one-stop-shop for universities, colleges and businesses to “Get Back To Campus, Safely.” We developed a simple 3-point plan:
Prepare – Welfie has launched a COVID-19 symptom screening app to help community leaders prepare to return. Screen employees and students daily for symptoms and fever. And create a culture of trust, care and accountability.
Prevent – We have a high quality PPE store backed by an FDA/NIOSH certified supply chain where you can get PPE in bulk and subscribe to the Welfie Care Package – PPE delivered to your door monthly.
Protect – we are developing real time data analytics and insights that will allow community leaders and individuals to assess their risk, and make the right decisions for their communities, families and themselves.The decision to pivot was easy. We had to do something. Identifying the right thing to do and where we felt we could have the greatest impact, quickly was the key. We ultimately decided to stick to our wheelhouse, education, engagement and empowering people to make the right decisions. So while I used to say ‘pivot’, I now prefer to say expanded. Welfie is a community health platform that has been focused on prevention. We started our journey focused on heart health, and have expanded to COVID-19.
How did you find out about Advancing San Diego and how has your experience been so far?
Credit goes to the local San Diego network. It was one of those weeks where mentors and advisors were all pointing me in the right direction and Advancing San Diego came up in numerous conversations. One key part of the community health platform we are building centers around health influencers, doctors, fitness coaches, perhaps even your mom. Our current software development interns are focused on building the essential features that a health influencer would need, from chat to a social health feed and including video hosting capabilities.
What is special about San Diego’s science and technology community, and the talent that drives it?
I think honesty and humility are two keywords that define the community here. People honestly want to see each other succeed. There is a great energy that San Diego is on the cusp of becoming an even stronger science and tech hub. And, that instead of exporting talent we are importing, cultivating and nurturing people and companies right here. The humility of San Diego’s leaders in science and technology to remain open to connection, mentorship and collaboration with local startups has been unique.
What words of advice would you give to the San Diego community to more effectively support entrepreneurs?
Perhaps it is the musician in me speaking but I would love to continue to see more collaboration. I think, specifically, in the area where Welfie is focused, digital health. There is a ‘stronger together’ narrative for startups to be able to succeed in the current environment. So intra-industry collaboration plus collaborating across industry as well I think can only enhance opportunity, success and is just fun.
In March, Advancing San Diego held a webinar on making the most of interns at small companies. Find the complete guide for building a successful internship program, complete with considerations for remote workers, here: Making the most of (remote) interns.
Whether it’s practicing social distancing, increasing safety and cleanliness procedures, or working remote, you’re likely figuring out how to maintain productivity when “going to work” looks and feels a lot different right now. With so much uncertainty about where we’ll be in 2 weeks, 3 months, or a year – two things stand true: our current situation is not permanent and our lives will continue to move forward.
Students will continue to graduate and companies will continue to innovate. Beyond their adjustment to online education, many students in San Diego are experiencing heightened anxiety about what a recession means for their job prospects post-grad. Meanwhile, companies are adjusting to a new economy, with some experiencing growth in their core business functions and some creatively pivoting. Either way, many companies need help (perhaps now more than ever) and remote internships are an excellent option for maintaining engagement with students.
Internship programs are an effective means of building relationships with qualified individuals who are eager to learn and contribute. It’s no secret that a strong internship program is much more likely to convert interns to full time employees. However, a successful internship program no longer means coffee runs and paper-filing. Internships are an opportunity for students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in a professional environment, and companies need to be intentional about how they make the most of their intern’s strengths. Standing up an internship program comes with lots of questions. What types of projects should interns work on? Who should they report to? How often do you communicate with them? What happens in a world where ALL internships need to be remote?
In March, EDC and the San Diego Workforce Partnership hosted a webinar on making the most of interns at small companies. This session was part of Advancing San Diego: a collaborative new initiative designed to strengthen relationships between industry and education. Over three years, Advancing San Diego will cover the cost of interns for more than 100 small companies, with the first round of interns being fully remote. The webinar was geared towards smaller companies without existing internship programs, but much of the content is applicable for companies of all sizes looking to create stronger engagement with their student workers, even when they’re remote.
Some key takeaways:
1. Prepare relevant onboarding materials to share with your intern ahead of their start date.
Process documents, to the extent they are available
Relevant tools, platforms, websites and links to demos
Single sheet with all login information
2. Provide any necessary equipment and tools needed for your intern to do their job well.
Have all equipment and tools set-up and tested ahead of time to ensure intern can jump in on day one.
Any equipment will be used only during their time with your company, so equipment is a useful investment that can be used to accommodate future interns.
Remote consideration: Interns will likely not have a high-performing computer at home. It will take a bit of extra coordination between the company and the student to ensure their home office is set up with everything they need.
3. Identify a supervisor who will serve as the intern’s main point of contact throughout their internship.
Supervisor might be someone responsible for the success of the larger project that the intern will be working on. However, this person should not be the busiest person on any project. This person should be patient and enjoy training others.
Supervisors don’t necessarily require prior management experience, but find out if anyone on your team has managed interns before and see if they’d be interested.
Consider someone who isn’t the obvious choice to supervise, but who might be the best fit for molding interns into professionals who are well prepared for the workforce.
While bringing on interns is certainly a chance for the company to test someone’s skillsets, the internship is also a chance for the intern to assess whether they see themselves working for your company longer term. Thankfully, thoughtful planning for your internship program can lead to an equal value exchange where the student gets great experience and the company gets results.
Find Advancing San Diego’s complete guide for building a successful internship program, complete with considerations for remote workers, here: Making the most of (remote) interns.
Employers select seven ‘Preferred Providers’ to supply qualified software engineering talent for first internship cohort
San Diego – As a way to broaden and diversify San Diego’s talent pipeline, Advancing San Diego – a program led by San Diego Regional EDC – will provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully-funded internships. Advancing San Diego internships are available to companies with fewer than 100 employees looking for better access to STEM talent to develop inclusive opportunities for all students. Companies can apply here.
“If we want to grow our regional economy, we must remove barriers that small companies face in accessing qualified workers,” said Nikia Clarke, vice president of economic development at San Diego Regional EDC. “Today, 73% of San Diego’s job growth is going to come from small businesses, yet our research has shown that many of these companies don’t have the time or money to invest in recruiting skilled-talent. We’ve 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 those skills , and then we use our talent development fund to create pathways for San Diegans into quality jobs in the companies that need them most.”
The Advancing San Diego program is helping the region achieve its inclusive growth goals. To ensure future competitiveness, San Diego must double the production of local workers with in-demand degrees or credentials by 2030. Achieving this goal requires collaboration between public and private sectors – educators and employers – as well as a focus on equity and inclusion. Better alignment of industry and education systems means that institutions can more effectively prepare San Diegans from all backgrounds for high-demand jobs and employers can establish and expand recruitment relationships with locally-serving institutions.
In its first round of internships, Advancing San Diego will place software engineering talent who will soon be followed by cohorts of interns with backgrounds in general engineering, and marketing/operations.
Applying for Advancing San Diego: How it works
Advancing San Diego will fully subsidize the cost of interns for more than 100 small companies in San Diego, with priority for companies in STEM industries that are poised for high growth in coming years. Once a company certifies it meets eligibility requirements, the company will ‘apply’ to Advancing San Diego.
Advancing San Diego has also hired a staffing partner that will coordinate interviews, scheduling, and placement, and who will serve as a resource for the interns throughout their duration of the internship.
In addition to providing each intern with a wage of $16.50 an hour, each intern will be eligible for up to $500 to be used on miscellaneous expenses including transportation to the internship site, wardrobe, training services and more.
As part of the first software engineering cohort, Advancing San Diego interns will be sourced from Preferred Providers – programs recognized by employers for providing the skills and training necessary for students to pursue jobs or internships in software engineering positions. Students from Preferred Provider programs will come from diverse backgrounds and will be at varying stages of their education journey. Each Preferred Provider was evaluated against a skills-based criteria for entry-level software engineers that was created by employers.
Software Engineering Preferred Providers:
CSU San Marcos – Computer Science Department
Mesa College – Computer and Information Science Department
MiraCosta College – Computer Science Department
San Diego Code School – Full Stack JS Apprenticeship Program
San Diego State University – Computer Science Department
UC San Diego – Jacobs School of Engineering
UC San Diego Extension
Advancing San Diego will facilitate the placement of students from these programs into jobs or internships with selected companies.
Understanding Advancing San Diego
In 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.
“JPMorgan Chase firmly believes in San Diego’s legacy of collaboration. That’s why we’ve invested in Advancing San Diego knowing that our community partners will work closely together with small businesses and higher education to ensure San Diego’s future competitiveness,” said Aaron Ryan, San Diego regional leader for middle market banking at JPMorgan Chase. “By developing advanced workforce skills and providing pathways to the jobs of the future, San Diego’s brightest citizens and businesses will be equipped for success for years to come.”
Advancing San Diego is a collaborative effort to address skilled talent shortages and increase diversity in high-growth, high demand jobs. This effort aligns economic development, workforce development, educational systems and industry around a set of common goals: increase completions of degrees and credentials for high-demand jobs and provide pathways to placements in those jobs for San Diegans. Advancing San Diego collects and communicates employer’s talent needs, identifies education programs providing top-quality training and covers the cost of internships for students of those programs in small companies.
To learn more about Advancing San Diego, visit advancingSD.org.
To apply to host a fully-funded software engineering intern, apply here.
About San Diego Regional EDC
San Diego Regional EDC mobilizes business, government and civic leaders around an inclusive economic development strategy in order to connect data to decision making, maximize regional prosperity, enhance global competitiveness, and position San Diego effectively for investment and talent. sandiegobusiness.org
Fueled by tech, defense, and life science industries, San Diego’s innovation economy relies on a pipeline of diverse talent. However, local companies continue to cite access to quality talent as a persistent challenge–98% of firms in San Diego are small companies (fewer than 100 employees) that often lack time and resources to effectively compete for talent with their larger counterparts. Meanwhile, many San Diegans are disconnected from high-demand job opportunities like software engineering, largely due to education requirements.
Made possible by JPMorgan Chase, Advancing San Diego is a demand-driven strategy to address talent shortages and remove barriers for small companies to access qualified workers. It is a collaborative effort between San Diego Regional EDC, San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association, San Diego Workforce Partnership, City of San Diego, and United Way of San Diego.
Over the last six months, Advancing San Diego partners worked with a group of 17 employers to develop a skills-based criteria for the region’s highest growth position over the past five years–software engineers. We asked that any education provider meeting that criteria apply for the Preferred Provider designation. An employer review panel then evaluated these applicants against the skills criteria to determine which programs should be designated as ‘Preferred Providers’, recognized as effectively preparing individuals for jobs and internships in software engineering.
EDC is excited to announce the first round of Preferred Providers of software talent.
Preferred Providers (Full Designation) – defined as fully preparing individuals for software engineering jobs.
Over the next three years, Advancing San Diego will cover the cost of internships for Preferred Provider students within up to 100 small companies. Students will also participate in industry engagement opportunities such as career fairs and networking events, and become eligible for up to $500 each in flexible funds to support their success in the workplace. The Preferred Provider (full) and (partial) designations come with the same set of benefits. The first cohort will be placed in Summer 2020.
If you are a small company (<100 employees) that is interested in receiving interns from STEM fields and meets the eligibility criteria, apply now!
How education programs can get involved:
Advancing San Diego will continue to designate Preferred Providers in a variety of high-demand fields. Preferred Provider criteria and applications are updated and reviewed on an annual basis. The Preferred Provider application schedule is as follows:
Through it all, EDC impacted 5,228 jobs and worked on 179 projects – supported by companies, investors, community partners, and more – on behalf of San Diego’s economy. While our work spans multiple industries and organizations, with various programs and goals, there’s an universal thread that ties it all together: build a more inclusive economy that benefits all San Diegans.
As we close out 2019 and another successful decade, let us recap our top 10 wins for San Diego…
San Diego: Life. Changing.’s Just Say No to Winter campaign received national attention
Going into its fourth year, SD: Life. Changing. is our award-winning campaign that aims to attract and retain talent for our region. We kicked off 2019 with Just Say No to Winter, a transit and social media campaign that targeted STEM talent in Boston, Chicago, and New York during the peak of winter with information about career opportunities in San Diego. Thanks to this go-viral marketing push – and coverage in The New York Times, the nationally-syndicated program “The List,” and more – we saw 34X the ROI, 2.6 million social media impressions, and 36K video views.
EDC received its largest grant in history, catalyzing Advancing San Diego
World Trade Center SD’s MetroConnect export assistance program had its best year yet
Made possible through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co., MetroConnect provides small- and medium-sized companies with the resources necessary to expand into global markets. During the 2018-19 program, companies in MetroConnect IV collectively generated a net increase of $69.6 million in export sales, signed 369 international contracts, and opened 10 new facilities overseas. Together, the 20 participating companies also created more than 100 jobs in San Diego – evidence that exporting supports the increase of jobs locally.
While the growth of our innovation economy has created tremendous opportunity, it has also perpetuated systemic inequities. 2019 was all about elevating an inclusive economic development strategy – the lens in which EDC views all of its work – so that economic growth is seen and felt among the entire region. In order to effectively do this, EDC’s employer-led Inclusive Growth Steering Committee supported actionable recommendations and measurable targets for creating a San Diego that benefits all residents. By 2030:
With support from EDC, Cubic Corporation secured $8.5M in tax credits & broke ground on its new HQ
“Since our founding in 1951, we have established strong roots in the San Diego community and it was very important for us to remain headquartered here. The San Diego Regional EDC was an integral resource for our redevelopment. They were able to strategically bring key partners together and secure incentives that best positioned us to redevelop our headquarters in the Kearny Mesa area.” – Anshooman Aga, executive vice president and CFO at Cubic Corporation
EDC managed San Diego’s Integration Pilot Program (IPP), propelling 1,150+ successful missions
From monitoring coastal erosion to fighting wildfires, drones offer enormous social and environmental benefits. San Diego is currently one of 10 state, local, and tribal governments to participate in the Integration Pilot Program, which has allowed our region to be at the forefront of an industry that is expected to reach a $43 billion market value by 2024.
EDC produced 24 reports to help residents and businesses better understand San Diego’s economy
EDC provides research and data to local companies, site selectors, and civic leaders to help them make well-informed decisions about our economy. From monthly reports (and videos) that chart key economic indictors to customized economic impact reports for companies, EDC’s research helped the regional stakeholders better understand this place we call home.
Innovate78 ampliﬁed its reach along the 78 Corridor, convening more than 500+ individuals
International partnerships take time, but based on initial meetings on the trade mission, San Diego has planted the seed for long-term relationships with major companies, including BMW, IBM, Siemens, Daimler, and more.
Since the program’s inception earlier this year, Northrop Grumman has partnered with MiraCosta College and Palomar College for the pilot phase of the program during the 2019-2020 school year and is exploring additional partnerships through the San Diego & Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA) for the 2020-2021 school year.
“Establishing a framework to collaborate with education systems is necessary for building a strong local talent pipeline and supports a long-term workforce planning strategy,” said Alfredo Ramirez, vice president, engineering, Northrop Grumman. “Our decision to develop a community college pilot fills a critical gap bridging K-12 and university programming, allowing us to reach and engage students in San Diego throughout their education journey.”
Check out the video below to see how Northrop Grumman’s program is building a better regional economy that benefits all San Diegans and directly supporting the goals set forth by EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee.
Looking to start your own talent pipeline program?
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. The program 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.
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.
“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.
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.