Create diverse talent pipelines through apprenticeships

EDC, Apprenti partner to grow local talent pipeline

The region’s manufacturing companies employ more than 116,000 skilled San Diegans who lead on the development and production of cutting-edge, life-changing technology. However, amid a nationwide talent shortage, companies everywhere are challenged to maximize their growth.

Through a new partnership between EDC and Apprenti, advanced manufacturers are invited to host registered apprentices in order to create a pipeline of critical talent and support the growth of the region’s workforce.

THE PARTNERS

EDC recognizes talent as the cornerstone of economic growth and works to leverage employer engagement, work-based learning, and unique company solutions to broaden San Diego’s pool of diverse, qualified talent. In complement, Seattle-based apprenticeship center Apprenti provides the resources to support employers in developing a strong apprenticeship pipeline. Through this partnership catalyzed during EDC’s 2023 Leadership Trip, talent is sourced, assessed, trained, and placed at participating manufacturing companies. EDC and Apprenti will also manage the administrative burden of registering through state and federal systems.

WHO SHOULD PARTICIPATE?

Program participants should operate in the advanced manufacturing space, with their workforce requiring technical skills without an advanced degree. These skills might include working with advanced technology, electrical and mechanical equipment, automated machinery, and foundational scientific concepts. Suitable companies can be from industries including consumer goods, life sciences, medical devices, and technology, among others.

WHY PARTICIPATE?

POTENTIAL TIMELINE

  • Summer 2024: Apprentices begin training in the classroom part time and working part time on the job.
  • Winter 2026: Apprentices complete classroom training, apprenticeship ends, and employers bring individuals on full time at full salary.

COST

  • EDC investors: $3,000 per apprentice
  • Non-investors: $3,500 per apprentice

The price covers services provided by Apprenti and EDC in sourcing talent, conducting aptitude tests, completing state and federal administrative requirements, providing ongoing apprenticeship programmatic support, and coordinating with training partners around funding and qualified curriculum. It does not include the cost of related coursework (which could be as low as $0) nor wages for the apprentice(s), which must be at least 60 percent of the average wage paid to other individuals in the same role at your company.

To learn more or join the cohort, contact:

Taylor Dunne
Taylor Dunne

Director, Talent Initiatives

 

EDC designates region’s top computing and engineering programs

To fill talent gaps, regional employers vet training curriculum aligned to industry needs

Together with more than a dozen industry partners, EDC is proud to announce the newly designated Verified Programs. Celebrated by industry as best preparing students for jobs in computing and engineering roles these 30 education programs represent 16 different institutions across San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Programs were verified as part of a rigorous evaluation process led by Advancing San Diego, the flagship program of EDC’s Talent Initiatives, which serves to double the production of skilled workers in San Diego while prioritizing historically underrepresented populations in the innovation economy.

San Diego and the nation are facing a talent supply and demand challenge; as innovation clusters grow and non-STEM roles become more technical, increased access to training is critical for sustained economic progress. At the same time, we are seeing demographic changes that will completely change the workforce. More than 50 percent of San Diego’s seventh graders are people of color, a group that has been historically left out when accessing high-wage, high-demand careers. Additionally, across the U.S. nearly 25 percent of the workforce is at or nearing retirement age. To build the talent pipeline of the future, we must ensure San Diegans can reach their highest potential by improving access to quality training programs for job seekers and employers alike.

“Dating back to 2019, Advancing San Diego has formalized EDC’s work to connect industry to local post-secondary education programs—universities, community colleges, and non-traditional training providers—to help meet San Diego’s talent demands. This roster of Verified Programs offers employers a go-to for sourcing qualified talent across the region, helping fill in-demand jobs and supporting San Diego’s inclusive growth and competitiveness,” said Taylor Dunne, Director of Talent Initiatives at EDC.

How programs are verified

Employers vetted applicants at EDC’s ‘Reaching Tomorrow’s Talent’ event on November 15, which brought together more than 150 attendees from business, education, and community who are working to close talent gaps by aligning training with industry needs.

Status as a Verified Program indicates five critical elements of a program:

  • Alignment of educational curriculum with industry requisites of necessary hard skills (ex: coding)
  • Alignment of educational curriculum with industry requisites of necessary soft skills (ex: problem solving)
  • Continuous engagement with industry
  • Ability to reach and serve a diverse student population
  • Proven history of collaboration along the education continuum and with critical community organizations

By participating, local training programs got an inside look at critical skill expectations leading industries has for entry level talent, especially amid rapid technology advancement. The two-part verification process required training programs to share training modules or syllabi, proving a connection between learning outcomes and the expressed needs of industry. Each program also had to be prepared for in-person conversations with industry regarding DEI efforts, general collaboration, and more. The 30 programs verified in this round represent 31,000 students, and join a roster of 21 others across key industries including Healthcare, Business, and Life Sciences.

“Participation in the Advancing San Diego Verified Program process always proves beneficial for our programs, encouraging further reflection on learning objectives and the needs of local industry” said Dr. Lynn Neault, Chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District and EDC board member. “From engineering to nursing to skilled trades, we know how important it is that our district’s colleges are offering training to build a strong talent pipeline for our community. We’re honored to have been recognized as part of the region’s Verified Programs.”

hire summer interns at no cost

With the new designation comes the opportunity for students of publicly-funded programs to take advantage of paid work-based learning experiences. In conjunction with Border Region Talent Pipeline K-16 Collaborative, companies in San Diego and Imperial Counties are invited to apply to host funded computing, engineering, and/or business interns for Summer 2024, sourced exclusively from the Verified Programs roster.

Apply by March 7

“Left Coast Engineering has hired bright local students from funded internship programs like this for three summers and we are always pleased with their preparedness and professionalism,” said Anita Baranowski, CEO of Left Coast Engineering. “As a small engineering design business, we are grateful for the opportunity to expand our headcount and support work for and training of local students as part of Advancing San Diego, all without adding to our payroll.”

Verified Programs of Computing

Verified Programs of Engineering

Learn More About Advancing San Diego

Host summer interns at no cost

funded summer internship program

In conjunction with the Border Region Talent Pipeline K-16 Collaborativecompanies in San Diego and Imperial Counties are invited to apply to host funded computing, engineering, and/or business interns for the summer of 2024. Internship applicants will be sourced through Advancing San Diego’s Verified Programs, ensuring they are learning the industry’s most in-demand skills. Intern host companies will have the chance to interview and select candidates from a pre-screened pool of students. This is a great opportunity for companies to strengthen and diversify talent pipelines and fill shortages for critical jobs. Read how Rady’s Children’s Hospital leveraged an Advancing San Diego paid internship program to help solve their talent shortages. Applications due March 7.

Application part I

Application part II

TIMELINE

  • March 7 applications due
  • March 19 at 8 a.m. company onboarding session*
  • May 6–May 11 companies interview first round of student applicants*
  • May 28–June 1 interviews with second round of student applicants (if necessary)*
  • May/June students begin internships (flexible start date)

*Intern supervisors must be available these dates.

AVAILABLE TALENT
Below are sample positions, considering student ability based on Verified Program criteria. Companies will be asked to alter these job descriptions to fit their unique company needs.

COMPUTING INTERNSHIPS

ENGINEERING INTERNSHIPS

BUSINESS INTERNSHIPS

Please note, these funded internships will only be available to students of publicly-funded Verified Programs. San Diego Regional EDC is committed to improving access to quality jobs for all San Diegans. Please contact us for information about opportunities outside of this program.

Questions? Contact EDC:

Olivia Jones
Olivia Jones

Coordinator, Talent Initiatives

Seattle Leadership Trip: An exercise in authenticity

Authored by Lisette Islas, Executive VP and Chief Impact Officer at MAAC, and EDC Vice Chair of Inclusive Growth

“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”

Most every year, EDC hosts a Leadership Trip to a strategic metro. Guided by our Inclusive Growth strategy, the trips help expose dozens of San Diego’s private sector, nonprofit, academic, and government leaders to other regions engaged in similar work. After all, it sometimes takes stepping outside of our region to get the best look at who we are and who we want to be. This year: Seattle, Washington.

With more than 30 of San Diego’s most committed leaders in tow, we arrived in Seattle this July ready to learn about what makes the Pacific Northwest region so successful and what challenges have stymied it most. EDC’s President and CEO Mark Cafferty kicked off the three-day trip with the above Friday Night Lights quote to help frame the goals of the trip, plus the mindset needed to act once back home.

Clear eyes

Seattle is a true peer metro to San Diego, home to a globally competitive innovation cluster with audacious goals for its growth. While Seattle’s cost of living is lower than San Diego’s, it is the fastest-growing city in the country and rising home prices have led to gentrification and displacement. The state of Washington needs another Seattle’s-worth of housing units to address its housing supply shortage. The clarity of their direction and of their challenges comes from an impeccable degree of detail and data, both on their goals and on where they are falling short in meeting them. For example:

  • Jobs: Eighty of Seattle’s CEOs made commitments to increase supplier diversity, yet only 0.1 percent of procurement can be tracked back to Black-owned businesses. (There was no mention of metrics on Latino-owned businesses.) These companies don’t always have consistent vendor data tracking—and you can’t improve what you can’t measure.
  • Talent: Nationwide, more than 375,000 tech jobs remain unfilled. Given that each year as a country we graduate 75,000 computer science degrees and distribute 65,000 H1B visas in tech, that still leaves 235,000 jobs that must be filled in other ways. As home to some of the largest tech companies in the world including Amazon and Microsoft, Seattle has recognized the imperative for sourcing talent in new ways. Notably, through tech apprenticeship model Apprenti, companies can recruit people from non-tech backgrounds using an anonymized, skills-based application process to remove all the bias you don’t want and focus on all the talent you do. Eighty-six percent of these apprenticeships convert into full-time jobs after one year.
  • Households: Through Challenge Seattle and their partners at Boston Consulting Group, the region has identified the root of a housing shortage challenge that looks very familiar to San Diego’s. Challenge Seattle identified the housing size, price, and place needed to make a dent in the lack of supply facing the region. Additionally, the group put out 15 long-term and four short-term recommendations for policy change ranging from zoning reform to below-market financing, and more.

Full hearts

One inspiring moment was when our group heard from Alesha Washington, CEO of the Seattle Foundation, on the region’s continued struggles, which she says are often masked by its rapid growth and prominent tech companies. The region is majority white, and the economic hardships are most felt by people of color. Simply calling past policies what they were—racist—provides a sense of freedom to manage them directly and without ambiguity.

Another point of encouragement came in the context that while the Seattle metro accounts for more than half of the state’s population, it cannot succeed alone. Many of the challenges it faces are felt across the rest of Washington, so statewide cooperation is needed to solve them. Framing Seattle’s housing crisis as urgent to the state’s overall economic prosperity is one way Challenge Seattle has done just that.

Can’t lose

Perhaps the most galvanizing moment was during our closing session as the group took stock of all they had heard, shared what stood out the most, and reflected on our region’s own inclusive growth journey. What resonated most was the sense that, like our peer, San Diego has come a long way. When the economic case for inclusion was first developed in 2017, the road seemed long and the goals unreachable. However, despite the setbacks brought on by the pandemic, progress is being made – with EDC’s latest progress report launching next month. With an inclusive economic development agenda acting as a compass, many local organizations have shifted their focus or direction—and even small changes can have big impacts. As Halé Richardson of HomeFed Corporation put it, “Fueled by this ongoing dialogue, we’re now prioritizing childcare centers over swimming pools.”

For decades, the inclusion challenge was left only to the social services and philanthropic community to solve. Now, the business case has been made and it is clear inclusive growth is imperative to the region’s competitiveness. Without it, industry too will cease to thrive.

Economic development is an exercise in authenticity.

In San Diego, we know our data story well too. The challenges facing our region require all of us to adapt in order to create more quality jobs, skilled talent, and thriving households. If we are to remain competitive and attractive to both businesses and talent, we must embrace the challenges head-on, with each sector—public, private, non-profit—doing its part to promote a more inclusive San Diego. In the months ahead, EDC will convene select groups to make that clear and build on this momentum.

I remain committed to exploring different avenues for how we broaden and deepen our work across our three goals—through my role at EDC, my work at MAAC, and my engagement with our region at large—as a member of the community that cares deeply about San Diego’s future.

We may not reach all our stated goals by 2030, but the mere fact that we are striving toward them guarantees that we will be better off than than we are today.

Learn more about EDC’s Inclusive Growth work

See the San Diego-Seattle regional comparison

See past leadership trip recaps

Talent Pipeline Management: EDC’s talent framework

As total student debt continues to climb in the United States, and the hope that some would see relief fades, the need for new and more affordable approaches to training and education grows. In San Diego, it is projected that 84 percent of new jobs created by 2030 will require some sort of post-secondary education. However, restricted access to formal higher education means there will not be enough people to meet employer demand. This is compounded by San Diego’s increasing reliance on (and leadership in) intellectual property and technology that changes faster than curriculum can keep pace with.

It’s clear the days of leaning entirely on traditional education systems to prepare the entire economy’s workforce are behind us, and yet the demand for talent with the skills and educational training necessary to perform complex tasks such as research and development still very much exists. Jobs in the innovation economy are high-paying, resilient, and each one supports two jobs elsewhere in the economy. These jobs are critical to San Diego’s story, so companies must be creative about what this new age of recruitment and workforce preparation looks like.

There is a science to knowing how many skills and competencies a new hire should have learned from a training program, and how much training a company should expect to build into onboarding. The equation to find out exactly where that line is being drawn is called Talent Pipeline Management® (TPM).

An employer-led, data-driven approach.

San Diego Regional EDC’s alignment with the TPM framework is rooted in shared values around being authentically employer-led and data-driven. With between 75,000 and 85,000 monthly job postings and an average of just 59,000 unemployed San Diegans each month to fill them, San Diego (along with the rest of the nation) faces a talent shortage. This is the business case for changing the way we develop talent in the region.

“TPM leverages lessons learned from supply chain management, strategies, and tools to help employers and employer associations play the role of an end-customer in a talent supply chain.”

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

September, 26, 2022 - Washington, DC, USA: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hosts TPM National Learning Network Summit reception. Photo by Joshua Roberts / © U.S. Chamber of Commerce
From left to right: EDC Sr. Manager Taylor Dunne with other California TPM users Annie Sterling, Loren Kaye, and Lex Carlsson.

How EDC uses the framework.

Since 2019, EDC and its partners have worked together to convene multiple Employer Working Groups (EWG), made up of more than 70 companies from across industries, to lead in the reshaping and development of talent pipelines in our region.

The TPM framework is broken down into the following six strategies. This is how EDC leverages each one to build talent in our region:

  1. Organize for employer leadership and collaboration: Create a collaborative that organizes employers to identify the most promising opportunities for engagement around similar workforce needs.
    Leveraging EDC and partner networks, we convene five to 10 companies to discuss talent needs that persist across industry. Company representatives including hiring managers, recruiters, or talent acquisition specialists are invited to attend meetings focused on occupations in their industries.
  1. Project critical job demand: Develop projections for job openings to determine with accuracy the type of talent and how much of it employers need.
    Using labor market information and existing job postings, EDC builds an outline of predicted needs, then shares those predictions with the EWG to see how it resonates with current industry trends. Predicting labor market trends is a useful tool, however it lacks the day-to-day insight of industry knowledge and growth potential. Labor market information also fails to highlight correlating factors that might be contributing to a weak talent pipeline such as retention challenges in a potential feeder role, or misaligned incentives between training programs and employers. Talent needs are better understood when all of this information comes together. Each EWG member is asked to respond to a survey to quantify hiring expectations in a few key roles over the next three to five years.
  1. Align and communicate job requirements: Create a shared language to better communicate competency, credentialing, and other hiring requirements of critical jobs in ways that allow employers to signal similarities and differences.
    As decisions are made for occupations that are most in need of an improved talent pipeline, EDC use current job postings and existing skill frameworks to start building a list of the necessary skills. Employers help to create a shared definition of skills and determine which should be taught in a classroom and which are best suited to learn on the job. This often serves as an opportunity for companies to better understand their own skill requirements and broaden the pool of talent they recruit from. Using this data, EDC produces a Talent Demand Report outlining critical findings and providing guidance for how training providers can improve curriculum to meet industry needs.
  1. Analyze the talent supply: Identify where employers historically source their most qualified talent and analyze the capacity of those sources—as well as untapped talent sources—to meet projected demand.
    EDC provides a platform for local education partners to showcase how they are training to the skills needed, as well as how they are reaching and serving a diverse student population. This approach allows for a fresh look at all training providers in the region, setting aside rankings and accolades to focus on how students are being prepared for quality jobs. In the past, this exercise has led employers to recognize occupations that don’t need a bachelor’s degree, because more accessible associate’s degree or even certificate programs proved to be adequately teaching the skills needed.
  1. Build talent supply chains: Manage the performance of talent supply chains to create a positive return on investment for all partners.
    EDC and core partners continue to work hard to build a workforce and talent pipeline with a stable network of private companies, educational institutions, and community organizations. Identifying the major barriers that limit growth and how this network is equipped to assist in lessening those hurdles remains key in shaping a San Diego for all.
  1. Apply continuous improvement: Use data from the talent supply chain to identify the most promising improvement opportunities to generate a better return on investment in the future.
    Continuous improvement is applied on multiple levels as the programs that use TPM continue to iterate and scale. Whether uncovering a need to improve student preparation for entry-level certification exams, adjust work-based learning opportunities, or any of the other lessons learned over the last four years, EDC and its partners are committed to continuously improving talent pipelines and moving the region closer to its skilled talent goal.

By assessing training providers based on pre-determined employer-set standards, the reliance on historically inaccessible sources of talent is eliminated, opening the aperture for both companies looking to find more diverse, qualified candidates, and for San Diegans preparing for quality jobs in the region.

A TPM case study

In 2020, EDC and Talent Forward, a U.S. Chamber Foundation initiative, released a case study on how the region had been using TPM to reach its goal of doubling the number of skilled workers each year.

READ THE CASE STUDY HERE

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is grateful to learn alongside partners like San Diego Regional EDC as it implements the TPM framework. For the past several years, EDC has demonstrated that employers can lead change management to build high-performing talent pipelines. These efforts have positively impacted so many in the San Diego region: companies, education and training partners, and most importantly, students and workers. We will continue to tout these tremendous achievements and are excited for all that is in store.”

– Jaimie Francis, Vice President of Policy & Programs for the Center for Education and Workforce at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

Leading partnerships for the region.

Today, TPM continues to play an important role in San Diego’s talent development strategies. As the original Advancing Cities funding sunsets, public, private, and philanthropic investments allow the work to continue. EDC partnered with the San Diego Workforce Partnership and CCOE to use TPM to guide CyberHire and other future programs.

Thanks to the leadership of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Foundation and the San Diego and Imperial Valley Community College Consortium, TPM is a leading feature of the Border Region K-16 Talent Pipeline Collaborative where the impacts of the framework will continue to expand.

LEARN MORE AT ADVANCINGSD.ORG

If you are an employer, education provider, or convening organization interested in learning more about TPM, contact:

Taylor Dunne
Taylor Dunne

Director, Talent Initiatives

More like this:

San Diego’s demand for talent: Computing and engineering

With cutting-edge technology companies and research companies, the largest concentration of military assets in the world, and a strong innovation economy, the San Diego region has one of the most dynamic economies in the country. In 2022, more than $4.5 billion in VC funding was raised and more than 186,000 quality jobs were created by the innovation economy. With growing demand for skilled talent, computing and engineering professionals are a central figure in San Diego’s innovation economy.

In partnership with the Border Region Talent Pipeline K-16 Collaborative, Advancing San Diego convened 13 companies that collectively employ more than 21,000 San Diegans into an Employer Working Group (EWG) to gain a real-time picture of San Diego’s talent needs. Leveraging strategies from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Management® framework, Advancing San Diego is excited to unveil a set of Talent Demand Reports that serve as a snapshot of local demand for computing and engineering professionals.

These reports serve as a high-level guide for education providers about the skills and competencies students need for entry-level openings in San Diego. The analysis dives deep into four computing roles: IT support technicians, systems and network administrators, software developers, and information and security analysts, as well as three engineering roles: assembler, engineering technician, and general engineer.

key FINDINGS for computing

  • Software developer is the most in-demand occupation in San Diego’s innovation economy and the second most in-demand job in the economy overall. In 2022, San Diego had more than 17,000 software developer jobs.
  • Cybersecurity roles have seen the most significant job growth over the last three years. Demand for people in information security analyst roles has increased by 19 percent from 2019 – 2022. Additionally, IT support technicians and software developers have seen an 11 percent job growth over the same time period.
  • Soft skills are becoming increasingly important across all computing roles. Communication ranked as the most in-demand employability skill in computing job postings in 2022. Employers agreed that communication, dependability, collaboration, and problem-solving are critical for entry-level candidates.

Computing Talent Demand report   

key FINDINGS for engineering

  • With more than 30,000 general engineering jobs in the region, electrical engineers rank the most in-demand type of engineer according to both labor market information (LMI) and EWG feedback. However, LMI does not reflect the rising demand expressed in the EWG for systems engineers who are often cross-trained, specializing in integrating and managing complex systems.
  • Software-related skills are becoming increasingly important in engineering roles. Skills such as python, computer science, and data analysis rank among the top 10 most in-demand skills within engineering job postings in San Diego.
  • Employers repeatedly emphasize the importance of work-based learning as part of engineers’ training. Models like apprenticeships and cooperative education have emerged as critical for the transition from student to worker.

Engineering Talent Demand report

WHAT’S NEXT?

Join us on November 15 at UC San Diego Park and Market for Advancing San Diego’s Verified Program event. Training programs will present key elements of their curriculum, as well as community engagement, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and industry engagement efforts to employers and community partners for the opportunity to be selected as an Advancing San Diego Verified Program.

Register here

  • Interested in becoming an Advancing San Diego Verified Program? Learn more about the process and benefits here.

 

Contact SDREDC
To learn more, please contact us.

 

Halftime in San Diego

A June note from Mark

When I began working at EDC, I saw a Super Bowl ad that caught my eye—both a car commercial and a moving pep talk in a post-recession era.

As the narrator spoke about “halftime in America” and the opportunity to make a comeback, images of businesses, communities, and people from across the country flashed across the screen. At the end, the narrator’s face came into view as he walked through a locker room tunnel of a packed stadium. You may remember that narrator was actor and director Clint Eastwood, and that his message carried optimism, hope, and resiliency at a critical turning point.

Later that year, to bring that halftime hope home, EDC made our own version with philanthropist and business icon Malin Burnham as our narrator (our Clint Eastwood). You can watch that clip from 2012 here.

And indeed, when we pause at the midpoint to recognize the progress made and refocus on the work still ahead, we are always better for it. This year should be no exception, as EDC recognizes:

  • Our region’s progress toward an inclusive and thriving San Diego at EDC’s Annual Dinner, where we honored Taylor Guitars and WD-40’s Garry Ridge in partnership with Point Loma Nazarene University and JPMorgan Chase & Co.
  • The local and global growth of San Diego small businesses through programs like MetroConnect, and World Trade Center San Diego’s nationally-recognized role in fueling this expansion.
  • AI-Machine Learning technology’s proliferation and job creation in San Diego’s key economic clusters, explored in our AI in San Diego report series with Booz Allen Hamilton.
  • Advancing San Diego’s work to strengthen San Diego’s defense talent pipeline, convening SDMAC and other partners to assess and support emerging shipbuilding needs.

Still, we have work to do—to analyze San Diego’s RNA and Cybersecurity clusters, to lead this fall’s trade mission to Korea with Mayor Gloria, to celebrate your innovation at our annual Summer Bash, and to continue driving inclusive growth.

It’s halftime, San Diego. And it’s with and through your continued leadership, collaboration, and contributions during the months ahead that we will continue to strengthen the region we’re proud to call home.

Mark Cafferty
Mark Cafferty

President & CEO

Read EDC’s Monthly Report

A talent update from EDC

March note from our Talent Initiatives lead

While companies continue to cut costs and make layoffs in the wake of a highly anticipated (though not clearly signaled) recession, the nation’s ratio of available workers to open positions remains less than one to one. This means that there are more open positions across the United States than unemployed people available to fill them. Demographic changes can be attributed to a decline in the working age population following baby boomer retirements, as well as decreased immigration.

And San Diego is not immune to these impacts. In fact, the nature of the region’s highly skilled economy adds even greater complexity. From August to December 2022, there was an average of more than 50,000 people unemployed month over month in San Diego (BLS). During that same period, there were more than 238,000 unique job postings in the region (Lightcast). Of those 238,000 jobs, 31 percent required a bachelor’s degree or higher as a minimum requirement. Currently, these ‘must-haves’ serve as a proxy for a list of technical and interpersonal skills employers are looking for in candidates. But a recent publication by The Burning Glass Institute explores how that assumption, even in the tech industry, has been changing for the better since before the pandemic.

According to a 2021 statement, multinational tech leader IBM has “stripped bachelor’s degree requirements for more than half of [its] U.S. job openings, and [is] continuously reevaluating [its] roles to prioritize skills over specific degrees.”

Like IBM, it’s time for San Diego to rethink talent pipeline development.

Highly educated individuals are important to the growth of our innovation economy, but they cannot (and should not be expected to) fill every job. Not to mention, the nature of diversity, equity, and inclusion means not every hire should be the ‘university-educated type.’ Often, years of experience and/or non-traditional training can both substitute a degree and serve a company better.

For three years, a key feature of the Advancing San Diego program has been to help employers define the skills required for critical jobs—looking beyond the degree(s) and instead at the capability. Using the Talent Pipeline Management model, talent acquisition teams are challenged to step away from habits and traditions and gain a real understanding of the jobs of today and tomorrow. Doing so has the potential to open high-growth, high-wage occupations to opportunity populations—moving the needle on our Inclusive Growth goals and further seeding diversity of thought within companies.

As the three-year, $3 million AdvancingCities grant from JPMorgan Chase sunsets, San Diego and Imperial Valley were pursued and granted $18 million to continue this talent work. This new funding, called the Border Region Inclusive Talent Pipeline Collaborative, builds upon the work of Advancing San Diego by expanding into K-12 education, into new industries, and into new partnerships.

While this investment aligns and strengthens publicly available resources, long-term solutions to workforce challenges will require the investment and creativity of employers like you.

If you’re interested in learning more about Advancing San Diego, or you want to work with the EDC team to dream up and pilot creative talent solutions, let’s talk.

Thank you,

Taylor Dunne
Taylor Dunne

Director, Talent Initiatives

See more in our monthly report

Looking into the crystal ball…

A note from our Senior Director.

Before joining EDC in 2016, I spent more than seven years as an economist and forecaster. On my last day, my boss gifted me a crystal ball as a facetious reminder of how economic forecasting is often more art than science—perhaps mystic, even.

Nearly seven years later, that crystal ball sits on my desk and continues to serve as that reminder. Particularly at the start of every new year. As we look ahead to 2023, there are many economic headwinds to be concerned about—inflation, labor shortages, and record housing unaffordability.

One of the biggest stories at the moment is the massive layoffs in the technology industry. This news is incredibly painful for those who have lost their jobs and should not be minimized. However, much of the reduction in workforce reflects a reversal of the over-extension by these firms in 2022. More importantly, there is a silver lining for those workers affected in that nearly every industry is still hiring and struggling to fill currently open positions. The country currently has the lowest ratio of available workers to unfilled positions in 15 years.

When we look at the San Diego region more specifically, we find that many of the large layoff announcements come from companies with small and or niche presence in San Diego. Last week, official employment statistics were published that showed San Diego’s unemployment rate fell again in December to 2.9 percent. The region ended the year with 50,500 more jobs and saw the labor force grow 1.2 percent. San Diego’s labor market ended 2022 in one of its strongest positions on record.

Throughout 2022, San Diego companies posted more than 53,000 unique jobs openings. As we begin 2023, local employers are still hiring. In fact, during the first few weeks of the new year, local tech companies have already posted 1,213 unique positions with a median advertised salary of $92,000.

The news of tech layoffs and high cost of financing has not scared off investors from San Diego startups. Rather they are flocking toward quality companies with serious growth prospects—something our region is known for. During the fourth quarter of 2022, San Diego tech startups pulled in $671 million in venture capital funding, which continues to trend up relative to pre-pandemic levels.

So when I look at that crystal ball, I see…well I don’t see much. But when I look at the data and past the news headlines, I see a San Diego economy that is diverse and resilient. I see a region that is well positioned to usher the next era of semi-conductor production and clean technology innovation.

While the winds may shift, our north star remains the same. Nationwide talent shortages are a stark reminder that we must build our own skilled workforce. We must continue to support quality job growth in our small businesses by connecting them to new customers locally and around the globe. We must invest in the infrastructure needed to ensure businesses can grow and working families can afford to enjoy all that our beautiful region has to offer. Together, we can make our economic vision a reality.

Happy new year,

Eduardo Velasquez
Eduardo Velasquez

Sr. Director, Research & Economic Development

Read EDC’s Monthly Report

For the latest on EDC, visit our events and news page to stay engaged.

A note from Mark…

Gratitude abounds.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I am struck by just how fast the past year has gone by. While the last few years have made it easy (and more than justified) to lament so much of what we have all been through—and what so many people are still going through—I want to use the inspiration of the month to give thanks.

The EDC team just recently moved into our new offices on the fourth floor of UC San Diego Park & Market in Downtown San Diego. And when you go through a big office move after being in the same place for more than a decade, you find a few reminders of what has made the work so important and special over the years. Through thank you notes from past colleagues, to small gifts and tokens from trade missions and visiting delegations, to photographs of different generations of team members, investors, and partners, the memories come rushing back.

Work, I have always found, can be as important to who we are and who we become as family, friends, education, environment, and the many other factors that help shape our lives. As colleagues, co-workers, supervisors, leaders, and partners, we not only have an opportunity to contribute to organizations, missions, and/or visions that matter to us, we have the opportunity to contribute to the lives of those we cross paths with every day.

As I looked through the thank you, farewell, and congratulations notes I have received (and saved) over the years, I started to recognize a pretty obvious trend: In my 30 years in the workforce, what has mattered the most to others hasn’t been the successes, failures, promotions, achievements, innovations, or inspirations that can often be associated with management and leadership positions and organizational successes. It has been the way we treat each other during the simplest or most challenging of times that matters the most. Almost more than words can express.

To everyone who has played a role in making my days better over the last 10 years at EDC and the last 20 years in San Diego, I am so thankful for your presence in my work and in my life. In the days we have left in 2022, let’s try to take some time to reach out to those who matter most to us and tell them why. Just an e-mail, a voicemail, or a few kind spoken or written words can become such an important treasure to someone around you, that they just might still have them sitting nearby in their (new) office decades later.

Below are some of the ways you can engage with the EDC team and our work in the coming weeks. We’re thankful as always for your investment, partnership, and support that makes it all possible…

Best,

Mark Cafferty
Mark Cafferty

President & CEO

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