San Diego launches new initiative to look inward to address regional talent shortages

Advancing San Diego

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 that 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.

The Advancing San Diego initiative
In April 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. Advancing San Diego is a collaborative program by San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, the City of San Diego, San Diego Workforce Partnership, United Way of San Diego, and San Diego & Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA).

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.

Additionally, businesses with fewer than 100 employees make up 98 percent of San Diego firms, and on average, are challenged to compete with larger employer wages. As part of EDC’s inclusive growth strategy, more than 35 employers (and counting) have endorsed a regional goal to create 50,000 new quality jobs within small businesses by 2030. To further engage small businesses, nearly half of the funding for Advancing San Diego will be used to subsidize internships within small businesses and offer additional services that support student success in the workplace.

“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.

Additional key findings include:

  • 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.

View the full interactive web report—“San Diego’s Demand for Software Talent Report”—here.

**Read the full press release here.**

San Diego employers endorse regional goal to create 50,000 new quality jobs within small businesses by 2030

Today, San Diego Regional EDC and its employer-led Inclusive Growth Steering Committee officially endorsed a regional goal to create 50,000 new quality jobs within small businesses by 2030. Driven by EDC’s latest study release, Equipping Small Businesses to Compete, the regional goal and accompanying set of employer recommendations aim to help small businesses in San Diego to compete.

“If you care about the future of San Diego—economic competitiveness and mobility—then you need to pay attention to small businesses,” said Janice Brown, board chair, San Diego Regional EDC. “From large employers to elected officials, it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure that small businesses have the tools to succeed.”

In its new study, EDC found that while small businesses—those with fewer than 100 employees—employ the majority of San Diego’s workforce, only 26 percent of jobs in small businesses are quality jobs—those that pay enough for economic security (paying wages of at least $40,529 per year or $19.49 per hour).

Additional key findings include:

  • Due to financial challenges, small businesses pay 14 percent lower average wages.
  • Only 36 percent of all businesses are minority-owned, and about the same proportion are woman-owned.
  • Opportunity industries, such as construction and transportation, offer a greater number of quality jobs than many innovation industries, including precision health and cybersecurity. Additionally, many opportunity industry jobs can be accessed without a bachelor’s degree.

Citing these key findings, it’s important for the region to invest in diverse founders, support existing small businesses, and focus on job growth within opportunity industries. San Diego will be able to drive a greater economic impact and broaden access to quality jobs, especially for people residing in communities with lower rates of educational attainment.

“When small businesses succeed, it leads to more quality jobs, better local economies, and healthier communities,” said Jane Finley, senior vice president and area manager, Kaiser Permanente. “We support this goal and invest in programs like Inner City Capital Connections because Kaiser Permanente believes that investing in small businesses and creating more quality jobs leads to improved health and well-being for every San Diego resident.”

EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee is led by large employers, who understand the crucial role that small businesses play in the regional economy.

In order to meet its goal by 2030, the Inclusive Growth Steering Committee is committed to collaborating with other regional employers through the following actions:

  1. Transparency – connect with and better understand existing local service providers to strengthen their capacity and resiliency.
  2. Engagement – commit to mentoring and/or building strategic partnerships with small businesses in high-growth, high-wage industries, particularly from underrepresented groups (women, minority, veteran, disabled, low-moderate income).
  3. Investment – invest directly in small business support programs, such as supplier diversification and growth acceleration initiatives.

For more information about these actionable recommendations or a complete list of employers committed to this effort, visit smallbiz.inclusivesd.org.

EDC’S INCLUSIVE GROWTH INITIATIVE

In 2018, EDC launched a data-driven initiative focused on promoting inclusive growth as an economic imperative, emphasizing that San Diego employers must take active measures to promote inclusion, or the region will no longer be able to compete with other regions. Together with its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee, EDC aims to set regional targets and release actionable recommendations for three main goals: build a strong local talent pool; equip small businesses to compete; and address the affordability crisis.

Additionally, San Diego recently won a $3 million grant from JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities program to further propel the inclusive growth initiative and its goals.

For more information about the Inclusive Growth initiative, visit inclusiveSD.org. Join the conversation at #inclusiveSD.

**Read the full press release.**

San Diego receives $3 million investment from JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities Challenge

Today, JPMorgan Chase has announced that San Diego is one of five cities to win a $3 million grant from the AdvancingCities Challenge. Launched in 2018, the inaugural competition is a $500 million, five-year initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity in cities across the United States. This grant will be used to fund a new collaborative program—Advancing San Diego.

“The Advancing San Diego program is going to be a game-changer and will provide resources to underserved communities that need it most,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “It’s going to lift up our small businesses, prepare San Diegans for skilled jobs and make a real difference in people’s lives. It’s also going to level the playing field so that no matter where you grow up in San Diego, you have access to opportunity. I want to thank JPMorgan Chase for choosing San Diego, as well as the San Diego Regional EDC and all of the participating agencies who supported our proposal.”

JPMorgan Chase received more than 250 applications from 143 communities. Among the four other winning cities in the U.S.—Chicago, IL; Louisville, KY; Miami, FL; and Syracuse, NY—San Diego was selected because its proposal successfully outlined local coalitions of elected, business, and nonprofit leaders who will work together to address major social and economic challenges such as employment barriers, financial insecurity, and neighborhood disinvestment.

Through Advancing San Diego, EDC and its partners will collectively work to double the production of skilled workers by 2030 and enhance relationships between local employers and the region’s education systems. The concept incorporates a demand-driven, employer-led strategy to both connect underrepresented residents with high-demand jobs, while also providing small business access to diverse talent applicants. More specifically, these efforts focus on elevating San Diego’s Hispanic population, who is projected to be San Diego’s largest demographic group by 2030. Currently, 84 percent of Hispanics do not hold a bachelor’s degree and are drastically underrepresented in the region’s innovation economy.

With unemployment rates at multiyear lows, companies need to compete for talent like never before. The good news is that our future talent pool— the engineers, scientists, data analysts— will be homegrown,” said Janice Brown, Board Chair, San Diego Regional EDC. “EDC has embarked on Advancing San Diego— a collaborative effort between business, nonprofit, philanthropy and academia, aimed to increase degree and credential completions required for high demand jobs and support the small businesses that drive our economy forward.”

The San Diego of tomorrow is going to look very different than the San Diego of today. With the AdvancingCities Challenge, EDC is able to support its existing inclusive growth efforts, which aim to build a strong local talent pipeline, equip small businesses to compete, and address the affordability crisis. Together with San Diego Workforce Partnership, San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA), United Way of San Diego County, and City of San Diego, San Diego Regional EDC is leading a region wide approach to sustain growth throughout San Diego County.

To learn more about AdvancingCities and the other AdvancingCities Challenge Winners, visit jpmorganchase.com/advancingcities.

Join us in Advancing San Diego. For more information about EDC’s inclusive growth efforts, visit sandiegobusiness.org/inclusivegrowth.

*Read the full press release.*