Reflections on our trade mission by WTCSD’s director

Thriving Cities Trade Mission to the Netherlands

Two weeks have passed since our return from the Netherlands Trade Mission, and I continue to think back on how effectively public and private sector forces work together to develop the infrastructure for trains, busses, bicycles, cars, and even canal boats to coexist in harmony. 

After three years of pandemic-related travel limitations, it was refreshing and inspiring to hit the road again, this time with San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and 29 of our region’s most influential and collaborative business, academic, political, and economic leaders. This delegation carried the San Diego banner in one of the world’s leading metros for innovation and circular urban development—the Netherlands—a country engineered out of the sea. 

Learn why the netherlands → 

We kicked off the mission by hosting the Thriving Cities Mayoral Forum, where we explored the leading role that cities play in driving circular/sustainable development with insight from Mayor Gloria, Amsterdam Mayor Halsema, and other innovation leaders from both regions.

We visited Qualcomm’s largest AI research hub outside of San Diego to celebrate its expansion, and learn about its partnership with the University of Amsterdam, QUVA, which supports a pipeline of engineering talent.  

Joined by SANDAG Chair Catherine Blakespear and leadership at San Diego’s higher education institutions, we visited TNO, the premier applied research organization of the Dutch government to see its newest tool in action—a ‘digital twin’ of a region that overlays conditions for traffic, energy usage, pollution, and more, with the option to toggle different variables to see how the conditions interact with each other.  

Our delegation then headed to ‘the smartest kilometer in Europe’ to visit Philips and ASML, the largest medical systems and technology companies in the Netherlands, respectively, that both have existing and growing operations in San Diego. 

We also brought together three Commissioners and the CEO of the Port of San Diego in the Port of Rotterdam to learn about circular and efficient operations at Europe’s busiest port and share the exciting developments we have underway on our beautiful waterfront. 

And perhaps one of the most inspiring moments of our trade mission happened on our last day, when WTCSD’s MetroConnect companies Trabus Technologies and Nano PharmaSolutions pitched to Port of Rotterdam and Leiden Bio Science Park leaders, respectively, for foreign investment. 

As we settle back into life in San Diego, our delegation brings home a fresh perspective on the ways we can address challenges in critical areas such as transportation and urban development. We see more clearly than ever the value of closer collaboration between the public sector, academia, and private business. In the coming years, we hope to see engineering solutions and transformative technologies like TNO’s Digital Twin being used to aid decision-making in large public works, and large multinationals like ASML and Philips successfully growing their operations in the region. 

Most of all, we look forward to the meaningful relationships and connections built through the mission and the collaboration that will lead to smarter, stronger, more inclusive development for all, right here in San Diego.  

The trade mission is organized by WTCSD, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional EDC, with assistance and support provided by the Consulate of the Netherlands, and sponsorship by ASML, Lufthansa, and Qualcomm Technologies.

Dankjewel,

Lucas Coleman
Lucas Coleman

Director, WTC; Export Specialty SBDC

Read EDC’s Monthly Report

San Diego small businesses pitch for Dutch investment as part of mayoral trade mission

Trabus Technologies and Nano PharmaSolutions join delegation to Netherlands to drive local growth

This week, as part of Mayor Todd Gloria’s trade mission to the Netherlands, coordinated by World Trade Center San Diego (WTCSD), an affiliate of EDC, San Diego small businesses pitched their technology solutions to potential international partners and investors. Trabus Technologies (TRABUS) and Nano PharmaSolutions, both San Diego-based, minority-owned small businesses, joined this three-day trip to establish business relationships, pursue investment, and grow local jobs.

San Diego is the birthplace of many successful large, multinational companies, including Qualcomm who is represented in the delegation as well. However, small businesses—those with fewer than 100 employees—are the backbone of the regional economy and drive regional economic growth and innovation. Small businesses employ more than 60 percent of San Diego County’s workforce, nearly double the national average, and represent nearly 98 percent of the region’s firms. Yet small companies face outsize barriers to international expansion.

“Having an economy driven by small, innovative companies has been great for San Diego, and we want to support their expansion into overseas markets so they can stay strong and competitive in their industries,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria. “This trade mission gives us the chance to lay that groundwork for small businesses that face headwinds overseas.”

In order to drive economic resilience, Mayor Todd Gloria and WTCSD have prioritized small businesses as part of the Netherlands trade mission. TRABUS and Nano PharmaSolutions—both innovative, minority-owned small businesses involved in WTCSD’s export accelerator program MetroConnect—pitched to the Port of Rotterdam and investors at the Leiden Bio Science Park respectively:

  • TRABUS and Port of Rotterdam: TRABUS is a service-disabled, veteran- and minority-owned small business providing innovative solutions to the U.S. government and private sector. The 50-person TRABUS team specializes in the development of technology across five major portfolios—wireless technologies, artificial intelligence and data science, maritime transportation, environmental informatics and cybersecurity. To be spotlighted in its pitch to the European port, TRABUS has developed the first AI-based voyage planning software, RippleGo, for the inland waterways. While the SaaS product is currently being tested on U.S. waterways, RippleGo could have tremendous potential to enhance voyage planning and supply chain logistics on EU based waterways for greater economic efficiencies.

 “We are excited about the potential partnerships and opportunities to work with the European maritime industry. The EU has an impressive, interconnected waterway network already. We hope to learn more about their network and offer up some of our technologies that can aid in waterway management and intermodal supply chain logistics,” said Art Salindong, Managing Director, TRABUS.

  • Nano PharmaSolutions (NPS) and Leiden Bio Science Park: A platform technology startup for nanodrug delivery of small molecule drugs, NPS offers improved solubility and convenient dosage form development. Founded in 2019, the company is seeking Seed and early-stage VC investment, with plans to expand into the European market and access increased pharmaceutical customers in the years ahead. NPS plans to co-manufacture clinical trial materials for their customers at Mikart Pharmaceutical, a contract manufacturing organization in Atlanta, GA, beginning Q3 2023. Mikart is a commercial scale oral dosage form company, which can support NanoTransformer™ nano-granulation and downstream dosage form manufacturing and QC activities.

“Not only does our NanoTransformer™ technology expedite drug development at a lower R&D cost, but it helps drugs absorb into the body more quickly and efficiently” said Dr. Kay Olmstead, Founder & CEO, NPS. “This is an incredible opportunity to share our story and build partnerships at the famous Leiden Bio Science Park, and we’re excited about what’s to come.”

With the right partners, small companies that solve important problems—like TRABUS and Nano PharmaSolutions—become big companies that change the world. That has always been San Diego’s story, and it is why we work so hard to open doors for innovators and entrepreneurs both overseas and back at home,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of WTCSD and SVP, EDC.

This session is one of a dozen meetings and programs on the three-day trade mission to the Netherlands, September 26—29, 2022. See a summary of the trip here and follow along for more: #SDinNL

Learn more on SD and NL

The trade mission is organized by WTCSD, an affiliate of the San Diego Regional EDC, with assistance and support provided by the Consulate of the Netherlands, and sponsorship by ASML, Lufthansa, and Qualcomm Technologies.

 

Four San Diego programs helping Latinx professionals thrive

Originally published on San Diego: Life. Changing.

September 15 kicks off Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States—a time to honor and celebrate the diverse cultures, rich heritage, and endless contributions of Latinx and Hispanic people in our country.

As a binational region, this community has long shaped, built, and led San Diego. And in observance of the month, we’ve compiled just a few of the many programs helping Latinx professionals thrive and climb in San Diego.

MAAC

MAAC helps local families achieve self-sufficiency through its pathways of service—advocacy and leadership development, economic development, education, health and wellbeing, and housing. The nonprofit offers multiple high-quality programs like its Unidos in Finance program to help kickstart your career in financial services with online training and job placement assistance.

Explore MAAC’s full menu of services and save the date for its upcoming Soirée.

MANA de San Diego

MANA de San Diego is part of a National Latina Organization that serves to empower Latinas through education, leadership development, community service, and advocacy. Its four-month Latina Success Leadership Program takes aim at the glass ceiling and addresses the problem of under-representation of Latinas in leadership roles through a series of sessions focused on leadership development, building resiliency, and increasing civic engagement.

Learn more about the program and stay tuned for the announcement of its next cohort’s application round in January 2023. And, if you’re a Latina in business, join MANA de San Diego for its Latina Success Conference in October.

SD2

Interested in a STEM career? San Diego Squared (SD2) focuses on helping underrepresented students enter careers in STEM by providing access to education, mentorship, and resources they need to thrive. Made possible through partnerships with San Diego companies like Illumina and Neurocrine Biosciences, SD2 connects educators and high school and college students to funding.

Explore its funding opportunities and check out its STEM Capsules for a series of inspiring videos highlighting BIPOC STEM professionals’ stories and advice for you.

San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

As San Diego’s largest business association representing the Hispanic community with over 500 members, San Diego County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s events and programs are a perfect way to grow your network and market your business.

Want to start your business and don’t know where to start? Connect with like-minded individuals at the Chamber’s monthly Cafecito and networking events with Latino business owners and leaders.

How can you support Latinx San Diegans?

Learning about Hispanic heritage, amplifying diverse stories and voices, and shopping at Latinx-owned businesses are just some of the many ways we can support all year round. This month and every month, we celebrate the accomplishments, resiliency, innovation, and leadership of San Diego’s Hispanic and Latinx community.

A note on what’s to come from our CEO

Looking ahead…

Dear Board Members, Investors, and Partners:

I truly hope this message finds you well and enjoying a wonderful summer. I also hope that you are as excited about the Padres’ recent moves as we are at EDC. Being Downtown the last several days, you can already feel the energy.

Recognizing August as a month where many people are finishing up their summer travel and families are preparing to get their children back to school, EDC historically foregoes our regularly scheduled board meeting and executive committee meeting to make sure everyone has the extra time they need. But as we gear up for the final four months of 2022, I wanted to share a bit of what’s to come—because in many ways, our team is busier than ever.

Our World Trade Center team is in the throes of planning our first international trade mission since 2019, bringing dozens of our region’s top business, community, and civic leaders (including San Diego Mayor Gloria) on a fast and furious trip to the Netherlands in late September. This trip will help us expand business, trade, and academic connections within the market while also learning from some of the world’s smartest and most sustainable cities and economies.

True to Mary Walshok’s vision, and with the help of board member Tom Turner of CBRE, we have signed a lease and will be moving into UC San Diego’s Park & Market space, an exciting new addition to the Downtown landscape that promises to “bring people together who might not otherwise have crossed paths.” The building will serve as a homebase for a collection of organizations seen as “multidisciplinary and boundary spanning”—connecting art and science, culture and technology, civic engagement, lifelong learning, etc. With a new office and a new brand identity to come, you can expect an invitation to a reception and other gatherings before year’s end. Stay tuned.

As always, we will work hard to make sure that all EDC board and committee meetings continue to embrace the moments that we are living and working through. In addition to our continued healthcare and employment law updates at our monthly board meetings, we stay committed to digging deeper into the talent, workplace, and human resources-related challenges, opportunities, and discussions that dominate our interactions with local businesses. We will also continue to balance these topics with presentations from our region’s largest, leading, and most cutting-edge businesses. And most importantly, we will work to ensure that all of these efforts continue to guide us toward meeting our 2030 Inclusive Growth goals of growing the number of skilled workers, quality jobs, and thriving households in all corners of our region.

While we have more new names and faces on our board roster than ever before, you all know that it is your investment in our work that allows us to do what we do. Our priorities, strategies, activities, goals, and workplans fully reflect your leadership, direction, feedback, partnership, and support. We look forward to continuing to share this year with all of you as we best position the San Diego economy and community for all that lies ahead.

In closing, I want to share the words sent to me after our last in-person board meeting by EDC board member Bob Rief, executive director and co-founder of San Diego Sport Innovators:

“The EDC meetings are so provocative…virtually every one is a reminder about how much more every citizen, specially me, can do.”

Know that we draw the same inspiration from and share the same admiration for all of you. Look forward to seeing you all in the months ahead.

Sincerely,

Mark Cafferty
Mark Cafferty

President & CEO

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Resources for recruiting and retaining talent in San Diego

Last edited November 2022

As of May 2022, there were 75,630 unique jobs posted in San Diego County, but only 42,100 unemployed San Diegans. Couple this talent shortage with unrealistic demands around compensation, benefits, and remote work, it’s fair to say we are living the most competitive battle for talent yet.

To meet employer demand, our region needs to double the number of post-secondary degree, certificate, or program completions per year. In particular, investing in Black and Hispanic youth would turn San Diego’s talent shortage into a surplus. More on Inclusive Growth here.

As part of our ongoing talent development efforts, EDC has compiled an ongoing hub of programs and initiatives below to help you fill your high-demand San Diego roles. Sign up for the talent newsletter for ongoing opportunities to participate in the development of our talent pipeline.

HIRE TALENT

SELL SAN DIEGO

UPSKILL EXISTING TALENT

BUILD YOUR PIPELINE

For more support, contact:

Taylor Dunne
Taylor Dunne

Sr. Manager, Talent Initiatives

Need Cyber talent? Meet our Preferred Provider programs

Last updated with new Preferred Providers June 13, 2022.

As part of its talent related initiatives, San Diego Regional EDC joined forces with San Diego Workforce Partnership and the Cyber Center of Excellence to launch CyberHire—a program designed to address the region’s growing demand for Cybersecurity talent and connect job seekers to secure meaningful careers.

Through two rounds of competitive application processes, the following education providers have been designated Preferred Providers of Cybersecurity and IT Talent, recognition from industry for their work in most effectively training the entry-level local workforce:

Preferred Providers of IT Talent:

Preferred Providers of Cybersecurity Talent:

Through the CyberHire program, participants enrolled in the Preferred Provider programs receive industry-verified certification in A+ and Network+ or Security+ along with career counseling and wrap-around services from the San Diego Workforce Partnership.

View the full Preferred Provider network

Hiring IT or Cyber talent?

If you are a San Diego business interested in hiring CyberHire participants to fill your entry-level IT and Cybersecurity roles, contact us. Through funding provided by the James Irvine Foundation, the San Diego Workforce Partnership will:

  • Place program participants in paid internships.
  • Subsidize wages for on-the-job training.
  • Host events for employers to meet CyberHire participants and showcase career opportunities at their companies.

LEARN MORE ABOUT EMPLOYER PARTICIPATION!

About CyberHire: Presented by The James Irvine FoundationCyberHire aims to transition unemployed, underemployed, and low-wage workers to quality Cybersecurity careers. CyberHire will help San Diegans launch a meaningful career that allows them to support themselves and their families.

Learn more

Want to hire CyberHire participants? Contact us:

Taylor Dunne
Taylor Dunne

Sr. Manager, Talent Initiatives

Now live: 2021 Downtown Demographics Study

The Downtown San Diego Partnership, together with the City of San Diego and San Diego Regional EDC released the findings from the 2021 Downtown Demographics Study. Among findings about Downtown’s residential population, workforce, and attractions, the study confirmed that Downtown is uniquely primed for a post-pandemic resurgence of residential and business growth due to several key factors.

“What we found most exciting about this research is that it confirmed through data what we’ve long heard from Downtown residents and stakeholders,” said Betsy Brennan, president & CEO for the Downtown San Diego Partnership. “Downtown is primed with a talented residential workforce that desires to live and work in our urban core. This, in combination with ongoing investment in world-class commercial and research spaces with access to the region’s enhanced transit system and a vibrant neighborhood lifestyle for residents, businesses and visitors alike, tells us that there is no better time to invest in Downtown.”

Authored by EDC, in coordination with UC San Diego Extension’s Center for Research and Evaluation, the update provides new data on the residential and workforce populations of San Diego’s urban core, identifies areas for growth, opportunities for investment and advocacy, as well as a benchmark for the impacts of COVID-19. It’s intent is to serve as a helpful tool for anyone hoping to understand Downtown’s unique makeup and continue to fuel decisions to advance the economic prosperity and cultural vitality of the city’s urban core for years to come.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Downtown’s residents are young, urban professionals primarily working in innovation industries and earning higher-than-average wages. The vibrancy of urban living is what they like about living Downtown and they would even prefer to work there if given the choice, though the cost of living remains higher in Downtown than the County at large.
  • Downtown’s over concentration of the most in-demand talent, combined with an increasing supply of commercial real estate, present timely opportunities for high growth companies – particularly Life Science and Technology companies securing record-breaking investment – who are seeking top talent surrounded by the amenities they desire.
  • Downtown’s legacy industry clusters are more vulnerable to economic downturns, making diversification advantageous. Job losses during 2020 erased the gains of the previous four years.
  • Downtown is widely viewed as a hub for arts and culture, as well as a top destination for professional networking and gathering.

“While San Diego’s innovation economy continues to drive the region’s recovery from the COVID-19-spurred economic downturn, we must ensure the building blocks of this recovering economy—quality jobs, skilled talent and thriving households—are accessible to more people,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of EDC. “The data confirms that the pillars to build a more resilient economy through continued investment into Downtown by new, growing and diversified industries are in place and ready. More than ever, smart economic development means inclusive economic development.”

The Downtown Partnership first commissioned a demographic study in 2016, then a new tool for the organization’s advocacy efforts and the Downtown community. Providing an in-depth look at San Diego’s urban core and capturing a moment in time of the market’s recovery following the pandemic, the 2021 study was funded by the City of San Diego’s Economic Development Department, DSDP Clean & Safe Commercial Enhancement Program, Stockdale Capital Partners, and Urban Strategies Group.

Read the report

San Diego’s Data Bites: April 2022

Presented by Meyers Nave, this edition of San Diego’s Data Bites covers March 2022, with data on employment and more insights about the region’s economy at this moment in time. Check out EDC’s Research Bureau for even more data and stats about San Diego.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. San Diego employers added 8,000 nonfarm payroll positions between February and March, lowering the unemployment rate to 3.4 percent from a revised 4.0 percent from one month ago.
  1. Compared to March 2021, total nonfarm employment increased by 103,600, or 7.4 percent. 49,900 additional jobs in Leisure and Hospitality led year-ago employment gains, with Professional and Business services adding 20,600 positions.
  1. Employment in San Diego lags pre-pandemic levels by only 14,000 jobs, with Leisure and Hospitality accounting for 9,000 missing payroll positions. However, industries in San Diego’s innovation economy are well ahead of where they were before COVID-19.

Unemployment rate drops below four percent in March 2022

The March employment report showed that San Diego establishments added 8,000 nonfarm payroll positions compared to February, with 5,000 of these jobs in Leisure and Hospitality. State and Local Government was the next-closest industry experiencing employment gains, with 2,000 additional jobs. These additions to San Diego’s economy drove the unemployment rate lower by 0.6 percentage points, from a revised 4.0 percent in February to 3.4 percent in March.

Health Care and Social Assistance lost the most jobs between February and March, dropping 1,300 payroll positions. Although Ambulatory Health Care Services accounted for 1,100 of the lost jobs, the industry employed more people in March 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. These lost jobs could be the result of lower transmission and infection rates of COVID, requiring fewer employees to manage workloads.

Leisure and Hospitality continues to lead year-ago employment gains

Overall, San Diego employers added 103,600 nonfarm payroll positions from March 2021 to March 2022. Leisure and Hospitality accounted for 49,900 of these jobs, which is not surprising considering that companies in this industry cluster were the hardest hit by the pandemic. The fact that businesses engaged in Accommodation and Food Services are adding more jobs with each new jobs report is a sign that San Diego is recovering well from the troughs of the pandemic.
Furthermore, not a single one of the industry clusters that the EDD tracks (e.g. Leisure and Hospitality and Professional and Business Services) showed year-ago jobs losses, providing further evidence of the steady recovery of San Diego’s economy back to pre-pandemic levels. Professional and Business Services added 20,600 positions to San Diego’s economy, a 7.9 percent increase over last year’s levels. As part of San Diego’s innovation economy, industries such as Scientific Research and Development Services tend to be comprised of quality jobs, those that offer economic security by paying a wage that keeps up with the cost of living and providing employer-sponsored health benefits. Some sub-industries, however, did shed jobs compared to a year ago, such as Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (down 2,300 jobs) and Durable Goods manufacturing (down 2,000 jobs).

Employment in San Diego lags pre-pandemic levels by only 14,000 jobs

San Diego’s total nonfarm employment ended March 2022 at 1,501,100 jobs, which is 14,000 shy of pre-pandemic levels in February 2020. Although employment in Leisure and Hospitality is still 9,000 jobs lower than before COVID-19, this industry cluster has consistently led the pack in each monthly jobs report, meaning that pre-pandemic levels are just within reach. This is a strong indicator of the region’s economic recovery and health, as Accommodation and Food Services companies were the hardest hit by the pandemic.

Employment in other industry clusters, including those that drive San Diego’s innovation economy, has already surpassed pre-pandemic levels. Professional and Business Services has added almost 20,000 positions to the region’s economy from February 2020, with 7,300 of these jobs belonging to Scientific Research and Development Services. Jobs in these industries often have a high concentration of high paying quality jobs. The record year that San Diego experienced with respect to venture capital—especially in Tech and Life Sciences companies—should result in even more hiring by these companies throughout 2022.

However, the economic stimulus over the course of the pandemic has resulted in the highest inflation seen for quite some time, with the 12-month inflation rate reaching 8.5 percent in March. This led the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates by 25 basis points, with expectations of more to come. These expectations have translated into a decreased appetite for borrowing and investment, slowing the record pace at which San Diego is attracting venture capital dollars.

In fact, investment in Series A, seed, angel, and growth stages totaled just over $1 billion in Q1 2022, a far cry from the $2.7 billion in Q1 last year. Though the rate at which money is flowing into San Diego Tech and Life Sciences companies is slowing, the region will feel the ripple effects of the record-setting year in 2021 for some time to come. For example, the current demand for lab space in San Diego County is triple the amount of new deliveries that are expected in the next 12 months. As these Life Sciences companies move into new commercial space in the region, they will need to hire for newly created positions, many of which are high-paying quality jobs.

However, San Diego companies across all industries are engaged in a bitter competition for talent. Not only do high levels of inflation make San Diego a more expensive place to live, but a white-hot housing market has sent home prices through the roof, with the median home price reaching $950,000 in March, a 19 percent increase from one year ago. This high cost of living in San Diego is a tax that deters talent from staying in or relocating to the region. By addressing San Diego’s affordability crisis and building San Diego’s talent pipeline, employers can do their part to bolster the region’s resiliency and global competitiveness.

Interested in more? You may also like to read:

A note on progress from our Senior Director

“The Obstacle Is the Way”

This is the title of a book I recently started reading about applying stoic philosophy to everyday, modern life. The core teaching is to turn adversity into advantage. Obstacles, both predictable and unforeseen, are not an impediment to growth or progress but rather the path to achieving our goals—it’s a matter of perspective.

EDC and a steering committee of the region’s largest employers determined that for our region to continue to grow and remain competitive, by 2030, San Diego will need:

  • 50,000 quality jobs in small businesses,
  • 20,000 skilled workers per year, and
  • 75,000 newly thriving households.

However, to do so, inclusion needs to be our focus. To achieve these goals, we must invest in and support the segments of our community that have been historically and systemically excluded from growth and prosperity—not simply because it’s the right thing to do,  but because it’s an economic imperative.

Small businesses employ 60 percent of San Diego’s workforce but struggle to compete for new customers and talent. On top of that, supply chain disruptions have impacted nearly every industry in our region. Connecting local small businesses to big, institutional buyers builds resiliency for both sides.

To keep pace with the demand for talent, we must double the production of skilled workers in our region. If San Diego’s Black and Hispanic youth were prepared for post-secondary education at the same rate as White youth, our talent shortage would become a talent surplus.

San Diego is now the most expensive major metro in the country. The rapidly rising cost of living is impacting employers’ ability to attract and retain talent. Investing in the infrastructure needed to support working families ensures that the region remains an attractive place for people to work and businesses to operate in.

That is the scale of our challenge. It is also the size of our opportunity.

Even the pandemic itself, a once-in-a-century global health crisis that has claimed the lives of nearly one million Americans, has paved a new way forward. It taught us that how and where we work can be different and better. It reaffirmed that small businesses are not just places of employment but also part of the fabric of our community. It reminded us that no matter how much technology we have at our fingertips, it is the human spirit that drives the life-changing and life-saving innovation in our region and world.

During last week’s Report to the Community, I shared that four years later progress toward these goals remains elusive. Yet, the more than 200 people in attendance reminded us that our collective commitment toward these goals will drive the region toward success.

San Diego’s future growth and competitiveness could be undermined by the inequities we currently face; or, the next wave of innovation and prosperity could be fueled by greater inclusion. It’s a matter of perspective. The obstacle is the way.

Take care, Eduardo

Eduardo Velasquez
Eduardo Velasquez

Sr. Director, Research & Economic Development

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Public, private leaders announce commitment to Inclusive Growth

County, City, academic, and private sector leaders announce commitment to inclusive economic growth

Today at its Report to the Community event, San Diego Regional EDC shared progress against the 2030 inclusive growth goals outlined pre-pandemic in 2018. With new data and bold objectives set around increasing the number of skilled talent, quality jobs, and thriving households critical to the region’s competitiveness, County and City of San Diego officials as well as leaders in the private sector, education, and philanthropy offered their shared commitments to economic inclusion.

“EDC’s recent analysis underscores the significant impact of the pandemic on San Diego’s under-resourced communities and small businesses,” said Julian Parra, Business Banking Region Executive at Bank of America and EDC Board Chair. “To drive meaningful economic change, a diverse set of stakeholders must step up or the issues facing our economy—talent shortages, skills gaps, and a soaring cost of living—will further challenge San Diego’s economic competitiveness.”

The innovation economy has made San Diego more prosperous than many of its peers—leading the region out of the COVID-spurred economic recession as it has in past downturns—but remains inaccessible to the fastest-growing segment of the region’s population. At no surprise, the goalposts EDC outlined four years ago are now farther from reach in the wake of the pandemic.

With nearly 200 members, EDC represents just a small fraction of the region’s employers. It is only with and through a broader group of stakeholders that more quality jobs, skilled talent, and thriving households in San Diego is possible. As such, EDC has enlisted the endorsement of key regional partners and employers that have committed to using the Inclusive Growth framework to inform their priorities, tactics, and resource allocation.

Hear some of those commitments:

 

“The County shares a deep commitment to the framework outlined by EDC. In order to help regionalize these Inclusive Growth goals, the County has created the Office of Economic Prosperity and Community Development that will prioritize significant investments in our communities as well as uplift our local businesses,” said Vice Chair Nora Vargas, San Diego County Board of Supervisors. “Our inclusive work is centered on achieving an equitable economic recovery that ensures prosperity for all San Diegans.”

“Employing more than 1,200 San Diegans, we understand the criticality of large employers fostering a robust talent pipeline who can afford to live and thrive here,” said Jennie Brooks, Senior Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton and EDC Vice Chair. “We are committed to advancing these goals by mentoring the next generation of women leaders through partnerships with local organizations like Girl Scouts San Diego; creating opportunities through our Mil/Tech Workforce Initiative to help military veterans build on their experiences and upskill into quality tech careers; and providing the flexibility that employees need in today’s dynamic work-life environment.”

The pandemic’s impact to progress: Jobs, talent, households

In its new analysis, available at progress.inclusivesd.org, EDC quantifies the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastating impact on the regional economy and reports progress toward the 2030 goals. Takeaways include:

  1. QUALITY JOBS:
    While the region saw an overall increase in the number of quality jobs* since 2017, the disparity between quality jobs in small and large firms grew. The jobs losses of 2020 were principally concentrated in lower paying jobs at small businesses, especially those held by people of color. Meanwhile, larger firms added quality jobs in haste. In order to compete on talent, small businesses need new, reliable customers. San Diego’s large buyers can support quality job growth and ensure supply chain resilience by spending more with small, local businesses.
  1. SKILLED TALENT:
    Since 2016, all job growth has been in positions that require some form of degree or credential acquired through post-secondary education (PSE). Looking forward, it is projected that 84 percent of new jobs created between now and 2030 will also require PSE. Hispanics represent one-third of San Diego’s total population but only 15 percent of degree holders. Further, nearly half of middle school students are Hispanic but are statistically the least prepared for the jobs of the future. To address employers’ hiring challenges long-term, the region must invest in college readiness for more San Diego students.
  1. THRIVING HOUSEHOLDS:
    Rapidly rising home prices—up more than 30 percent in the last two years alone—coupled with jobs losses have resulted in almost 11,000 fewer thriving households** in 2020 than in 2017. Further, the region lost 3,200 licensed childcare facilities due to business closures amid the pandemic. Rising costs and access to childcare, transportation, and broadband—disproportionately felt by people of color—will leave businesses unable to retain or recruit talent from outside of the region.

While the innovation cluster has more than rebounded from the pandemic, the talent challenges employers face will only worsen and threaten their growth across San Diego. A concerted commitment to Inclusive Growth must be made; the region’s competitiveness depends on it.

The initiative is sponsored by Bank of America, HomeFed Corporation, San Diego Gas & Electric, Southwest Airlines, The San Diego Foundation, University of San Diego School of Business, City of San Diego, and County of San Diego.

Read the full report at progress.inclusiveSD.org.

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*Quality job = $44K wages + healthcare benefits.

**Thriving household = total income covers cost of living for renter- or owner-occupied households, at $79.6K and $122K respectively.