NEW: San Diego Business Hub takes small businesses online, boosts resilience

Public-private partnership offering subsidized digital tools for small, diverse businesses

Today, in partnership with local tech company GoSite, EDC launched the San Diego Business Hub, which in its first phase will offer up to 100 small, service-based businesses a full suite of digital tools at no cost. Made possible by grants from The San Diego Foundation and Union Bank, SDbizhub.com is accepting applications from businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic—women, minorities, veterans and other economically under-resourced groups.

The pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of companies of all sizes and industries by as much as five years in a 12-month period, with many struggling to keep up. Since the start of 2020, the region has seen nearly 40 percent of its small businesses close. Many of these closures can be attributed to businesses’ inability to quickly pivot online, depriving them of access to customers and key markets.

We also know those hardest hit by the pandemic have been communities of color who are being left further behind in San Diego’s economic recovery.

The proof is in the numbers:

  • Despite making up just 30 percent of the local population, Hispanic and Latinx communities accounted for well over half of all regional COVID-19 cases and two in five related deaths.
  • Additionally, people of color are overrepresented in local industries that were hardest hit during the pandemic (e.g. Hispanics make up 39.8 percent of Hospitality staff and 41.8 percent of Retail staff). As a result, unemployment and loss of income have been concentrated within Black and Brown communities.

The cohort of 100 service-based businesses (e.g. personal care services, transportation, food service, home repair, small contractors, etc.) will receive GoSite’s web-based tools—which payment and invoicing, bookings, review management, customer communications, template websites and more—free of charge for one year.

Thoughts from local leaders:

“Small businesses employ the majority of San Diegans, and it’s essential we invest in their growth, recovery and resiliency if we are going to get this recovery right. This partnership with GoSite allows us to do just that: Provide the digital tools small businesses need to weather future economic downturns,” said Nikia Clarke, Vice President of Economic Development, EDC.

“This partnership is a prime example of how San Diego public, private and civic sectors rally together to solve hard problems. Access to these digital tools will help our region achieve a more equitable recovery and help small businesses struggling today be more resilient as San Diego gets back on track and back to work,” said San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

“Small businesses face great challenges, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. GoSite’s mission is to help small businesses adapt and succeed, with technology in hand for them to easily communicate with customers, manage online bookings, accept online payments, generate invoices and drive reviews—all in one place,” said Alex Goode, CEO of GoSite. “GoSite is proud to partner with EDC to create the SD Biz Hub and deliver innovative technology resources to San Diego, the place we call headquarters and home.”

“To build long-term economic resilience, San Diego’s small businesses must have resources to sustain their connections to customers and markets,”  shared Mark Stuart, President & CEO of The San Diego Foundation. “This is an inspiring example of government, philanthropy and nonprofit sectors coming together to help the small businesses in our neighborhoods survive, recover and grow.”

FAQ and applications are now live, and will remain open until the cohort is full.

SDbizhub.com

A note from our COO

Throughout the country, May is recognized as Small Business Month. More than ever before, we are all-in for celebrating the passion and resilience of San Diego’s small businesses, the backbone of our local economy. Over the last 14 months, the COVID-19 pandemic turned our economy upside down, impacting small businesses in ways we could never have imagined. And yet against all odds, many are surviving.

Those with less than 100 employees make up 98 percent of firms in the region, employing the majority of San Diegans—nearly twice the national average. They are the folks who design, build, and decorate our offices, the PR firms that amplify our brands and messages, the manufacturers who make parts and products—all who have spent years building their dreams.

Federal, state, and local officials have made a significant effort to help businesses stay afloat. Just last month California Governor Gavin Newsom signed legislation taking action toward a $6.2 billion tax cut for small businesses over the next six years. The state of California is on its sixth round of California Relief Grants, allocating $2.5 billion across the state. As of May 2, through two rounds of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the federal government granted more than $780 billion in loans to small businesses across America.

There is work to do

While these resources are effective and important—and EDC has helped connect more than 1,400 businesses to such aid programs—there is more work to be done. According to a recent KBPS article referencing research from Reveal Reporting Networks, “Lenders [in San Diego County] gave 61 percent of loans to businesses in majority-white census tracts and just under 12 percent to businesses in majority-Latinx census tracts.” This disparity can be attributed to the lasting effects of segregation and discrimination—here’s what we mean.

Our commitment

EDC is committed to addressing the systemic inequities that exist in this region and across the country. EDC continues to work toward building a more resilient economy through programs like MetroConnect and the Export Specialty Center; eliminating barriers to opportunity through programs like Advancing San Diego and the Anchor Collaborative; and creating pathways to growth and greater customer access, especially for economically disadvantaged business owners, through San Diego Business Hub in partnership with GoSite.

EDC could not do this work without the ongoing support of our nearly 200 investors, organizations that have also faced a tumultuous year. Together we can ensure San Diego’s economic recovery reaches all who call this place home. We cannot thank you enough.

This month and beyond, shop small and procure local to support San Diego’s resilient recovery. Learn more about how we’ll get this recovery right.

To receive updates on each of EDC’s programs for small businesses, sign up to receive our emails.

Lauree Sahba
COO, San Diego Regional EDC

Employee ownership and why it might be a good fit for your business

On April 20, San Diego Regional EDC hosted the second in our Right Recovery Town Hall series underwritten by San Diego Gas & Electric. With a focus on employee ownership as a means of business resilience, EDC partnered with San Diego Workforce Partnership and invited experts and employee-owned companies to offer their perspectives.

Why employee ownership?

As San Diego recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn, EDC is hosting a series of events that highlight employer-driven, market-based strategies for creating a more resilient economy, deeply rooted in the region’s inclusive growth agenda.

Employee ownership is a business model that takes many forms and can support San Diego firms in getting this recovery right. The transition to employee ownership offers an effective and meaningful way for businesses to retain a dedicated workforce, take advantage of a significant tax benefit, and ensure wealth-building that will lead to more thriving households across the region.

Together with partners, we aim to raise awareness about this option for a wide range of businesses (from restaurants to major corporations, and everything in between). This is especially important as baby boomers own about half of all privately-held businesses in the United States; and as this population reaches retirement age, we will see a massive ownership changeover of locally-held businesses, whether through sale, M&A, IPO, family transition or worse, closure.

Employee ownership benefits all who are involved:

  1. Owners receive a competitive sale price and can exit the company knowing that their legacy and values will live on through their employees.
  1. Workers receive better compensation and benefits, and feel the success of the company directly contributes to their own financial success, which oftentimes results in more engaged and harder working employees.
  1. The business sees higher productivity, largely due to the new sense of responsibility held by the employees.
  1. The community sees wealth building, reinvestment, and a sense of dependability as businesses remain anchored to the area.

What we learned from a brewer, a staffing agency, and a music staple

At the virtual event on April 20, audience members heard from Mitch Miller, a Senior Consultant at The Beyster Institute who shared the Beyster story along with a data-driven case for employee ownership. A 2019 Rutgers study showed that Americans with part ownership in their company approaching retirement age had ten times more wealth than those who did not have part ownership. Additionally, a National Center for Employee Ownership 2017 study showed that companies with an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) were associated with 92 percent higher median household net wealth.

Sandie Taylor, director of people operations at Modern Times Beer, spoke on the employee perspective—describing increased employee engagement and a ‘we’re in this together’ culture as the company strategized ways to keep the lights on during the pandemic. An ESOP since July 2017, Modern Times’ management feels like they can speak more openly with their teams. Sandie shared, “this means a kind of trust and transparency” within our staff. Ultimately, the innovation and commitment of team members helped the company remain above water during the worst of the 2020 economic recession.

Seth Stein, CEO of Eastridge Workforce Solutions, explained how his company has developed digital tools to help employees watch their investment grow, so they can better understand and conceptualize the benefits of employee ownership in real-time. He shared that Eastridge’s voluntary turnover rate is down 57 percent, while involuntary turnover is down 40 percent—a striking decline he attributes to the employee ownership model. Seth also shared that the company’s Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) was up seven percent in 2020, even amid an economic recession. “[Employee ownership] has been a game changer for our company, and I am really excited to see what happens next,” he said.

Our third employee-owned company is a household name that made history with this business model, becoming the first (reported) multi-national company to offer ownership to ALL employees, domestic and international. Taylor Guitars made waves when it transitioned to an ESOP in January 2021 after much deliberation to ensure that the move would maintain the familial culture that founders Bob Taylor and Kurt Listug had spent decades instilling. CFO Barbara Wight was honest with the audience about the legal and financial legwork that went into making this happen, largely accomplished due to the help of Chartwell Financial Advisors, who she highly recommends to large companies hoping to transition to an ESOP. She also shared that the significant tax benefits that come with employee ownership helped Taylor Guitars make the transition as lucrative as possible.

Finally, our audience heard from Project Equity and San Diego Workforce Partnership on resources available to San Diego companies. The two organizations are currently working together with Mission Driven Finance, Alliance Healthcare Foundation, and BFed to offer flexible capital for businesses transitioning to employee ownership. San Diego Workforce Partnership will be hosting a workshop on June 17 at 10 a.m. to help businesses identify specific needs and access these funds. You can register for that event here. Other resources for transitioning to employee ownership are listed below.

Resources and contacts for your business

Chartwell Financial Advisors
Greg Fresh, Managing Director, Head of Corporate Finance
Email: greg.fresh@chartwellfa.com
Phone: 612.230.3125

Project Equity
Alison Lingane, Co-founder
Email: alison@project-equity.org

Evan Edwards, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Business Engagement
Email: evan@project-equity.org

San Diego Workforce Partnership
Email: business@workforce.org
Phone: 619.28.2900 (press 4)

You can watch the full event here:

Black History Month: Elevating San Diego’s Black businesses and innovators

Black History Month is one of many opportunities to spotlight the Black founders, innovators, creators, and businesses throughout the San Diego region – and across the country at large.

This particular year feels especially critical, as we’ve watched current and historic racial inequality broadcast in our communities and across our TV screens, and as COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted communities of color here in San Diego.

For these reasons and more, we must do everything in our power to make sure we get this post-pandemic recovery right. We cannot do that without elevating Black and other marginalized voices.

Read ahead to learn more about Black-owned businesses and ongoing inclusion efforts across the San Diego region, published by EDC’s various brands and initiatives:

Through resources, programs, and regional partners, we are committed to helping Black-owned businesses grow and thrive in San Diego. If you are a Black entrepreneur or business owner in San Diego and we can help connect you to resources, programs, or other assistance, please contact us here.

Black lives matter. They matter in this country, they matter in San Diego, and they matter to us.

Study release: One percent shift in procurement could mean thousands of jobs for San Diegans

EDC study quantifies the impact of increased local procurement

Today, as part of a commitment to inclusive economic recovery, EDC released a study and set of recommendations for large employers to support small businesses by buying local. “Anchor Institutions: Leveraging Big Buyers for Small Business“ analyzes the spend of more than a dozen local anchors and demonstrates the impact of increased local procurement on quality job creation.

Anchor institutions are defined as universities, hospitals, local government agencies, the U.S. Navy and other large employers that are physically bound to the region.

In San Diego, anchors represent eight of the region’s 10 largest employers—providing more than 72,000 jobs. They purchase tens of billions of dollars in goods and services every year, and yet, local anchors send about one-quarter of all procurement spend outside the region.

The web-based study—procurelocal.inclusivesd.org—includes a summary of local spending, a cluster map of anchor institutions in the region, estimated economic impact from increased local spending, and a set of recommendations for growing quality jobs across San Diego through procurement.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted people of color and spurred the closure of one-in-three small businesses across San Diego. Local small businesses employ nearly 60 percent of the total workforce, which is double the national average, and are responsible for nearly half of all job growth in the last five years. Despite their critical importance to the region’s economy, many small businesses report struggling to attract customers and generate new sales.

“Small business resiliency will be key in getting this recovery right. This report further demonstrates the importance of connecting our region’s small and diverse businesses to large, institutional buyers,” said Eduardo Velasquez, EDC Research Director. “This will mean more quality jobs for San Diegans, more thriving businesses and a stronger regional economy.”

KEY FINDINGS

  • Collectively, 14 anchors surveyed spend more than $9.9 billion each year on a range of goods and services, and only about $247 million of this reported spend can be traced back to San Diego businesses. Further, only a small proportion of this spend is reaching small (14 percent) and minority-owned or diverse businesses (11 percent).
  • Small shifts in procurement can mean big economic impact:
    • If the 14 anchors surveyed increased local construction spending by just one percent, it would put around $32 million into local construction businesses, adding $466 million to the local economy and helping create nearly 4,500 jobs in the region.
    • The same one percent increase in professional services (e.g. legal assistance) spending would pump nearly $12 million into local suppliers, resulting in an economic impact of nearly $56 million and support another 800 jobs.
    • The majority of these new jobs would be in industries with a higher-than-average concentration of quality jobs (those that pay middle-income wages).

“As a large employer that works with many diverse suppliers to meet our mission of delivering clean, safe and reliable energy, SDG&E understands the value small businesses bring to the regional economy,” said Christy Ihrig, vice president of operations support, SDG&E, anchor event and study sponsor. “When they thrive, our region thrives. To support economic recovery from the pandemic, we are more committed than ever to grow our supplier diversity program and encourage other local employers to do the same.”

Beyond impacts to suppliers and the regional economy at large, anchor institutions that buy from local, small, diverse businesses also stand to benefit. Specifically, several local anchors note that setting goals for greater procurement from these suppliers has resulted in greater customer service, supply chain diversity and resiliency, and stronger brand equity in the communities they serve.

“‘Shop local’ is about more than individuals; it means big business and organizations choosing to support their neighbors by buying in their communities. The City of San Diego takes pride in its efforts to work with local companies, is seeking increased opportunities to buy local and implores other local organizations to follow suit. Together, this is how we ensure a more equitable and inclusive San Diego,” said Mayor Todd Gloria, City of San Diego, study sponsor.

A CALL TO ACTION

To maintain our regional competitiveness, we need to create 50,000 quality jobs in small businesses by 2030, as outlined in EDC’s inclusive growth strategy. To do that, it’s imperative we help San Diego’s small and diverse businesses recover and thrive.

San Diego needs its largest employers (and our largest buyers) to commit to redirecting their procurement to local, small, and diverse businesses. To do this we must:

  1. understand individual institutions’ existing efforts;
  1. identify spend areas with high potential for inclusive, local sourcing; and
  1. define and track metrics that ultimately drive bidding processes.

We invite large firms to join San Diego Regional EDC’s Anchor Collaborative and help us shape and achieve this goal—join us here.

The report was unveiled today at the first in a series of Town Hall events. Watch a recording of the event here. Thank you to the study sponsors: SDG&E, City of San Diego, Civic Community Ventures, and the University of San Diego School of Business.

procurelocal.inclusivesd.org

Learn more about EDC’s inclusive growth goals

Advancing San Diego: What we’ve done in one year

EDC’s inclusive growth strategy is fueled by three key economic ingredients: skilled workers, quality jobs (particularly in small companies) and thriving households. Launched in 2019 with funding from JP Morgan Chase, Advancing San Diego is helping the region meet its inclusive growth goals by addressing skilled talent shortages and expanding access to quality job opportunities. Advancing San Diego partners, in lockstep with industry and education partners, recognize that each group has a role to play in developing and strengthening our local talent pool.

The challenge & the opportunity

Employers cite access to diverse, qualified talent as a top challenge within their business, relying on high-cost recruitment strategies to fill job openings. Meanwhile, San Diego is a diverse community with an education system that serves hundreds of thousands of San Diegans (10 community colleges, 5 universities, numerous non-traditional training programs). Black and Hispanic San Diegans make up more than half of our population, but are glaringly underrepresented in high-demand jobs.

Advancing San Diego introduces a collaborative, region-wide strategy to prepare San Diegans for high-demand jobs via our locally-serving education intuitions. While labor market data is improving, there is not a consistent approach for adapting education to meet industry expectations. With clear and consistent communication about skills, we collectively create an environment where San Diegans are trained for, and can access quality job opportunities, and employers can look to our local talent pool for their hiring needs.

Talent development amid a global pandemic

We felt the initial impacts of the pandemic across our entire economy. Unemployment in San Diego rose from 4.2% to 15% in a matter of months, with some industries experiencing a 50% decline in their workforce. Of the jobs impacted the most, many were already at risk of decline due to factors including automation and digitization. Further, the highest-risk jobs are disproportionately held by Black and Hispanic San Diegans.

Other industries, particularity innovation industries, took less of a hit as business held steady and employees had the option to work remotely. Jobs most insulated from the impacts of the pandemic are disproportionately held by white and Asian San Diegans.

Pre- and post-COVID-19, software developers continue to rank among the highest demand occupations in San Diego. In May, software developers were the second most advertised job in San Diego, with 3,000 postings. With numerous training options beyond a 4-year degree, software engineers can be trained relatively quickly at a much lower cost to the individual, and both training and jobs can be done from essentially anywhere with an internet connection. As such, Advancing San Diego started its work by informing education providers on skills requirements for software engineers, and is actively working with employers do the same for engineering and business professionals. 

The Advancing San Diego approach

Advancing San Diego is a demand-driven, outcomes based strategy for strengthening lines of communication between industry and education, and expanding access to talent for small companies.

  1. COMMUNICATION: employer working groups communicate hiring requirements for entry-level jobs, offer feedback to education providers on how to update & improve curriculum, and recognize “Preferred Providers” as delivering top-quality training for quality jobs. It’s through this process that employers also gain a better understanding of which local institutions they should be recruiting from.
    YEAR 1 PROGRESS: 30+ employers have actively engaged in working groups to communicate skills criteria, offer feedback on curricula, and grow the network of Preferred Provider programs. Following their participation in the working group, many employers express interest in hiring from a community college, university, or non-traditional training program where they had not previously recruited from.
    >> Skills Reports for Software Talent & Engineering Talent
  1. ADAPTATION: with better communication from industry, education programs can more effectively train talent that employers want to hire. Education programs are also recognized by employers for their ability to reach and serve a diverse student body.
    YEAR 1 PROGRESS: Employers have offered feedback to 21 education programs; 7 have been selected as Preferred Providers of software talent, and Preferred Providers of engineering talent will be announced in coming weeks. Multiple programs who were not selected are actively adapting programs for reconsideration as a Preferred Providers, which are evaluated annually.
    >> More information on Preferred Providers
  1. ACCESS: Small companies (<100 employees) often do not have the time or resources to effectively recruit top talent. At no cost to them, small companies can host paid interns from Preferred Provider programs as part of Advancing San Diego. These companies receive training for building successful remote teams, access to a software platform for managing remote interns, and interns are eligible for $500 in products or services that support their internship success. The internship program prioritizes students who are first generation college students, community college students, or residents of San Diego’s low income communities.
    YEAR 1 PROGRESS: 22 small companies from a variety of industries are hosting ASD interns remotely this summer. A second cohort of companies is currently being recruited to meet interest in this program from students, many of whom are experiencing heightened anxiety due to job-market uncertainty.
    >> The average size of companies in this cohort is 12 employees, and 54% of host companies identify as either minority, woman, disabled, veteran, or immigrant-owned.
    >> ASD has placed +40 software engineering interns from community college, university, and non-traditional education backgrounds. 100% of interns are either first-gen college students, community college students, veterans, or residents of San Diego’s low income communities.

What’s next?

Advancing San Diego was designed as a cyclical process that is responsive to the ever-changing needs of the economy. Our priority remains to better prepare the local talent pool for the jobs our economy needs, and provide better access to talent for small companies. Even once shelter-in-place guidelines are lifted, we will continue to offer paid remote work experiences as one way to remove geographic and scheduling barriers for students and companies.

However, we realize that not all jobs can be done remotely. While we will continue to focus on high-demand job areas such as software, we will lean into jobs that are economically resilient, good-paying jobs that are accessible via shorter-term training and have cross-cutting industry need. We believe this approach will increase our ability to support those most impacted by the pandemic on a path to economic stability.

For more updates on Advancing San Diego, visit the program page.

Black lives matter and our commitment to San Diego

In light of the pain that the US has been facing, we must do better as a region and as a nation. At EDC, we’ve been thinking about what role – as an economic development organization – we should play in all of this.

We’ve put together some thoughts in a twitter thread, which you can view in full below:

For the past few years, our team has worked with local business and community leaders – during a time of profound economic growth – to create more inclusive economic development strategies and programs. You can learn more about our inclusive growth work here. The current and historical racial realities, compounded with the impacts of COVID-19 disproportionately affecting lower-income San Diegans, means we must do everything in our power to make sure we get this post-pandemic recovery right. We cannot do that without elevating Black and other marginalized voices.

As an organization, we’re the first to admit that we’re newer to inclusive work. We’ve spent nearly three years radically shifting our strategy so that inclusion and equity are the guiding principles behind our programming. It’s a work in progress. In the meantime, we vow to do better with the type of content we create, the people we profile, and the (digital) events we produce.

If you are a Black entrepreneur or business owner in San Diego and we can help connect you to resources, programs, or other assistance, please contact us here.

Today, on June 2, aside from this piece, we’re pausing content today to observe #BlackoutTuesday & make space for Black voices in San Diego.

Black lives matter. They matter in this country, they matter in San Diego, and they matter to us.

Join us in continuing this conversation.

Other articles you might be interested in:

 

Applications now open: Advancing San Diego to provide 100 small companies & startups with fully-funded internships for STEM students

Employers select seven ‘Preferred Providers’ to supply qualified software engineering talent for first internship cohort

San Diego – As a way to broaden and diversify San Diego’s talent pipeline, Advancing San Diego – a program led by San Diego Regional EDC – will provide up to 100 San Diego-based companies with fully-funded internships.  Advancing San Diego internships are available to companies with fewer than 100 employees looking for better access to STEM talent to develop inclusive opportunities for all students. Companies can apply here.

“If we want to grow our regional economy, we must remove barriers that small companies face in accessing qualified workers,” said Nikia Clarke, vice president of economic development at San Diego Regional EDC. “Today, 73% of San Diego’s job growth is going to come from small businesses, yet our research has shown that many of these companies don’t have the time or money to invest in recruiting skilled-talent. We’ve flipped the traditional workforce development model on its head:  employers tell us the skills they need, we identify the educational programs – Preferred Providers – that do the best job providing those skills , and then we use our talent development fund to create pathways for San Diegans into quality jobs in the companies that need them most.”

The Advancing San Diego program is helping the region achieve its inclusive growth goals. To ensure future competitiveness, San Diego must double the production of local workers with in-demand degrees or credentials by 2030. Achieving this goal requires collaboration between public and private sectors – educators and employers – as well as a focus on equity and inclusion. Better alignment of industry and education systems means that institutions can more effectively prepare San Diegans from all backgrounds for high-demand jobs and employers can establish and expand recruitment relationships with locally-serving institutions.

In its first round of internships, Advancing San Diego will place software engineering talent who will soon be followed by cohorts of interns with backgrounds in general engineering, and marketing/operations.

Applying for Advancing San Diego: How it works

Advancing San Diego will fully subsidize the cost of interns for more than 100 small companies in San Diego, with priority for companies in STEM industries that are poised for high growth in coming years. Once a company certifies it meets eligibility requirements, the company will ‘apply’ to Advancing San Diego.

Advancing San Diego has also hired a staffing partner that will coordinate interviews, scheduling, and placement, and who will serve as a resource for the interns throughout their duration of the internship.

In addition to providing each intern with a wage of $16.50 an hour, each intern will be eligible for up to $500 to be used on miscellaneous expenses including transportation to the internship site, wardrobe, training services and more.


As part of the first software engineering cohort, Advancing San Diego interns will be sourced from Preferred Providers – programs recognized by employers for providing the skills and training necessary for students to pursue jobs or internships in software engineering positions. Students from Preferred Provider programs will come from diverse backgrounds and will be at varying stages of their education journey. Each Preferred Provider was evaluated against a skills-based criteria for entry-level software engineers that was created by employers.

Software Engineering Preferred Providers:

  1. CSU San Marcos – Computer Science Department
  2. Mesa College – Computer and Information Science Department
  3. MiraCosta College – Computer Science Department
  4. San Diego Code School – Full Stack JS Apprenticeship Program
  5. San Diego State University – Computer Science Department
  6. UC San Diego – Jacobs School of Engineering
  7. UC San Diego Extension

Advancing San Diego will facilitate the placement of students from these programs into jobs or internships with selected companies.

Understanding Advancing San Diego

In 2019, San Diego was one of five cities to receive a $3 million investment as part of JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities Challenge, an initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity across the U.S.

“JPMorgan Chase firmly believes in San Diego’s legacy of collaboration. That’s why we’ve invested in Advancing San Diego knowing that our community partners will work closely together with small businesses and higher education to ensure San Diego’s future competitiveness,” said Aaron Ryan, San Diego regional leader for middle market banking at JPMorgan Chase. “By developing advanced workforce skills and providing pathways to the jobs of the future, San Diego’s brightest citizens and businesses will be equipped for success for years to come.”

Advancing San Diego is a collaborative effort to address skilled talent shortages and increase diversity in high-growth, high demand jobs. This effort aligns economic development, workforce development, educational systems and industry around a set of common goals: increase completions of degrees and credentials for high-demand jobs and provide pathways to placements in those jobs for San Diegans. Advancing San Diego collects and communicates employer’s talent needs, identifies education programs providing top-quality training and covers the cost of internships for students of those programs in small companies.

To learn more about Advancing San Diego, visit advancingSD.org.
To apply to host a fully-funded software engineering intern, apply here.

About San Diego Regional EDC

San Diego Regional EDC mobilizes business, government and civic leaders around an inclusive economic development strategy in order to connect data to decision making, maximize regional prosperity, enhance global competitiveness, and position San Diego effectively for investment and talent. sandiegobusiness.org

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Media Contact
Sarah Lubeck, San Diego Regional EDC
sl@sandiegobusiness.org | 619.361.1437

Download a copy of the release

Meet our Advancing San Diego Preferred Providers

Meet the Preferred Providers.

Fueled by tech, defense, and life science industries, San Diego’s innovation economy relies on a pipeline of diverse talent. However, local companies continue to cite access to quality talent as a persistent challenge–98% of firms in San Diego are small companies (fewer than 100 employees) that often lack time and resources to effectively compete for talent with their larger counterparts. Meanwhile, many San Diegans are disconnected from high-demand job opportunities like software engineering, largely due to education requirements.

Made possible by JPMorgan Chase, Advancing San Diego is a demand-driven strategy to address talent shortages and remove barriers for small companies to access qualified workers. It is a collaborative effort between San Diego Regional EDC, San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association, San Diego Workforce Partnership, City of San Diego, and United Way of San Diego.

Over the last six months, Advancing San Diego partners worked with a group of 17 employers to develop a skills-based criteria for the region’s highest growth position over the past five years–software engineers. We asked that any education provider meeting that criteria apply for the Preferred Provider designation. An employer review panel then evaluated these applicants against the skills criteria to determine which programs should be designated as ‘Preferred Providers’, recognized as effectively preparing individuals for jobs and internships in software engineering.

EDC is excited to announce the first round of Preferred Providers of software talent.

Preferred Providers (Full Designation) – defined as fully preparing individuals for software engineering jobs.

Preferred Providers (Partial Designation) – defined as providing the foundational skillsets necessary for students to pursue a software engineering internship.

How small companies can get involved:

Over the next three years, Advancing San Diego will cover the cost of internships for Preferred Provider students within up to 100 small companies. Students will also participate in industry engagement opportunities such as career fairs and networking events, and become eligible for up to $500 each in flexible funds to support their success in the workplace. The Preferred Provider (full) and (partial) designations come with the same set of benefits. The first cohort will be placed in Summer 2020.

If you are a small company (<100 employees) that is interested in receiving interns from STEM fields and meets the eligibility criteria, apply now!

How education programs can get involved:

Advancing San Diego will continue to designate Preferred Providers in a variety of high-demand fields. Preferred Provider criteria and applications are updated and reviewed on an annual basis. The Preferred Provider application schedule is as follows:

For more information, visit AdvancingSD.org.

 

Future of Growth Forum 2020 hosts Brookings members to discuss inclusive growth

On the morning of Super Tuesday in February, leaders from business, philanthropy, education, and the public sector gathered at the San Diego Central Library for the Future of Growth Forum presented by Bank of America. Here, this community heard from members of the Brookings Network for Economic Inclusion (BNEI) on how they are addressing economic inclusion in their own cities across the country.

The panel followed opening remarks from Julian Parra, Senior Vice President of Executive Business Banking in the Pacific South West region at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, on why the bank sees this work as an economic imperative, as well as from Joe Parilla, Fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program on why inclusive growth matters for regional economic development.

Mark Cafferty, President and CEO of San Diego Regional EDC (EDC), moderated the panel. He opened with an explanation of what BNEI is, and how it has facilitated inspiring relationships between leaders of a variety of organizations, from unique cities, who have found themselves working to address very similar issues. The underlying issue is a modern lack of inclusivity, the long-lasting result of prejudices that existed for years, and still exist in systems across the country.

MarySue Barrett of the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) in Chicago kicked off the panel by sharing how MPC, a uniquely positioned economic development organization, made the case to their stakeholders that inclusivity was an economic imperative with a tangible cost. MPC’s report, The Cost of Segregation, quantified the economic impact of continuing to allow our communities to be segregated. That cost came out to approximately $4.4 billion. Each year that they continued living in a segregated society, they were losing out on $4.4 billion to their gross regional product. MPC followed this report with a two-part roadmap to equity, through which they outline how the region can address these issues.

Brad Whitehead of Fund our Economic Future in Cleveland, Ohio followed MarySue’s comments by discussing the inception of his organization, and how they are addressing the issue as it relates specifically to employment. Brad stated, “Economic development is too important to leave up to the economic developers.” In other words, this massive challenge across the United States must have the buy in of everyone in the economy – not just the economic development organizations, or just the philanthropies, but rather everyone together.

Following Brad’s comments, Tawanna Black of the Minneapolis Center for Economic Inclusion reminded us of the harsh realities of racial and economic segregation, that exist every single day in her city and in others across the country. As she explain how her organization works with business and philanthropy to “disrupt systems and influence market forces”, Tawanna reflected on a constant reminder of this economic imperative: her own children and their peers who are still today being treated differently because of the color of their skin, or their zip code.

Finally, Michael Huber discussed how the Indy Chamber works in a similar fashion to EDC, and related his own work, getting large employers in Indianapolis involved in inclusive growth, to what we are doing here is San Diego. Michael pointed out that the research Brookings did with Indianapolis served as a kind of myth-buster for them in revealing what challenges their constituents were actually facing when it came to inclusivity and affordability.

EDC would like to thank all of its supporters and partners for making this event, and this work, possible. A special thanks to The City of San Diego for its consistent support and for allowing us to use the beautiful Downtown Central Library.

To learn more about EDC’s inclusive growth work, visit inclusivesd.org, or follow along on Twitter using #inclusiveSD.

If you would like to support EDC’s inclusive growth initiative, contact Eduardo Velasquez.