Good News of 2019

A look at San Diego’s top headlines…

As we close out the year (and decade!) in San Diego, we want to take a moment to highlight some of the ‘good news’ about our region’s companies, leaders, institutions, and more. Keep reading below for a recap of this year’s top stories, and check out the full edition here.

Here’s to creating a more prosperous San Diego in the next decade.
-Team EDC

Together, San Diego leaders work to create a more inclusive regional economy
While the growth of our innovation economy has created tremendous opportunities, it has also perpetuated systemic inequities within our region. This year, we saw more companies, elected officials, and organizations make an active effort to build a more inclusive SD.

Local colleges add new programs, receive national accolades and funding
The region’s higher education system is integral for building a quality talent. This year, we saw more universities and colleges lean in to support a regional goal of 20,000 new skilled workers by 2030, while also earning recognition for new programs and accomplishments.

A great year for San Diego’s tech pioneer
Things are looking good for Qualcomm. This year, the tech giant took the no. 1 spot on Fortune’s Change the World List for connecting us all and bringing 5G to the globe. As part of its legal settlement, Qualcomm signed a six-year licensing deal with Apple. Following the announcement, Qualcomm stocks climbed 20 percent, marking the stock’s best day since 1999.

San Diego companies earn nearly $2 billion in VC funding
In 2019, San Diego saw 99 VC deals totaling nearly $2 billion (up to Q3). Majority of the VC transactions were concentrated in our local life sciences and healthcare sector, garnering $819 million in funds via 37 deals, followed by the tech sector with 27 deals. Since 1995, healthcare has consistently drawn the bulk of VC dollars into the region.

Global companies, startups and ‘unicorns’ make moves to San Diego
While the majority of our economic growth is going to come from companies already in the region, it’s always a good sign when firms relocate or open a new office in San Diego. This year, we saw some new names establish strongholds in the region, as well as existing companies, double-down on their presence.

San Diego tops national charts
2019 proved that San Diego was no stranger to some of the most coveted national rankings. From our vibrant startup ecosystem to our award-winning airport, high-level publications and organizations recognized what makes San Diego truly life-changing.

CONNECT joins forces with San Diego Venture Group
Two regional powerhouses with similar missions – to propel early-stage startups in San Diego – joined forces. This move brought forth a more resourceful, unified entity within San Diego, utilizing CONNECT’s reputation for supporting small, emerging tech companies mixed with SDVG’s impressive connections to VC investors.

San Diego welcomes new regional leaders
This year, influential organizations throughout the region brought on new leaders to spearhead their efforts.

San Diego celebrates 250 years!
In July 2019, City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and a group of representatives from the Kumeyaay nation gathered for a ceremony honoring San Diego’s 250th anniversary. The event took place at Old Town’s Presidio Park, marking the birthplace of San Diego and also commemorating the location where California began.

San Diego Integration Pilot Program (IPP) hits new milestones
San Diego is currently one of 10 state, local, and tribal governments to participate in the Integration Pilot Program, which allows our region to be at the forefront of an industry that is expected to reach a $43 billion market value by 2024. This year, the program – managed by EDC in collaboration with the City of San Diego – achieved new milestones.

Read all the Good News of 2019

Northrop Grumman pilots new student talent pipeline program in San Diego

Inspired by the newly-minted Advancing San Diego initiative and the company’s involvement with EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee, Northrop Grumman Corporation launched a new talent pipeline program in San Diego that provides community college STEM students with paid, work-based learning opportunities and a pathway to qualification for careers in the aerospace and defense industries.


Since the program’s inception earlier this year, Northrop Grumman has partnered with MiraCosta College and Palomar College for the pilot phase of the program during the 2019-2020 school year and is exploring additional partnerships through the San Diego & Imperial Counties Community College Association (SDICCCA) for the 2020-2021 school year.

Establishing a framework to collaborate with education systems is necessary for building a strong local talent pipeline and supports a long-term workforce planning strategy,” said Alfredo Ramirez, vice president, engineering, Northrop Grumman. “Our decision to develop a community college pilot fills a critical gap bridging K-12 and university programming, allowing us to reach and engage students in San Diego throughout their education journey.”

Check out the video below to see how Northrop Grumman’s program is building a better regional economy that benefits all San Diegans and directly supporting the goals set forth by EDC’s Inclusive Growth Steering Committee.

Looking to start your own talent pipeline program?

Learn more about advancing san diego

San Diego employers commit to addressing the region’s affordability crisis

In an effort to address San Diego’s soaring cost of living, San Diego Regional EDC and its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee of 40 employers officially endorsed a regional goal to create 75,000 newly thriving households by 2030. Driven by the findings in EDC’s latest study release, this regional goal and accompanying set of recommendations aim to address key factors (housing, transportation, and childcare) impacting San Diego’s affordability crisis – the last of three main goals of a regional Inclusive Growth agenda.

“While San Diego’s affordability crisis impacts everyone in the region, it has a disproportionate and devastating impact on African American and Hispanic communities,” said Mark Cafferty, president and CEO, San Diego Regional EDC. “The lack of affordable housing is a significant part of the problem, but those impacted are also the same residents who are dealing with the longest commute times, childcare deficits, limited connectivity to public transportation, and other barriers that make access to high-wage, high-skilled jobs particularly more difficult and burdensome.”

In its new study, EDC found that the majority of household incomes in San Diego do not meet the region’s expected cost of living ($96,000 annually for owner-occupied households and $61,000 annually for renter-occupied households). The cost of housing – twice the average among U.S. metros – is the primary driver of the region’s growing cost of living, pushing residents further away from job centers and resulting in longer commute times and increased cost of transportation.

Additional key findings include:
Affordability: San Diego is 47 percent more expensive than the average U.S. metro.
Housing: Half of all homeowners do not earn enough to cover their cost of living, and nearly 60 percent of all renters fall thousands of dollars short each year.
• Transportation: The average household spends more than $14,000 on transportation and travels nearly 20,000 miles over the course of a year.
• Childcare: There are now nearly twice as many children under the age of six with working parents as there are licensed childcare spaces available.

With the fifth highest median home price, staggering commute times for its poorest residents, and substantial childcare shortages, San Diego’s high cost of living not only impacts the region’s existing workforce, but also the pipeline of future talent.

“It is becoming more challenging to recruit talent from out of the San Diego region because San Diego is not an affordable place to live.  This is especially true in higher education where many competitors for talent are in low-cost college towns,” said Thom Harpole, human resources director, San Diego State University. “Salary and benefits packages alone are not adequate to address the problem.  Affordability in San Diego must be addressed to ensure the health of our communities and the success of our organizations in delivering on their missions.”

If the region’s housing, transportation, and childcare costs continue to rise at this rate, San Diego will no longer be an attractive place to live or work. To address this affordability crisis, the Inclusive Growth Steering Committee has endorsed a regional goal of creating 75,000 newly thriving households by 2030. To meet this new regional goal, San Diego must increase the proportion of households that can afford the region’s true cost of living from 47 percent to 55 percent. This means more housing, more transportation options, and more childcare. It also means growing household incomes through the local development of skilled workers and creation of more quality jobs.

“San Diego’s cost of living significantly impacts our ability to attract and retain talent from other destinations,” said Clifford “Rip” Rippetoe, president and CEO, San Diego Convention Center Corporation. “We need to be creative to compete.  We work to make sure that all of our employees have the opportunity to thrive in San Diego.”

The Inclusive Growth Steering Committee has recommended that employers support the regional goal through the following actions:
1. Transparency – understand the impacts that lack of affordability has on existing workforce and talent pipeline.
2. Engagement – participate in public policy dialogue around infrastructure development to address the region’s affordability challenges.
3. Investment – invest in programs and projects that help ameliorate cost of living pressures on workforce.

Employers that have officially endorsed this goal and recommendations include San Diego State University, San Diego Convention Center, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cox Communications, Northrop Grumman, and more. For a complete list of employers committed to this effort, visit the new interactive web study.

In 2018, EDC launched a data-driven, employer-led initiative focused on promoting inclusive growth as an economic imperative. Together with its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee, EDC has set collaborative regional goals, endorsed actionable recommendations for accomplishing them, and will continue to monitor its regional progress towards building a strong local talent pipeline, equipping small businesses to compete, and addressing San Diego’s affordability crisis.

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

View the full interactive web study release: Addressing San Diego’s Affordability Crisis.