EDC designates region’s top computing and engineering programs

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

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

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

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

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

How programs are verified

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

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

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

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

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

hire summer interns at no cost

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

Apply by March 7

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

Verified Programs of Computing

Verified Programs of Engineering

Learn More About Advancing San Diego

Host summer interns at no cost

funded summer internship program

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

Application part I

Application part II

TIMELINE

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

*Intern supervisors must be available these dates.

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

COMPUTING INTERNSHIPS

ENGINEERING INTERNSHIPS

BUSINESS INTERNSHIPS

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

Questions? Contact EDC:

Olivia Jones
Olivia Jones

Coordinator, Talent Initiatives

Talent Pipeline Management: EDC’s talent framework

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

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

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

An employer-led, data-driven approach.

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

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

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

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

How EDC uses the framework.

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

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

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

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

A TPM case study

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

READ THE CASE STUDY HERE

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

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

Leading partnerships for the region.

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

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

LEARN MORE AT ADVANCINGSD.ORG

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

Taylor Dunne
Taylor Dunne

Director, Talent Initiatives

More like this:

San Diego’s demand for talent: Computing and engineering

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

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

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

key FINDINGS for computing

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

Computing Talent Demand report   

key FINDINGS for engineering

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

Engineering Talent Demand report

WHAT’S NEXT?

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

Register here

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

 

Andrea Crisantes Suarez
Andrea Crisantes Suarez

Manager, Talent Initiatives

 

A talent update from EDC

March note from our Talent Initiatives lead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you,

Taylor Dunne
Taylor Dunne

Director, Talent Initiatives

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