Why Summer Bash?

400 San Diegans. One life-changing Summer Bash. Thanks to Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. and our generous underwriter NOVO Brazil Brewing Co., this year’s Summer Bash celebrated San Diego lifestyle, innovation, and talent, with all proceeds directly supporting EDC’s talent work.

Why San Diego: Life. Changing.?

In 2017, EDC launched San Diego: Life. Changing., a talent campaign breaking down the myth that San Diego was just a sleepy beach town good for only craft beer and burritos. Instead, we’re elevating what we all know to be true: That San Diego is a global innovation hub home to companies and people changing the world—and that more people can (and should) be part of that story. With between 75,000 and 85,000 monthly job postings in San Diego, and an average of 59,000 unemployed San Diegans each month to fill them, it’s clear we must devote some of our efforts to bringing talent into the region. And we do that by telling our story.

In San Diego, we’ve got the lifestyle, the culture, the collaborative ecosystem, and the brains that put some of our competitor metros to shame. And while we certainly share in their talent challenges, if any region or collective of people can solve hard problems, it’s all of us in San Diego.

That’s especially evident in San Diego born-and-bred companies like activewear unicorn Vuori.

Vuori: A San Diego success story

Originally an accountant from Seattle who turned to yoga to manage stress, Vuori founder and CEO Joe Kudla launched the Carlsbad-based activewear company as “an extension of all the things I loved and cared about in this world.”

At our 2023 Summer Bash, Joe shared: “Vuori draws inspiration from the way everyone in [San Diego] lives their life every day.”

Now a category leader and a unicorn valued at $4 billion, Vuori is eyeing 50 retail stores nationwide by the end of 2023, and adding hundreds of jobs here in San Diego. Not bad for a scrappy startup born out of an Encinitas garage.

What’s next?

That’s up to you, San Diego.

San Diego: Life. Changing. exists to help you tell our region’s story—one where you can have great beer and burritos, all while building a long and meaningful career at an innovative tech, life sciences, or lifestyle company. Because that’s what’s possible in a place like this.

Whether you’re in real estate or HR, or anything in between: Our digital toolkit includes a dedicated website, social, email marketing, video, and other tools available to help you ‘sell’ San Diego to talent, investors, clients, and more.

With and through you, we’re telling authentic stories of real San Diegans who do mission-driven work every day. Ready to join us?

Stay connected on social: LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter

In addition to our host Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc. and underwriter Nova Kombucha, thank you to our sponsors Marsh McLennan, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, Burger Construction, DPR Construction, GroundLevel Landscape Architecture, LPA, Inc., and The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP for your generous support of our talent attraction work. Thank you as well to Electra Bicycle Company for contributing your Loft Go! e-bikes for our silent auction. Your generosity continues to make our regional talent work possible, all year round.

Is San Diego a sports town? 2023 points to yes.

Read the original post on the San Diego: Life. Changing. blog.

San Diego is known for many things (beaches, craft beer, life-changing innovation), and #sports hasn’t always been at the top of the list. But if you look more closely, the city and region are well-positioned to stand among the nation’s competitive sports centers during the decade in front of us.

San Diego’s electrifying 2022 season

The historic investments made by the San Diego Padres led to one of the most celebrated and electric seasons in decades, taking down the rival LA Dodgers in the playoffs and earning a shot at the National League Championship in 2022. That momentum has only accelerated in 2023, as the Padres have become one of the hottest and most talked-about teams in all of professional sports.

As the nation’s most vibrant binational region, soccer has always dominated the parks and playing fields on both sides of the international border. Long anchored by the Tijuana Xolos and the San Diego Sockers, the region welcomed a new kind of professional soccer last year, as San Diego Wave FC went largely undefeated in their sold-out, record-breaking inaugural season.

And could a new MLS franchise be on the horizon?

What’s next for San Diego sports

In addition to that, San Diego’s Loyal soccer, Seals lacrosse, and Legion rugby teams have all set up shop in town just in the last several years, giving fans year-round opportunities to root for their home teams.

And now, following the SDSU Aztecs Men’s Basketball Team’s historic showing at 2023’s March Madness Championship, San Diego’s hopes are high as the Padres kick off their much-anticipated season.

After all, there’s no place quite like San Diego, and when you’re sitting at the most beautiful ballpark in baseball or at the newly-opened Snapdragon Stadium, the fans surely prove it.

Games we’re looking forward to

  • April 6 – Padres vs. Atlanta Braves
  • April 7 – San Diego Gulls vs. Calgary Wranglers
  • April 8 – San Diego Loyal vs. FC Tulsa
  • April 8 – San Diego Legion vs. Seattle Seawolves
  • April 10 – San Diego Padres vs. New York Mets
  • April 15 – San Diego Wave FC vs. OL Reign
  • April 15 – San Diego Loyal vs. New Mexico United

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

See more in our monthly report

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.





For more support, contact:

Taylor Dunne
Taylor Dunne

Director, Talent Initiatives

A note on talent from Bree

It’s not you—it’s all of us. 

The long talked about ‘war for talent’ is more competitive than ever, with established firms upending whole hiring systems to meet the demands of today’s applicants—and still, not getting enough. You are not alone; this is not a one-company problem. In our countless conversations with HR leaders and executives, it’s clear firms across industries and size are struggling to fill their open positions (EDC included).

In a survey of 200 local businesses, hiring difficulty reached a new high in December. That same month, local San Diego employers posted more than 158,000 unique jobs—nearly half of which were new positions and predominantly in STEM. And yet, there are just 61,000 people currently unemployed in the region.

Flexibility. Remote work. Mission. Culture. Inclusion. The pandemic flipped the script on workforce demands with companies across the country being stretched to meet the needs of prospective recruits. Established firms can’t compete with the benefits offered by startups from salary to signing bonus to equity. Startups can’t offer the structure or safety net available at large corporations. Yet San Diego is uniquely positioned to compete.

The region stands apart with its thousands of mission-driven companies, its unparalleled quality of life, and its collaborative ecosystem. These are the stories we tell in San Diego: Life. Changing., and the connections we drive through Advancing San Diego.

EDC can help:

  • Lean into the San Diego story in selling your business to recruits using these tools;
  • Engage with us to mold student curriculum to meet your industry needs;
  • Apply for interns paid for by EDC’s foundation;
  • And share your open roles for promotion across our channels.

And above all, turn inward to upskill and promote your existing workforce and consider rethinking existing job requirements which may be inadvertently excluding qualified San Diegans. Pandemic-induced challenges aren’t going away soon, and the battle for talent may endure, but with San Diego as your homebase, we’ve got you covered.

All my best—Bree

Bree Burris
Bree Burris

Director, Communications & Community Engagement


A note from Dr. Clarke

Goals for 2022

Like we do every year, our team spent the last few months of 2021 working with EDC’s executive committee, board, and investors to establish annual goals that are informed by current economic realities, led by employers, and have measurable outcomes that contribute to prosperity and competitiveness across the binational region. As San Diego emerges from a global pandemic to an economy full of contradictions—strong job growth, eye-watering VC numbers, and massive capital investment as well as widespread labor shortages, small business closures, and housing prices almost 30 percent higher than 2019—it is abundantly clear that smart economic development is inclusive economic development.

In 2021, EDC reframed our organizational goals around these fundamental building blocks of a strong economy—quality jobs, skilled talent, and thriving households—and committed to working with and through our investors to accelerate progress towards these Inclusive Growth goals. In 2022, resilience means connecting more people to innovation industries; competitiveness means more San Diegans have the skills the economy needs; and prosperity means that working families can afford to live here. Please find EDC’s 2022 goals outlined below.


Goal: The region needs to create 50K quality small business jobs by 2030.

EDC will contribute to this goal in 2022 through:

  • Industry Insight: Track regional business sentiment and economic resilience via regular research publications, and complete AI industry series.
  • Business Services: Execute 250+ business expansion, attraction, and retention projects and support major mixed-use projects, leading to 5,000 quality jobs. Leverage the Life Sciences Task Force to establish a “one-stop-shop” framework for expansion support for Life Sciences industry and major development projects.
  • World Trade Center San Diego: Execute MetroConnect VI export accelerator program and expand the export Small Business Development Center to support 35+ export-ready companies, leading to $5M+ in new international sales. Enhance binational project support in priority industries.


Goal: The region must create 20K degreed and credentialed workers per year by 2030.

EDC will contribute to this goal in 2022 through:

  • San Diego: Life. Changing.: Communicate opportunities for diverse, skilled talent in San Diego—especially to strategic competitive markets by enhancing Life Sciences recruiting tools.
  • Advancing San Diego: Maintain employer working groups and network of 40+ Preferred Providers for high-demand occupations, update and release regular talent demand reports, and place 80+ Healthcare and Life Sciences interns.


Goal: The region must create 75K newly thriving households by 2030.

EDC will contribute to this goal in 2022 through:

  • Anchor Collaborative: Set shared regional procurement goals for region’s largest purchasers, identify $100 million in new small business spend, and create supplier navigation map.
  • Global Identity: Advance San Diego’s global agenda, support investments in critical infrastructure, and lead Mayoral Thriving Cities trade mission to international market.
  • Inclusive Growth: Create regional alignment on Inclusive Growth goals, launch downtown research and policy collaboration at UCSD’s Park & Market, and execute demonstration project on infrastructure needs.

EDC programs have real, measurable outcomes—supporting thousands of quality jobs, placing hundreds of interns and job seekers, and creating opportunities for millions of dollars of new contracts for small businesses. But ultimately, even the most driven and passionate team won’t substantially move the needle on these ambitious regional goals; we do not ourselves create jobs, train workers, draft policy, or build roads, high-rises, or housing. You do.

EDC can draft the roadmap, but you all—our region’s largest employers—are the only ones who will get us there, through working collaboratively and creatively to accelerate progress towards our regional 2030 goals. That is what “with and through” our investors means, and we at EDC can’t wait to get started.

– Nikia

Nikia Clarke
Nikia Clarke

Senior Vice President; Executive Director, World Trade Center San Diego




A note from Mark…

Life Sciences innovation is at center stage of San Diego economy

As my mind continues to focus on the health of our community and our economy, I find so many of my conversations centering on the work of San Diego’s Life Sciences industry. Long an anchor of our region’s innovation economy, the Science and Biotech sectors are taking center stage in more ways than ever before—leading in vaccination and testing innovation, and in inbound financial investment and commercial real estate demand.

A key finding from our Q3 Economic Snapshot reveals that our local Life Sciences industry attracted nearly $1 billion in funding during the quarter—nearly 70 percent more than the amount received in the same quarter last year. Just last month, San Diego’s elected leaders were at the center of a deal to reduce prescription drug costs, while also supporting the funding model for scientific research and innovation that enables life-changing drugs, therapeutics, and cures to find their way to market—many from right here in San Diego.

With all of this swirling around us, it is no surprise that a great deal of EDC’s work continues to focus on the growth and support of the skilled workers and quality jobs that power San Diego’s Life Sciences industry, including the work summarized below:

  • Advancing San Diego‘s recently released Talent Demand Report outlines key talent needs in the Life Sciences industry, as determined by employers. The program is currently accepting applications for Preferred Providers of Life Sciences talent here.
  • EDC’s Life Sciences Task Force is working to build a strategic economic development framework for industry support in order to enhance the ability of Life Sciences companies to discover, grow, and thrive in the San Diego region. To complement this work by EDC’s economic development team and further support talent attraction and retention in the industry, San Diego: Life. Changing. will be pivoting its focus to primarily feature scientific innovation and opportunities for talent.
  • Current MetroConnect V finalist White Labs, along with three other diverse companies, will compete for an additional $25,000 in funding towards their international expansion strategies during MetroConnect’s virtual Grand Prize PitchFest on November 15, 2021. Register here to cast your vote—and apply HERE to be part of MetroConnect VI and take your company global with us.

With gratitude and optimism,

Mark Cafferty

Mark Cafferty
Mark Cafferty

President & CEO

Read edc’s monthly report

Unicorns are real: San Diego startups to watch

Read the original post on the San Diego: Life. Changing. blog.

A little-known secret about San Diego: We’re not a one-trick town. We’ve got surf and science, breweries and biotech. And whether we’re racking in record research dollars, raising VC, or making waves, our rapidly-growing club of San Diego unicorns across all industries means our secret is out.

What’s a unicorn? A privately-held startup valued at more than $1 billion. And now, unlike its namesake, unicorn sightings are increasingly common…especially as San Diego’s life sciences and tech startups reach new heights.

So who are some of San Diego’s coolest unicorns in 2021?


The app to replace them all, ClickUp helps you organize everything from workload to goals. After moving to San Diego from Silicon Valley, ClickUp raised $100 million, then another $400 million, making it a $4 billion tech unicorn.

Flock Freight

Want more efficient shipping while reducing your carbon footprint? Look to Flock Freight, a logistics provider that enables shared shipments. As a certified B Corporation, Flock Freight has also signed The Climate Pledge, committing to net-zero carbon by 2040.

Shield AI

Developing cutting-edge AI technology with decades worth of research and industry-leading talent, it’s no wonder Shield AI is now a unicorn. As one of the rare unicorns in the defense industry, Shield AI is revolutionizing how tech is used to protect service members and civilians.


As an industry-leading sales enablement platform, Seismic recently raised another $170 million round after acquiring Lessonly, bringing its total amount raised to $440 million. Valued at $3 billion, Seismic now has 1,300 employees and 13 offices around the world.


Started by a former Dolce and Gabbana model, Vuori is now valued at $4 billion after a $400 million investment by Softbank, one of the largest investments in a private apparel company. Vuori plans to expand internationally next year throughout Western Europe and Asia Pacific.


Following a $96 million Series G, Tealium joined the herd as one of San Diego’s newest tech unicorns. Tealium helps organizations leverage real-time data for creating insight and building personalized digital experiences across every team, technology, and customer touchpoint.


Biosplice restores health by delivering first-in-class therapies that harness alternative splicing, targeting kinases that govern the selection of tissue-specific and disease-selective RNA splice-sites. Its clinical pipeline focuses on osteoarthritis and oncology, with early-stage programs in neurology and other areas of significant unmet medical need in progress.


With a $160 million growth investment round, Kyriba is one of San Diego’s startup stars. Kyriba helps CFOs, corporate treasurers, and finance teams to make better strategic investment decisions, protect against fraud and financial risk, and unlock trapped cash through cash and liquidity management.

AAPI owned and operated businesses in San Diego

In recognition of Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, EDC’s brands pulled together the below blogs on AAPI innovators across the San Diego region. Check them out here:

Innovation at work: 5 AAPI-owned companies to know in San Diego 


  • Menon Renewable Products/Menon Biosensors
  • Mesa Biotech
  • MicroQ
  • Microtek
  • Seatrec

AAPI-owned and led businesses in North County



  • Seatrec
  • Carlsbad Strawberry Company
  • Applied Membranes
  • Girl & Dug Farm
  • Yasukochi Family Farms
  • Menon Renewable Products

Why San Diego is the best place to work from home

This was originally posted on the San Diego: Life. Changing. blog. Go there to see more.

Among many things, COVID-19 has launched us into the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment, and we’ve been left with more questions than answers. What does the future of work look like? And if you’re working remotely, does it really matter where you are?

We’re here to tell you that where you work matters. Here are three reasons why San Diego is the best place to work from home:

  1. Meaningful work: Apart from beauty, San Diego’s talent and companies have the brains and willpower to make a positive impact in the world.Here, we have San Diego companies like GoFundMe and Sony turn compassion into action with their initiatives to spread positive change in our communities…and the world. And teams at Thermo Fisher ScientificSanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery InstituteCue Health, and countless others are at the forefront of fighting COVID-19. For more teams that make you believe in a better, healthier world, check out these 13 San Diego companies that made significant COVID-19 breakthroughs in 2020.If that weren’t enough, companies here really commit to their employees long-term. Employees at Vista’s Dr. Bronner’s receive up to 10 percent of their salary paid annually into a retirement and profit-sharing plan. And El Cajon’s Taylor Guitars has transferred complete ownership of the company to its nearly 1,200 employees, giving their team the unprecedented opportunity to build generational wealth throughout their careers. Check out which companies call San Diego home: explore San Diego’s company map.
  1. After work opportunities: So you have a life-changing idea. You’re in good company in San Diego. After logging off for the day, you can transform your brilliant spark into a business by leaning on Startup San Diego and San Diego Tech Hub‘s online communities. Here, you’ll find resources to get started.. and plenty of folks who will cheer you on every step of the way. The best part: San Diego’s networking events are online right now, so you can connect with investors, mentors, innovators, and more from the comfort of your couch.
  1. The great outdoors: It’s no secret that San Diego boasts some of the best weather in the nation. Our versatile landscape invites lucky locals to enjoy a diverse array of activities, proving the indisputable: west coast is the best coast. Take a break from work with a socially distanced walk along miles of pristine coastline through Pacific Beach or La Jolla. And on the weekend, check out one of San Diego’s best hikes, or load up your family, sleds, and winter coats to head east to snowy Mount Laguna.