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.
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!
In the meantime, please register to attend our workshop geared toward building and improving your company’s internship program. While it is not a requirement for companies to attend the workshop and be eligible to host interns, it is highly encouraged.
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:
Through it all, EDC impacted 5,228 jobs and worked on 179 projects – supported by companies, investors, community partners, and more – on behalf of San Diego’s economy. While our work spans multiple industries and organizations, with various programs and goals, there’s an universal thread that ties it all together: build a more inclusive economy that benefits all San Diegans.
As we close out 2019 and another successful decade, let us recap our top 10 wins for San Diego…
San Diego: Life. Changing.’s Just Say No to Winter campaign received national attention
Going into its fourth year, SD: Life. Changing. is our award-winning campaign that aims to attract and retain talent for our region. We kicked off 2019 with Just Say No to Winter, a transit and social media campaign that targeted STEM talent in Boston, Chicago, and New York during the peak of winter with information about career opportunities in San Diego. Thanks to this go-viral marketing push – and coverage in The New York Times, the nationally-syndicated program “The List,” and more – we saw 34X the ROI, 2.6 million social media impressions, and 36K video views.
EDC received its largest grant in history, catalyzing Advancing San Diego
World Trade Center SD’s MetroConnect export assistance program had its best year yet
Made possible through a grant from JPMorgan Chase & Co., MetroConnect provides small- and medium-sized companies with the resources necessary to expand into global markets. During the 2018-19 program, companies in MetroConnect IV collectively generated a net increase of $69.6 million in export sales, signed 369 international contracts, and opened 10 new facilities overseas. Together, the 20 participating companies also created more than 100 jobs in San Diego – evidence that exporting supports the increase of jobs locally.
While the growth of our innovation economy has created tremendous opportunity, it has also perpetuated systemic inequities. 2019 was all about elevating an inclusive economic development strategy – the lens in which EDC views all of its work – so that economic growth is seen and felt among the entire region. In order to effectively do this, EDC’s employer-led Inclusive Growth Steering Committee supported actionable recommendations and measurable targets for creating a San Diego that benefits all residents. By 2030:
With support from EDC, Cubic Corporation secured $8.5M in tax credits & broke ground on its new HQ
“Since our founding in 1951, we have established strong roots in the San Diego community and it was very important for us to remain headquartered here. The San Diego Regional EDC was an integral resource for our redevelopment. They were able to strategically bring key partners together and secure incentives that best positioned us to redevelop our headquarters in the Kearny Mesa area.” – Anshooman Aga, executive vice president and CFO at Cubic Corporation
EDC managed San Diego’s Integration Pilot Program (IPP), propelling 1,150+ successful missions
From monitoring coastal erosion to fighting wildfires, drones offer enormous social and environmental benefits. San Diego is currently one of 10 state, local, and tribal governments to participate in the Integration Pilot Program, which has allowed our region to be at the forefront of an industry that is expected to reach a $43 billion market value by 2024.
EDC produced 24 reports to help residents and businesses better understand San Diego’s economy
EDC provides research and data to local companies, site selectors, and civic leaders to help them make well-informed decisions about our economy. From monthly reports (and videos) that chart key economic indictors to customized economic impact reports for companies, EDC’s research helped the regional stakeholders better understand this place we call home.
Innovate78 ampliﬁed its reach along the 78 Corridor, convening more than 500+ individuals
International partnerships take time, but based on initial meetings on the trade mission, San Diego has planted the seed for long-term relationships with major companies, including BMW, IBM, Siemens, Daimler, and more.
Since its founding in 1989, Cal State San Marcos (CSUSM) has put its commitment to social mobility at the forefront of its educational mission. The university’s dedication to economic opportunity was recognized this week when it was named among the nation’s leaders in social mobility.
The Social Mobility Index
CSUSM ranks 36th nationally out of almost 1,500 schools measured in the sixth annual Social Mobility Index (SMI) by CollegeNET.
The SMI focuses directly on the factors that enable economic mobility. The index is computed from five variables: published tuition, percentage of students whose families have incomes below $48,000 (slightly below the U.S. median), graduation rate, median salary approximately five years after graduation, and endowment size.
“Nationally, higher education is often called out for reinforcing inequality rather than closing socioeconomic gaps,” said EDC Board Member and CSUSM President Ellen Neufeldt “However, our rising SMI ranking embodies our collective efforts to serve any student who dreams of the opportunities that come with a college education as we help them reach their full potential.”
CSUSM improved its ranking in the SMI for the fourth consecutive year. The university ranked 74th in 2015, 62nd in 2016, 54th in 2017, and 52nd last year.
How CSUSM is creating a more inclusive San Diego
As EDC looks to create a more inclusive San Diego, CSUSM and other regional educational institutions are playing a pioneering role in San Diego’s strategy. Afterall, CSUSM is a crucial part of creating a sustainable talent pipeline. Nearly 80 percent of its graduates remain in the region following graduation. In 2018, the university opened its engineering program, creating a technical talent pipeline for companies such as Viasat and emerging regional startups.
CSUSM is trying to correct systematic inequities in that are often ever-present in the educational system. More than half (54 percent) of its graduates are first-generation bachelor’s degree recipients. Additionally, nearly half of its students qualify for Federal Pell Grants. In order to support students from all backgrounds, the university offers community-based learning opportunities, internships, undergraduate research opportunities and more to ensure student success.
In November, EDC hosted a ‘Data Science Trek,’ which brought together 65 aspiring data scientists from colleges and universities across the region. Throughout the day, students from MiraCosta College, UCSD, SDSU, USD, and Alliant International University toured Booz Allen Hamilton, Walmart Labs, and Intuit and engaged in panel discussions with local data science professionals.
With the emergence of big data and growing need to analyze a high volume of information that is collected at every second, Data Science is a rapidly growing field across the globe. Companies require highly skilled talent to process the information, which helps inform business decisions, improve efficiency, and understand the precise requirements of customers, among other applications.
Trek participants got a firsthand look at how their classroom learning will translate into the workplace. For many, this event marked a ‘first’ for meeting with professionals, learning about day-to-day workflow, and visualizing themselves as data scientists in San Diego.
Among the slew of exciting projects presented, Walmart Labs described how they are using in-store robotics via shelf-scanning robots to improve quality assurance. Whether it’s a stock-out, missing label, or inaccurate price, this technology is helping maximize an associate’s time and improving customer service.
Booz Allen Hamilton previewed its new artificial intelligence platform called ‘Modzy,’ which will give customers access to a revolutionary marketplace of pre-trained AI models from leading machine-learning companies. As they group learned about these cutting-edge projects, one participant said, “Data Science is not just a buzz word. Data Scientists solve real and interesting problems!”
Following the Trek, 95 percent of surveyed participants felt more informed about opportunities in the local data science industry. Also encouraging, 97 percent of the group stated that they do intend on pursuing a career in the San Diego region. As one of three companies showcased from the region, the three employers had an opportunity to meet with students from the local STEM talent pool and be proactive in the recruitment process.
From Booz Allen Hamilton’s blend of strong corporate culture mixed with young, collaborative data science team, to Walmart Labs’ tech startup vibe, and also Intuit’s cutting-edge tech campus, each company showcased its unique workplace setting. This gave students a chance to see the wide array of work environments that are available in San Diego, while better realizing their own workplace preferences.
The Trek Series represents a larger regional effort, led by San Diego Regional EDC, promoting careers in San Diego by connecting students to various industries. For students engaged in this program, we are confident they will choose San Diego as their career destination. Hear about it firsthand from the participants:
“This experience was overall very insightful and lots of fun, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to stoke their curiosity and get expert advice on data science in San Diego.” —Isabella Messina, Bachelor’s student (B.S. Computer Science), San Diego State University
“One of the most impactful experiences I have had…and have taken away a lot with regards to the kind of personal progress that I will need to forge a successful career in the coming years.”—Ashok Anand B, Master’s student (M.S. Big Data Analytics), San Diego State University
“Waiting for hours to speak with a representative and shouting over the background noise at career fairs is definitely no competition to the Data Science Trek.” —Levan Badzgaradze, Master’s student (M.S. Computer Science), San Diego State University
Are you a San Diego company looking to attract talent? We’re here to help.
We might be a little biased, but we think San Diego is a pretty special place. It’s full of passionate forward-thinkers who somehow find the perfect balance of both working hard and playing hard. So what’s San Diego’s secret formula? Simply add life-changing companies, nearby mountains and beaches, and friendly, driven people, and a great work-life balance will come naturally. Here, it’s almost impossible not to have it all – and telecommunications heavyweight Viasat is all about this harmony.
Located in the growing tech hub of Carlsbad, Viasat is a global communications company that enables high-quality, affordable internet connection for new markets. Viasat innovators design solutions to provide Wi-Fi for commercial aviation, military technology, and underserved areas. We met Gary Lovely, a lead front-end engineer (now promoted to development manager) who moved to San Diego from the Bay Area. At Viasat, he helps connect communities to internet access, enabling more opportunities for people around the world.
“San Diego has actually given me a new lease on life, to be able to understand that I can, in a way, have it all,” he said. Even with this critical work, Gary still finds time to take advantage of Viasat’s indoor and outdoor collaborative spaces, and enjoy its basketball and beach volleyball courts. “[Before San Diego,] I didn’t realize that work-life balance was something that existed. Coming from the Bay Area, everyone always preached about it, but no one actually lived it.”
To learn more about how Viasat employees solve important problems while enjoying life, watch Gary’s video below. You’ll discover how San Diego enables a life in balance and, most importantly, why Gary loves coming to work every day. “When we’re able to solve a problem that impacts a large mass of people, it brings us a lot of joy to know that we’re doing the right thing for the community and the world as a whole,” he said. Transforming lives, including your own – it doesn’t get more #SDlifechanging than that.
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.”
ADDRESSING SAN DIEGO’S AFFORDABILITY CRISIS 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.
EDC’S INCLUSIVE GROWTH INITIATIVE 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.
In an effort to provide residents with increased access to high-demand jobs, San Diego Regional EDC launched Advancing San Diego, a $3 million local investment initiative underwritten by JPMorgan Chase. The program will align industries with economic development, workforce development and education systems.
“Talented and skilled workers are integral for a strong economy,” said Mark Cafferty, president & CEO at San Diego Regional EDC. “With and through our program partners and stakeholders, we are establishing a first-of-its-kind, employer-led initiative that will measure and aggregate workforce needs while also indentifying solutions that align and strengthen our local education systems. We need to ensure that the benefits of our region’s growing innovation economy are reaching all San Diegans.”
Advancing San Diego will establish nine working groups that are designed to give employers a collective voice about talent needs in priority industries, ranging from software and technology to marketing, healthcare and more. In the first report, 17 participating employers expressed a projected need for more than 7,200 additional software-related positions over the next three years.
As San Diego’s economy continues to expand, employers are seeing an increased demand for skilled workers. While San Diego strives to attract and retain talent, it must also look inward to build a workforce that meets demands for current and future jobs. EDC and its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee of 40 employers have endorsed a regional goal to double the number of skilled workers produced in San Diego County to 20,000 per year by 2030. This requires strong, effective learning programs offered by community colleges and other education institutions.
The goals of Advancing San Diego are to:
Engage employers in a structured process to collectively communicate talent needs
Identify education programs that are aligned with industry needs
Increase the pool of diverse, skilled talent in San Diego
Expand access to talent pipelines for small companies
“By 2020, nearly two of every three jobs in the U.S. will require a credential or degree, and currently, 90 percent of our students remain in San Diego after graduation,” said Dr. Sunita “Sunny” Cooke, superintendent & president at MiraCosta Community College District. “Community colleges play a critical role in creating a diverse talent pipeline for the region. The Advancing San Diego program willhelp connect the work occurring within local community colleges to ensure we offer innovative curricula that support employer needs and include opportunities for students to apply their learning in workplace settings so graduates are ready for employment.”
Education systems that are aligned with results set forth by the working groups will be listed as ‘preferred providers’ by Advancing San Diego. This designation rewards higher education students with priority access to work-based learning and engagement opportunities via networking events, career and internship fairs, and local company tours. To learn more and become a ‘preferred provider,’ educators are encouraged to apply at advancingSD.org.
“Start-ups like LunaPBC are rich with mission, purpose, and the opportunity for personal and professional growth,” said Dawn Barry, co-founder & president at LunaPBC. “Unlike large employers, startups are often lower on salary, but offer exciting equity and the opportunity to experience first-hand what it’s like to build an enterprise. When large employers work together with smaller employers, and pursue partnerships with incubators and accelerators, higher education and regional development teams, we strengthen our collective visiblity as a region for career development.”
Report: Demand for Software Talent and Criteria for ‘Preferred Providers’ Working group members were asked to provide hiring projections along with skills and competency requirements for critical jobs, in order to identify programs that align with industry needs. Collectively, these results were compiled into the Demand for Software Talent Report and will create a criteria for ‘preferred providers’ of software – a designation by employers that demonstrates an education program is providing adequate training for software engineers.
Companies that contributed to this report represent industries with the highest proportion of software talent in San Diego, including tech, life sciences, healthcare and defense. Based on the participation of 17 employers who collectively employ approximately 53,000 people and share a need for software talent, this report indicates the working group is projected to hire more than 7,220 additional software professionals over three years.
Software engineers accounted for the highest future hiring demand among all software occupations in working group companies, making up 53 percent of total projections
Entry-level software engineers represent the highest hiring need of any position at any level
Collectively, the working group projects they will hire more than 1,700 entry-level software engineers over the next three years
Approximately 44 percent of working group employers require a bachelors degree for entry-level software engineers
Through the Advancing San Diego collaboration, San Diego strives to cultivate a more inclusive economy, as this initiative will look inward to address regional talent shortages and strengthen the relationship between employers and education systems.
For more information about the new Advancing San Diego initiative, future working groups, or to be listed as a ‘preferred provider, visit advancingSD.org. Follow along and join the conversation at #advancingSD.
Serving the defense and transportation industries, Cubic Corporation is a global company with clients on nearly every continent. The company has called Kearny Mesa home for 50 years, currently based in an aging set of buildings that have not kept pace with the company’s. Its facilities were divided onto two major campuses in the Kearny Mesa area, creating a lack of cohesion among its business units.
With competition for tech talent at an all-time high, Cubic’s leadership was concerned its outdated facilities would discourage potential hires. Cubic needed to modernize and redevelop its campus to help attract talent, while also providing adequate facilities for the next 50 years. Despite its long history as a San Diego company, Cubic was experiencing pressure to build its headquarters in a lower-cost state such Tennessee, Alabama, orFlorida, where Cubic had other growing operations. As a result, EDC worked hand-in-hand with Cubic’s team to secure the necessary incentives to keep San Diego a competitive option, despite pressure to relocate its facilities out-of-state.
Utilizing both state and local programs, EDC was able to leverage its expertise in incentives consulting in order to help this 50-year-old staple company stay in California. EDC developed a strategy to capture a number of incentive programs, which offset the cost of rebuilding its headquarters in San Diego. Additionally, EDC worked as an intermediary to both the City and State departments on behalf of cubic to ensure processes were staying on track and that the campus redevelopment was seen as a priority by all parties.
Cubic secured a CalCompetes Tax Credit worth $8.5 million. Locally, Cubic was able to secure expedited processes through the City of San Diego, in addition to a Business Incentive Program and Business Cooperation Program award. In total, the incentives and expedited processes provided gave Cubic the necessary offsets and timeline confidence to commit to redeveloping its Kearny Mesa headquarters, and keeping San Diego as its home for decades to follow.
ABOUT CUBIC CORPORATION: Cubic is an American public corporation providing diversified systems and services to the transportation and defense markets worldwide. Cubic Corporation is the parent company of three major divisions: Cubic Transportation Systems, Cubic Mission Solutions and Cubic Global Defense. cubic.com
Talent is the cornerstone of today’s global economy. It drives corporate location decisions, encourages innovative urban planning and inspired entrepreneurship. In essence, talent is the key to economic growth. If regions – such as San Diego – want to get ahead, they must have the worksforce to compete. This study looks at San Diego’s standing among peer U.S. metropolitan regions with regard to highly-skilled scientific, engineering, and tech talent. By analyzing its strengths and addressing challenges, San Diego can better improve its edge in attracting and retaining talent and investment.