San Diego’s role in the Navy’s fleet sustainment mission

This is a developing story; last update was made May 2024.

In April 2023, San Diego Regional EDC and its partners hosted the Shipbuilding Regional Industrialization Pilot (SHIP) Regional Visioning event at UC San Diego Park & Market.

The day-long workshop was the first part of a multi-state effort to understand unique regional challenges facing the nation’s defense industrial base. Critical partners in the effort included a Navy Program Executive Office (PEO SSBN), California Manufacturing Technology Consultants (CMTC), Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association (SDSRA), the Office of Congressman Scott Peters (CA-50) and more. The day’s speakers included Congressman Scott Peters, Scott Frost at Industrial Base Analysis and Sustainment (IBAS); Jess Key, Manager of Supplier and Workforce Development at Electric Boat; Gordon Rutherford, President of SDSRA; Kyle Turner, Program Manager at PEO SSBN; and a panel discussion with members of industry.

The SHIP Regional Visioning event gathered diverse industry, education, policy makers, and civic leaders’ perspectives on critical priorities for the shipbuilding industrial base, including:

  1. Industrial base workforce
  2. Technology and innovation
  3. Strategic outsourcing
  4. Data analytics and proactive risk management
  5. Material readiness and sustainment
  6. Supply chain infrastructure and engagement


In collaboration with the Navy, the U.S. Department of Defense’s (DOD) IBAS program office launched the SHIP program to help regions address supply chain and workforce gaps across the defense shipbuilding industry. IBAS selected the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station’s SecureAmerica Institute to deliver data-driven and relationship-based roadmaps to scale and deploy regional workforce and technology adoption solutions that simultaneously support the near-term and future needs of the shipbuilding industrial base.

In addition to San Diego, these efforts are also taking place in the New England and Great Lakes regions. In each region, the Regional Visioning workshop is followed by series of deep dives into topics that arose during the workshop, as well as a Threatcasting activity.

The SecureAmerica Institute then delivers key event takeaways, as well as investment and solution recommendations, to the IBAS team.


IBAS, SecureAmerica Institute, and other implementation partners rely on regional champions and local experts to help guide their understanding of each region. At the SHIP Regional Visioning event, San Diego Regional EDC presented preliminary findings from its ongoing Talent Flow Analysis project in collaboration with San Diego’s major defense industrial base employers over six months.

What we learned: Poor communication between regional industry leaders and education partners drives a mismatch of talent supply and demand, exacerbated by a lack of shared strategy around industry recruitment efforts.


  • Long-term, there is shrinking interest in the skilled trades. Improved demand signaling, as well as employer engagement in career exploration at the K-12 level could open doors for more young people to be trained in the skilled trades.
  • DOD contracting methods and San Diego’s high cost of living continue to put pressure on the existing talent pipeline. This incentivizes talent to transition to different skilled trades-reliant industries or move outside the region altogether.

read the full report


During the event, breakout groups with equal representation from each group of participants (industry, education, policymakers, and civic leaders) covered the critical topics listed above in three separate phases:

  1. Obstacles: What are the consistent themes that are driving the challenges in the area? Groups saw consistent obstacles with awareness and perception, cost of living and compensation, skilled manufacturing workers, contracting and supplier support, and inconsistent demand signaling.
  1. Enablers: What entities exist that play a critical role in addressing the identified obstacles? Groups identified education and training programs, marketing and communication initiatives, technology incubators, and government and policy support as enablers.
  1. Resourcing: What resources could be adapted, scaled, or started to tackle the identified challenges? Conversations centered around workforce education, training, and recruiting program areas. Some also highlighted supply chain, policy and economic, and infrastructure program areas.

Taking Action

By the summer of 2023, the SHIP team assembled a roadmap and presented investment recommendations based on the data collected. EDC convened key partners including San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP), San Diego/Imperial Counties Community College Consortium, San Diego/Imperial Center of Excellence for Labor Market Research (COE), East County Economic Development Council, and California Manufacturing Technology Consulting (CMTC) to submit five white papers indicating how funds could be deployed in the region to achieve the investment recommendations made by the SHIP team. The collaborative anticipates we will receive information about regional investments into new and existing programming by the end of Summer 2024.

In the meantime, EDC, through support from BlueForge Alliance, is conducting an employer working group that builds on the original Talent Flow Analysis project. This group will produce workforce demand data looking into 2025 and help local partners understand what interventions will be most useful in strengthening the talent pipeline of skilled tradespeople into defense industrial base companies. The results of the working group will be available in June 2024, in conjunction with the release of funding.

Interested in getting involved? Please reach out to Director of Talent Initiatives Taylor Dunne for more information.

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Taylor Dunne
Taylor Dunne

Director, Talent Initiatives


EDC, SBDC research show talent acquisition is greatest challenge to small businesses

Small businesses are one of the cornerstones of San Diego’s regional economy. More than 61 percent of all jobs in the region are within a business that employs less than 100 employees, which is nearly double the national average.

However, small businesses are also the most prone to economic downturns relative to their larger peers. The pandemic caused approximately half of all small businesses to face extended closures locally, with many shutting down permanently. On top of that, a job at a small business will pay 34 percent lower wages, on average, than a job at a larger business.

To better understand where small businesses currently stand and their evolving needs in this ever-changing business climate, EDC, San Diego & Imperial Valley Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and BW Research conducted a survey of small businesses across San Diego and Imperial Counties. This survey was done in partnership with SBDC to inform its network of advisors to best provide support and programming. Here’s what we learned:

expansion of workforce

Job growth for small businesses has been flat for the past two years. Nearly half of small businesses surveyed indicated no change in employment and an additional 19 percent reported a decrease in employment. This trend is applicable to small businesses in most industries. Businesses in food service, tourism, and hospitality industries experienced less of a decline in employment since the end of 2021. This could be due to pandemic-induced tourism slowdowns when travel was limited. On the other hand, firms in the construction and design industries reported an expansion in employment 12 percentage points above the average, reflecting the region’s investment in infrastructure and development.

However, when asking small businesses about their near-term outlook, nearly one out of three expect to increase hiring over the next 12 months. Firms in the high-paying innovation economy (life sciences, emerging technologies, information, and communication technologies industries) stood ahead of the pack, with 43 percent expecting to add to their workforce. Additionally, 48 percent of small businesses that have a customer base that expanded outside the region had a positive outlook, compared to only 23 percent of firms that serve customers primarily in the region.

Hiring is the greatest challenge

The most significant challenge that small businesses face is recruiting and hiring qualified staff. More than half (55 percent) of small businesses reported some level of difficulty in talent acquisition. Mid-sized (10 to 24 employees) and larger small businesses (25 to 100 employees), as well as firms with more years of experience under their belt, struggle more with finding talent relative to micro businesses (two to nine employees) and younger firms. As a firm grows over time, expansion in its workforce is necessary, but finding the right people to fill roles is hindering most small businesses. This becomes more of a problem when considering that larger businesses are competing for the same talent. Read more about San Diego’s talent outlook on our talent dashboard.

Other significant challenges for small businesses include navigating rules and regulations (44 percent), retaining qualified staff (43 percent), finding affordable commercial or working space (43 percent), and securing necessary funding (43 percent). Younger small businesses are more likely to have difficulties with issues in the early stages of a business like finding an affordable working space or securing necessary funding. More experienced firms are more likely to have difficulties attracting and retaining talent as they look to expand.

Relocation risk

Of small businesses surveyed, seven percent revealed they are planning or exploring a move out of the region. Additionally, 20 percent indicated that although they plan to stay in the region for now, they have considered a move out of the region at some point in the future. When looking at retention by industry, the distribution and logistics industry has the highest proportion of firms planning to leave the region. Furthermore, 35 percent of responding firms in the high-paying, fast-growing innovation economy industries have considered leaving the region—the highest among all industry groups.

Those small businesses that have considered or are planning to leave the region have more difficulty with facets of doing business. Three in five small businesses that are planning to move out of the county report difficulty in navigating these rules and regulations. More specifically, labor regulations, permitting, and taxes are the most common issues that firms run into. Finding an affordable working space and securing funding are also challenges more commonly found in firms that are likely to leave.

Small businesses that rated local programs and resources as a weakness are more likely to leave the region than those that rated it as a strength. Connecting these small businesses to the right resources can help alleviate the challenges they are facing. Greater and more targeted awareness of what is currently available to help small businesses, like EDC business services and SBDC services, could help.

Tap into local resources

If you are a small business in need of assistance, connect with SBDC and its network of advisors, and access on-demand training and live workshops. For additional resources to help your business grow see EDC’s Doing Business Here page. Additionally, learn more about EDC’s Anchor Institution Collaborative, which aims to increase small business resilience by connecting them to large buyers in the region.


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


  • 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.

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.




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

EDC report: 2023 Inclusive Growth Progress

Report: San Diego affordability crisis threatens latest jobs and talent gains

Today, San Diego Regional EDC released its 2023 Inclusive Growth Progress Report. With updated data and bold objectives set around increasing the number of quality jobs, skilled talent, and thriving households critical to the region’s competitiveness, the report measures San Diego’s growth and recovery, and spotlights the greatest threats to prosperity.

Making the business case for inclusion, EDC releases this annual report to track progress toward the region’s 2030 goals: 50,000 new quality jobs* in small businesses; 20,000 skilled workers per year; and 75,000 newly thriving households**. Since its launch in 2017, the initiative has rallied public commitments from County, City, academic, and private sector leaders who are leveraging the Inclusive Growth framework to inform their priorities, tactics, and resource allocation. While much about the economy remains uncertain, intentional and consistent efforts by a diverse set of regional stakeholders will be key to achieving these goals.

“Large and small businesses, nonprofits, and government all play important roles in building a strong local economy and expanding economic inclusion,” said Jennie Brooks, Executive Vice President at Booz Allen Hamilton and EDC Board Chair. “Booz Allen is empowering its employees with training in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and is committed to helping prepare local, diverse San Diegans for tech careers of the future. We are proud to partner with local nonprofits and small businesses to make advanced technology broadly accessible to students and create a supportive ecosystem in San Diego to drive inclusive economic growth.”


Over the past decade, the San Diego region has experienced a notable upswing in general prosperity, standard of living, average wages, and productivity, including a full recovery from the pandemic across virtually every sector. Yet, these gains have not been evenly distributed.

In terms of racial, geographic, and overall inclusion, San Diego has slipped; the pandemic has hit lower-income households and minority communities hardest. The relative poverty rate has increased while median earnings and the household wage gap between white and non-white populations has widened. Record-level inflation has hit struggling San Diego households hard, and high operating costs have degraded the ability of businesses to attract and retain talent.

Despite these obstacles, San Diego is once again making headway on the quality jobs and skilled worker goals; see charts below. 2021 saw an uptick in small business jobs as well as the highest increase in post-secondary education (PSE) completions in more than a decade.

However, decreasing affordability coupled with uneven economic prosperity not only threatens that progress but indeed may mean that San Diego falls even further behind its peer metros on overall prosperity. The region now needs to add 125,000 newly thriving households by the end of the decade to meet the goal.

The region’s expensive and limited housing market has exacerbated inflation across all categories, with fewer than 44 percent of San Diego households considered thriving. The affordability crisis will primarily impact Black and Latino households, of which more than half are low-income, and continue to challenge employers’ ability to attract and retain talent—posing the single greatest threat to the region’s economic growth.

“While EDC’s report demonstrates San Diego’s remarkable resilience in the face of the pandemic, our jobs and talent gains are being diminished by the region’s affordability crisis. Unless we get this right, San Diego will always be catching up,” said Lisette Islas, Executive VP and Chief Impact Officer at MAAC, and EDC Vice Chair of Inclusive Growth.

Join the movement

Using a demand-driven, employer-led, and outcomes-based approach, San Diego private, public, and community leaders must deploy creative solutions to achieve these 2030 goals. EDC invites the community to join us at one of two upcoming webinars to learn more about the data and how to get involved:

“We’re seeing HR departments dissolve degree requirements, big buyers redirecting procurement spend, governments streamlining permitting processes, and developers prioritizing on-site childcare. This is the level of regional adoption required to move the needle on inclusion, and EDC is committed to continuing to tell a data-driven story to make the business imperative clear. San Diego’s future depends on it,” said Teddy Martinez, Senior Manager, Research, San Diego Regional EDC.

Read the full report at, and all previous updates at

The initiative is sponsored by Bank of America, City of San Diego, County of San Diego, JPMorgan Chase & Co., San Diego Gas & Electric, Seaport San Diego, Southwest Airlines, and University of San Diego Knauss School of Business.

more at

*Quality job = $45K wages + healthcare benefits.

**Thriving household = total income covers cost of living for renter- or owner-occupied households, at $79K and $122K respectively.

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.


“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.


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

Taylor Dunne
Taylor Dunne

Director, Talent Initiatives

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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.

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


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.


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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

Building the future: Manufacturing Month 2022

Blog brought to you by our friends at Walmart.

Manufacturing Month is a time to celebrate the industry’s impact and to inspire the next generation of skilled workers to grow their careers in modern manufacturing. With its highly-skilled workforce, robust training programs, and close proximity to Mexico, San Diego is a hub for advanced manufacturing, with nearly 3,583 firms currently supporting more than 114,000 jobs across the region.

Manufacturing in San Diego

By 2023, the U.S. will need to fill four million manufacturing jobs—a demand San Diego is particularly well-positioned to help meet. Between 2017 and 2021, San Diego’s manufacturing employment grew 5.5 percent compared to a nation-wide decrease of 0.9 percent. Even California experienced a net loss of overall manufacturing jobs during that same period (-2.0 percent).

The industry’s continued growth through the pandemic is driven by the resilient and advanced nature of San Diego’s manufacturing base, which uses innovative technology to improve products or processes. From craft beer to virtual reality technology, to shipbuilding and life-saving pharmaceuticals, manufacturing has long been a pillar of the region’s economy, with impact spanning far beyond San Diego.

Find manufacturing talent and jobs

Looking to build your manufacturing team? Advancing San Diego’s Preferred Providers of manufacturing talent is a great place to start. Preferred Providers are vetted education programs recognized by employers as delivering top-quality training for high-demand jobs across San Diego. Contact the Advancing San Diego team to get connected.

For seasoned manufacturing professionals looking for new opportunities, visit San Diego: Life. Changing.’s job board to explore open roles at some of San Diego’s top employers. And, sign up to receive some of San Diego’s coolest jobs delivered to you monthly through its newsletter, The Lead.

Grow your company

California’s Manufacturing Network (CMN), formed and led by CMTC, provides services exclusively to small and medium-sized manufacturers (SMMs) throughout California. The Network is a collaboration of more than 25 manufacturing-focused partners that deliver a broad range of technical assistance services to SMMs in both urban and rural areas. The Network’s mission is to generate a positive financial impact for manufacturers and the California economy.

Receive free to low-cost services through CMTC including supplier scouting services, accelerator programs, and general assistance.

Plus, contact the EDC team to get connected to the resources you need to thrive in San Diego, from strategic partnerships, to site expansion and selection services.

Data collected from Lightcast 2022 unless otherwise cited.

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