Getting this recovery right.

From the years following the Great Depression to those following the Great Recession, every recovery that the American economy has experienced has increased systemic poverty and widened the inequalities in Latino and Black communities. Too often, in a rush to restore economic normalcy for some, entire segments of our communities have been left further behind and unable to find and maintain their footing on a new and changing economic foundation. Our commitment at EDC is to do everything we can—drawing on the breadth and depth of every partnership and relationship we have—to get this recovery right.

Together, EDC is working to harness the collective power of employers to change that.


Every recovery before this one has widened inequality.

Over the last two decades, San Diego’s economy has more than doubled in size. Meanwhile, the typical household has seen its income increase at roughly half that rate.

The current economic and racial inequities facing our community are the result of decades-old decisions, policies, and programs that have stalled Black, brown, and other communities on their path to economic success. The innovation economy will lead us out of this pandemic-driven economic downturn—just like it has in every dip before—but it is not accessible to everyone.

The right recovery means focusing on efforts that benefit all San Diegans in this unique moment in time.

It means ensuring that small businesses not only recover but thrive. It means that everyone—no matter the zip code they were born in—has access to opportunities and the education that enables them. It means designing a region where owning a car is not a requirement to access opportunities. It means elevating Black and brown voices and weaving them into our regional narrative.

The stakes could not be higher that we get this recovery right. We must rebuild an economy that is more resilient than before, so prosperity reaches more people.

And we believe that employers—those that provide jobs, opportunities, and wealth—must step up to make this happen.

The Framework

How do we create lasting change in our region? The answer will come down to focusing on the three building blocks that create a strong economy.

A right recovery means doubling down on our commitment to inclusive growth, so that we build back a San Diego that is more sustainable because prosperity reaches more people. Through EDC’s inclusive growth initiative and steering committee, we are looking to help the region achieve three main goals by 2030, which are now more imperative than ever.


20K annual completions by 2030


50K new quality jobs in small businesses by 2030


75K newly thriving households by 2030

The world of work has changed overnight, and students who were graduating into the hottest labor market in a generation are now facing record unemployment. However, there are still shortages for in demand jobs.

  • Despite 12% unemployment rates sparked by COVID-19, San Diego’s innovation economy is still hiring. Since March, more than 8,000 unique positions have posted for software developers alone. Companies need skilled talent to fill these positions.
  • San Diego must double its production of skilled talent to meet future workforce demand. In 2019, the region produced 10,834 new degree and credential holders. This means the region needs 20,000 annual degree and credential completions to meet employer needs.
  • Tomorrow’s workforce looks different than today’s. Two-thirds of San Diego degree-holders are white, while half of all seventh graders are Black or Latino/Hispanic. Investing in the success of our communities of color means a stronger local talent pool, which benefits all San Diego companies.

Small businesses employ the majority of San Diegans and have been disproportionately impacted by this crisis. Nearly 30% of all small businesses are currently closed.

  • Small businesses are responsible for half of all job growth but struggle to compete for talent and customers. Only one in four small business jobs are quality jobs—those that provide economic security. And the biggest challenge small businesses face is finding their next customer.
  • Many of the workers in hardest-hit small businesses are people of color. However, who owns those businesses is overwhelmingly white—only 36% of businesses are minority-owned.
  • We need more quality jobs in small businesses. This means investing in entrepreneurship and resiliency by creating opportunities for diverse founders, and better connecting small businesses to big customers.

Learn more

San Diego is 50% more expensive than the average U.S. metro. Despite record unemployment, the region has become even less affordable.

  • Housing production hasn’t kept pace with job growth for more than a decade, pushing home prices and rents up faster than wages. The majority of households in our region are not thriving; they simply cannot afford what it costs to live here.
  • Rising housing costs have pushed residents further away from job centers, increasing commute costs and time. The average household spends more than $14,000 on transportation and travels nearly 20,000 miles over the course of a year.
  • Nearly one quarter of all families have two working parents. The region has twice as many children as licensed childcare spaces—a shortage of 62,000 licensed spots.
  • To have more thriving households, we must prioritize access to and affordability of the essential infrastructure that working families depend on—like housing, transportation, childcare, and broadband.

We cannot do this alone.

Achieving these goals will take intentional collaboration and hard work. It is up to our employers to lead the way and make a lasting change.


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Key Programs

Learn more about our employer-led programs and initiatives that are driving the resilient recovery.

Advancing San Diego

Working toward both the talent and jobs goals above, Advancing San Diego is an employer-led, demand-driven initiative that is creating skilled talent in the region, while also increasing access to talent for small businesses.


The flagship program of WTC San Diego, the MetroConnect export assistance program awards small to mid-size companies with matching funds, connects them with relevant export-oriented partners and resources, and arranges specialized workshops to increase their knowledge and awareness of global export trends and regulations.

Anchor Institution Collaborative

Anchors are among the region’s largest real estate owners and developers and could spur transformative neighborhood-level economic development. EDC’s forthcoming Anchor Institution Collaborative will pilot unique approaches to childcare, mobility, and housing that are scalable. See our latest study release.