How businesses are filling San Diego’s education to employment pipeline

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With unemployment low, employers struggle to find the talent needed to fill their high demand jobs, while many job seekers and workers sit on the sidelines without the skills they need to make their next move. Employer-led solutions are key to building the education to employment  pipeline  in an  inclusive economy. 

To share best practices and advance business-led solutions, Strada Education Network is hosting employer forums around the country, highlighting successful collaborations where employers are bringing key insights into how to shape education-to-career pathways. 

The second employer forum was held in San Diego on August 14. Hosted by  the San Diego Workforce Partnership, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and UC San Diego Extension, the event elevated local solutions from businesses and partners.

Here’s what we learned: 

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Economic development equals people development 

Economic development is about people, Strada’s Senior Vice President of Philanthropy Daryl A. Graham reminded us. And when you invest in people and local talent, you are really investing in the future economic success of the entire region. But we can’t just talk the talk when discussing developing people. We have to be willing to put the money and resources behind it to show we are serious about economic development. 

Women at podium speaking

It’s time to rethink four-year degree requirements  

Mimi Rosado is the Total Force Manager at Naval Information Warfare Center (NIWC) Pacific within the Naval Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR). With over 5,000 civilian employees, the Department of Navy engineering lab had to move beyond the four-year degree check box to remain cutting edge and recruit talent for high-demand cyber security jobs.  

NAVWAR’s groundbreaking new partnership with the San Diego Community College District will provide opportunities for 16 students with tuition assistance and career training as well as training for returning adult learners. The partnership is a shining example of business and education coming together to tackle a talent shortage 

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Businesses must pioneer talent development for new industries 

Local businessman Darryl Anunciado’s devotion to aerial remote-control devices and entrepreneurship drove him to launch Action Drone to help industrial, military, and government agencies make use of drone technology. Running into a skills gap between drone technology and talent who can fly drones and meaningfully interpret data, Anunciado has begun training programs to meet the needs of this emerging industry.  

We have plenty of innovation, Anunciado says, referring to incredible advancements in drone technology, but “what sets us apart from other companies is that we rely on our team. Our people are our biggest asset that will make this company succeed.” 

Three people sitting in white chairs on stage

We can increase access to education through innovation in financing 

The Workforce ISA Fund offers an alternative way to finance education, increasing access to world-renowned credentials in high-demand fields from UC San Diego Extension to accelerate the number of individuals obtaining the skills businesses need.  

Rescue Agency CEO Kristin Carrol shared the benefits of cultivating a team that represents the clients they serve, noting that intentionally doing so has not only improved the agency’s quality of work but has also provided a competitive advantage and boosted bottom-line numbers. She views the ISA program as another way to continue moving things forward for colleagues and clients in this way. 

Are you looking for innovative ways to develop talent? Let’s work together.