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October 4, 2021

San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC) is an independently-funded economic development organization that mobilizes business, government and civic leaders around an inclusive economic development strategy in order to connect data to decision making, maximize regional prosperity, enhance global competitiveness and position San Diego effectively for investment and talent.

The San Diego Workforce Partnership connected with their marketing & communications and economic development teams to learn more about recent challenges and renewed efforts.

How would you like to see San Diego change for the better? 

Over the last two decades, San Diego’s economy has more than doubled in size. With breakthrough technology companies and research organizations, the largest military concentration in the world and a strong tourism industry, the San Diego region has one of the most dynamic economies in the country. 

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However, this economic transformation presents new challenges for future growth. And as San Diego continues battling the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic challenges, it is imperative we rebuild an economy that is more resilient than before, so prosperity reaches more people.  

Informed by a partnership with the Brookings Institution, EDC and its Inclusive Growth Steering Committee developed measurable targets and actionable recommendations that together create a platform for inclusive economic growth and achieve three main goals: 

  1. Building a strong local talent pipeline with 20k annual completions by 2030. 
  1. Equipping small businesses to compete with 50k new quality jobs within small businesses by 2030. 
  1. Addressing the affordability crisis with 75k newly thriving households by 2030. 

Achieving these goals will require an employer-led, data-driven approach. It is up to EDC’s base—our region’s largest companies and anchors—to lead the way and establish lasting change. The stakes to get this recovery right could not be higher. Learn more at

Can you talk about some of the challenges our community faces and how you’re working to overcome them? 

As COVID-19 continues to put a strain on our community, the stresses, challenges and weight that have been placed on the shoulders of healthcare workers has only grown. San Diego’s healthcare workforce accounts for 13% of all jobs within the local economy. These more than 186,000 jobs touch the lives of every San Diegan, every day. This has never been more evident than over the last 18 months.  

For decades, higher education, workforce development and healthcare systems have worked together to address workforce shortages in this industry and others. These partnerships, programs and solutions are needed more than ever as we work to deal with increasing staffing shortages, as well as the exhaustion, fatigue and strains that the circumstances of the pandemic have caused. 

This challenge is part of a broader trend of changing skill requirements, a nationwide battle for talent and a soaring cost of living that threaten San Diego’s economic competitiveness. Talent shortages are likely to grow as demand for new skills accelerates, while demographic gaps in educational attainment persist. 

To address regional talent shortages and strengthen the relationship between business and education systems, EDC along with collaborative partners including the San Diego Workforce Partnership, launched Advancing San Diego in 2019. A cornerstone of our inclusive growth work, the program is focused on addressing skilled talent shortages and increasing diversity in high-growth, high-demand jobs by providing pathways to talent from industry-designated preferred provider education programs and improving access to quality jobs.  

Any partnership highlights you’d like to share? 

With investment from nearly 200 companies, public agencies and private organizations that support our mission, EDC provides direct services to help companies grow and thrive in San Diego, and leads initiatives to enhance the region’s recovery and resilience.  

EDC’s flagship talent pipeline initiative Advancing San Diego is made possible by a $3 million investment from JPMorgan Chase’s Advancing Cities Challenge, an initiative to drive inclusive growth and create greater economic opportunity across the U.S. It is a collaborative effort between EDC, San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College AssociationSan Diego Workforce PartnershipCity of San Diego and United Way of San Diego

How can San Diegans get involved? 

Here are some ways San Diegans can get involved with EDC’s work: 

  • World Trade Center San Diego has launched MetroConnect VI, the sixth iteration of its flagship export initiative that provides small- and medium-sized companies with the resources necessary to engage in global markets. We encourage companies to apply by November 15, 2021 to become one of 15 companies selected to receive a $5,000 export assistance grant, attend private executive export workshops, get complimentary access to SystranPRO translation software, a shot at a $25,000 grand prize and more. 
  • If you share EDC’s mission for advancing economic inclusion, San Diego companies can invest in our work. We provide EDC members with information, opportunities, access, support and the ability to inform our work through committees and working groups
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