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January 29, 2015

Nearly 100 community leaders and residents gathered at the City Heights Weingart Library on Jan. 28 for a roundtable discussion of how to connect San Diegans to our innovation economy and bring economic opportunity to all neighborhoods. The forum, titled Education for the 21st Century Economy, was organized by One San Diego and featured four panelists:

Building off messages from the State of the City Address, Faulconer spoke to his vision of opportunity for all San Diegans, noting that a close partnership between education and in-demand career pathways is key. 

Kurokawa added that there are many opportunities for directly relatable education and training programs that can be accomplished very quickly. She also said that it’s an exciting time to be in San Diego—moving parts are coming together, dots are being connected, the right questions are not only being asked but also answered, creating opportunities to flow from training to job placement in very little time.

Carroll emphasized that the jobs we lost in the recession will not be coming back. We’re in an era of new jobs and must focus on creating training that prepares workers to fill these new roles. And where are we seeing this growth? According to Carroll, the job growth is found in STEM fields in San Diego’s five Priority Sectors as well as other
prominent sectors like Maritime. 

As Callstrom spoke about the Priority Sector reports published by the SDWP and the San Diego and Imperial Community College Association, he noted that this work is possibly the most important of all in helping to close the skills gap, which poses huge obstacles for employers and job seekers. “Closing the skills gap starts with educating people about what opportunities are out there,” he said. 

Above all, one thing is clear: Collaboration among government, education, workforce development, industry and community is vital to creating opportunity for all in San Diego. “We are working together to look beyond just getting back to work by getting people into pathways that lead to long-term careers,” Callstrom said. “Future income and opportunity shouldn’t be dependent on which zip code we were born into.”

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