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August 31, 2016

The San Diego Workforce Partnerhship is very proud of our five priority sector reports released in 2014, which include in-depth labor market data with a wealth of information on in-demand careers.

What happened next surprised and delighted us all. We created separate poster boards of the sector reports and displayed them in Qualcomm’s Thinkabit ‘maker-space’ lab as thousands of young adults participate in this unique learning environment. In addition to students, teachers, principals and superintendents visit the lab regularly. They loved the poster boards and asked how they could get copies. We had no idea how many would be requested.

This month we reached a milestone — hitting 3,000 posters distributed throughout the region — now reaching thousands of students and jobseekers every single day.

“The interest level and incorporation of the boards into career pathways curriculum has far exceeded our wildest imagination,” says CEO Peter Callstrom. “The boards have made a direct impact, visually inspiring students and jobseekers to explore these in-demand careers in our region’s burgeoning industries.”

Each poster includes information about top jobs, education and skill requirements and median wages within San Diego’s five Priority Sectors: Advanced Manufacturing, Clean Energy, Health Care, Information and Communication Technologies and Life Sciences.

These innovative boards help us to close not only the skills gap, but the awareness gap. The skills gap is the difference between the skills employers want and what workers currently have. To close the gap, we must continually identify the skills that employers need and inform and train job seekers to meet that demand. The awareness gap is when students and job seekers don’t know what careers exist in our regional economy and the education, skills and experience needed.

In addition, SDWP created an Essential Skills poster to explain what “soft skills” are and their importance in gaining and maintaining employment.

The information presented in the posters derive from research conducted by SDWP and the San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association that resulted in reports analyzing industry sectors vital to the regional economy, experiencing rapid growth and projecting skills shortages.

Southwest Middle School is one example of a school utilizing the boards to overcome the awareness gap with their students.

“At Southwest Middle School in the Sweetwater District, we have now integrated the Priority Sectors display boards from the San Diego Workforce partnership into all of our parent meetings,” reports Bill Walsh, Principal at Southwest Middle School in Sweetwater Union High School District.

“At our Welcome Back to School Night (Open House) the Priority Sector boards served as the backdrop for the stage and referred to as a commitment to the parents that we will prepare all of our students to be able to access the pathways required to participate in the professional workforce of San Diego in the future. The Priority Sector boards were developed into a curriculum unit for 8th grade students in their English classes that require them to investigate and explore careers, and show them the pathways to economic success. This goes hand-in-hand with the effort that we have put into teaching the 21st century college and career-readiness skills that students will be accountable to new world economy. The Priority Sectors Boards give us a tangible target to motivate students and parents, and also give us some credibility as we research the careers and skills that students will actually need in the future!”

Organizations that have incorporated the Priority Sector and Essential Skills posters include:

  • 15 America’s Job Center of California sites
  • 12 school districts — Alpine, Bonsall, Cajon Valley, Cardiff, Fallbrook, Jamul-Dulzura, Lemon Grove, Oceanside, San Diego, San Marcos, Sweetwater, and Vista
  • San Diego County Office of Education
  • San Diego Community College District
  • Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District
  • Barrio Logan College Institute
  • Career center at East Mesa Reentry Facility
  • Qualcomm’s Thinkabit Lab
  • SeaWorld’s Ocean Link Lab
  • San Diego Continuing Education
  • Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation

Thanks to financial support from Jerome’s Furniture, the County of San Diego, City of San Diego, and Manpower, SDWP was able to cover all production costs and provide the Priority Sector Posters and the Essential Skills poster for free. Jerome’s Furniture’s sponsorship also underwrote the translation of the boards into Spanish.

“The amazing generosity of our sponsors will ensure that we are able to help thousands of San Diegans aspire to careers in our region and inform them of the skills needed to succeed,” says Callstrom.

Funding to offset the board production is now at its end and SDWP is seeking new funding to continue to be able to distribute the boards. More orders continue to come in daily. Print-ready files of the boards are available to the public for self-printing here. If you are interested in sponsoring the Priority Sector and Essential Skills posters, please contact Sarah Burns at


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