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October 3, 2014

On October 2, the San Diego Workforce Partnership (SDWP) and San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Association (SDICCCA) released five in-depth reports covering San Diego’s priority sectors—Advanced Manufacturing, Life Sciences, Clean Energy, Information and Communication Technologies, and Health Care. More than 300 educators, job seekers, career counselors, economic and workforce development professionals, and policymakers gathered at the San Diego Hall of Champions to discuss the findings during the San Diego Workforce Conference: Future Employment in our Priority Sectors event.

SDWP and SDICCCA analyzed sectors that are vital to the regional economy, experiencing rapid growth, and projecting skills shortages to create reports designed to guide workforce development strategies.

“With nearly 1.6 million people in the regional workforce, it is important for us to continuously review the state of our industries and identify job potential for our burgeoning workforce,” says Peter Callstrom, SDWP CEO. “We need to inform the unemployed, the underemployed and the yet-to-be-employed of which careers will provide an upward trajectory and meet the needs of our regional employers.”

“California community colleges are the largest, most cost-effective system of higher education in the state, preparing students for the jobs of today—and tomorrow,” said Sunita V. Cooke, Grossmont College president and president of SDICCCA. “Collaboration with the San Diego Workforce Partnership on these sector gap analysis reports assists our regional colleges with adjusting their career technical programs to the emerging markets and the fastest growing sectors of the economy.”

The conference included an overview of each sector report with panel discussions from industry experts and employers including representatives from CareFusion, Kaiser Permanente, SolarCity, Quality Controlled Manufacturing, Inc., and more. Topics covered for each sector included:

  • Current and future employment and training needs
  • San Diego-specific labor market landscape
  • Workforce needs of employers
  • Profiles of middle-skilled occupations
  • Industry drivers for new and emerging jobs

Key findings included:

  • In San Diego, the absence of standardized certifications in Advanced Manufacturing prevents the inter-company and inter-regional mobility that a healthy labor market requires.
  • From 2004 to 2014, the Life Sciences industry in San Diego County experienced employment growth of over 50 percent, considerably faster growth than the nation (10 percent) and the state (22 percent) as a whole.
  • 65% of Clean Energy firms reported having no difficulty in hiring qualified workers, indicating that the region has an ample supply of qualified workers, which should be used to attract Clean Energy firms to the region.
  • 38 percent of employers with Information and Communication Technologies employees expect to increase total employment in their San Diego County locations over the next 12 months.
  • The Health Care sector is “recession-proof” in that employment in this sector sustained jobs and grew slightly during the Great Recession (2007-2009) while all other sectors faced employment decline.

San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten delivered the luncheon keynote address on how K-12 education is changing to address the demands of employers and how career pathways initiatives are being integrated into the classroom in districts across the County. Marten emphasized the importance of sharing information between the educational system and the workforce development system.

“We pay attention to the [SDWP] priority sectors and align our pathways to those key sectors,” she said. “We work together as a team to create America’s finest workforce.”

To read the full sector reports, visit

For more coverage on the event, see “These 5 fields are prime for job growth” from U-T San Diego.

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