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March 19, 2015

More than 100 elected officials and leaders from business, economic development and education met on March 18 at Illumina for the San Diego Strong Workforce Town Hall Meeting to discuss how the California Community Colleges can more effectively meet regional workforce needs. The town hall was co-hosted by the San Diego Workforce Partnership and the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, and sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The California Community Colleges announced last November that the Board of Governors established a task force to develop policies that would prepare more students for existing high-value jobs and promote job creation through workforce training that sparks small business development and attracts out-of-state business investment in key industry sectors. The San Diego town hall was one of five held throughout the state to inform the task force of regional input.

The purpose of the town hall was to vet and build on ideas and practices that bring stronger alignment between community colleges and key industry sectors. It included an interactive discussion focused on how the community college system can act as a catalyst for growth in California’s regional economies.

What do you think is the most important action for the community college system to take to meet the workforce needs of the San Diego economy?—That was the question discussed by a panel of experts and then posed to the audience. Panelists included Peter Callstrom, CEO of SDWP; Dr. Sunny Cooke, President of MiraCosta College; Adria Harris, Associate Director, HR, Oceanside Operations, Genentech; and Rick Urban, COO of QCMI. All panelists agreed that better communication is needed between the business community and community colleges as well as a reduction in bureaucracy. Employers need the process to be efficient in order for them to be involved and they need to see an agile workforce coming out of the system.

“We want to increase the human being competitiveness and the competitiveness of the region,” says Brice Harris, Chancellor of the California Community Colleges.

Read more about the event here.

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