Advancing San Diego: Connected Communities Driving Student and Employer Success

Community colleges partnering with employers, economic and workforce development agencies to create career opportunities for our diverse student body

Despite the effects of COVID, San Diego’s economy has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade, yet many San Diegans have not benefited from that growth. As regional employers rely on a diverse pool of qualified, local talent to remain competitive, ensuring that our local population is trained for and has access to quality job opportunities requires long-term, cross-sector partnerships. Advancing San Diego was created to foster the holistic, long-term relationships essential to effectively addressing talent shortages and removing barriers to affordable education and lifelong living wage employment.

Launched in 2019, Advancing San Diego has succeeded in bringing together a dynamic ecosystem of employers, educators, and workforce development agencies to share knowledge, inform skills-based training programs, and provide work-based learning opportunities in high-growth sectors including software, engineering, manufacturing, business, and health. Collaborative work in each sector is focused on:

  1. Working groups made up of leading local employers tasked with staying ahead of talent needs and identifying skills gaps
  2. Preferred Provider educational institutions that provide best-in-class education and training programs
  3. Work-based learning opportunities that pair local students with small companies

As one of five joint program leads, the San Diego and Imperial County Community College Association (SDICCCA) works closely with the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC)to respond to working group findings, share employer insights with its colleges, and ensure students have opportunities for work-based learning and career employment.

SDICCCA is incredibly proud that four of its colleges have been designated Preferred Providers of skilled talent. Identified through competitive application process, Preferred Providers must provide curriculum that meets employer needs and demonstrates proven ability to serve a diverse student population. Applications are reviewed by a group of leading regional employers. Our Preferred Provider programs include:

  • Software: MiraCosta College and San Diego Mesa College
  • Engineering: San Diego Mesa College
  • Business: MiraCosta College and San Diego Mesa College
  • Manufacturing: MiraCosta College, Palomar College, and San Diego City College

Preferred Provider status celebrates the educational excellence provided by these institutions, supports paid internship opportunities for students, and highlights how well our community colleges meet the needs of underrepresented audiences.

Advancing San Diego is a shining example of how engaged partners are gaining new perspectives, exchanging expertise, and committing resources that positively impact student and regional economic success. Working together, all of us achieve more.
Danene Brown, Regional Chair – San Diego & Imperial Counties Community Colleges Regional Consortium
Ashley Swartout, Director, Economic Development at San Diego Regional EDC

Read here for more information on working group results, student and employer successes.

Learn more about the program at AdvancingSD.org.