San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges Partner with Local Companies to Prepare and Launch Students into Good-Paying Middle-Skill Jobs

Posted by Career Education | Posted on September 25, 2018

Among Top Industries Hiring: Life Sciences & Biotechnology and

Advanced Transportation & Logistics

September 25, 2018—SAN DIEGO, CA— San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges are partnering with local companies to prepare students for employment in the region’s in-demand middle-skill job market. These jobs require more education than a high school diploma but less than a four-year degree and are the fastest-growing job category in the region.

In 2017, 38 percent of job openings in San Diego County and 36 percent in Imperial County were middle-skill, and these percentages are expected to grow, according to a June report by the San Diego-Imperial Center of Excellence (COE) for Labor Market Research.

Life Sciences & Biotechnology and Advanced Transportation & Logistics are both among the top nine industry sectors in the region that are unable to find enough sufficiently trained workers for middle-skill jobs. To fill this gap, community colleges in both counties are working with local companies to align Career Education programs with these job openings, and to better educate students about the skill sets required for successful job placement. These college-employer partnerships also afford students the opportunity to learn directly from professionals in the field through internships and apprenticeships.

Opportunities in the Life Sciences and Biotechnology Industry

San Diego County is currently ranked third in the state for employment in life sciences and biotechnology, according to a 2018 report by the California Life Sciences Association. Depending on the Career Education program, students may learn the science behind combating

diseases, creating safer medicines or reducing energy usage. Common job placements include working as laboratory, chemical or engineering technicians and first-line production supervisors. Workers in these positions can earn median salaries between $44,000 and $65,000 annually, well above the regional average.

“Our talent is, without question, our most important asset, and we frequently rely on area community colleges to be a reliable source of skilled team members,” said Abe Chohan, Vice President of Operations for Inova Diagnostics. “At Inova, these positions are critical to our ability to manufacture and distribute the highest quality products for our customers around the world.”

Opportunities in the Advanced Transportation and Logistics Industry

The shipping industry in the region is growing rapidly due to online shopping, with an increasing demand for transportation expertise. Career Education in this sector can include learning how to maintain fleets of electric vehicles and airplanes or learning about autonomous vehicle technology. Middle-skill jobs in this sector include automotive repair technicians, cargo and freight agents and aircraft mechanics. Workers in these positions can earn median salaries between $36,000 and $65,000 annually.

“Nearly half of our technicians at Mossy Toyota alone are graduates or students of Career Education programs at area colleges,” said Dale Snow, Director of After Sales at Mossy Auto Group. “The automotive industry needs technicians badly, but we have never had an issue finding talent, thanks to our partnership with the regional community colleges. Working with them allows us to not only give back to the community, but to help mentor our future workforce, which we consider one of our greatest accomplishments.”

These college-employer partnerships are paying off for students. According to LaunchBoard, a statewide data system for all California Community Colleges, 71 percent of students who complete a Career Education program in San Diego and Imperial Counties are employed one year after finishing.

While the community college mission has always included developing a trained workforce, the colleges are now at the center of a statewide effort to produce one million middle-skilled workers by 2026. Through the Strong Workforce program, the state’s goal is to lift low-wage workers into living-wage jobs and fuel regions with these middle-skill workers needed by employers.

About Career Education in San Diego and Imperial Counties

San Diego and Imperial Counties’ nine community colleges have united to fill the growing regional middle-skill labor gap by promoting Career Education programs to target these well-paying, in-demand jobs. Whether learning new skills, earning a certificate or an associate degree, Career Education students gain real-world experience that lead them to in-demand, well-paying jobs. With more than 200 programs to choose from, students learn by exploring, collaborating and doing, with hands-on training and taught by instructors and professionals in their field of study.

The nine San Diego and Imperial Counties Community Colleges offering students the opportunity to “Learn More. Earn More.” are: Cuyamaca College, Grossmont College, Imperial Valley College, MiraCosta College, Palomar College, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, San Diego Miramar College, and Southwestern College. To learn more, visit CareerEd.org.

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Sheri Aguirre 
Civilian Agency

Sarah Flocken
Civilian Agency

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