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Faulconer’s Other Task Force Aims To Boost Job Skills In San Diego

Photo by Tarryn Mento

Mayor Kevin Faulconer speaks to the Workforce and Economic Advisory Committee at San Diego City College, March 13, 2015.

San Diegans have been hearing a lot about Mayor Kevin Faulconer's task force to find the Chargers a new stadium, but there's a second task force he created that isn't receiving as much attention.

Members of San Diego's business and education sectors brought their minds together in a small conference room Friday for the first meeting of the mayor's economic development task force.

Seated at the head of the table in a San Diego City College meeting space, Faulconer told the group about the problem it needs to address.

"Just around the corner here in East Village, we're getting really known as a digital marketing hub in the country — something that didn't really exist even 10 years ago," Faulconer said to the 21 people who filled the room. "And so how are we making sure people have access to these jobs and these opportunities literally two blocks from this office building?"

To answer this, the Mayor's Workforce and Economic Advisory Committee will meet over the next several months to identify and develop programs that can help San Diegans get the training they need to fill the region's jobs.

Co-chair Mark Cafferty, who heads the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, said that includes getting young adults the experience they need to break into a specific career but also providing learning opportunities for people already in the workforce.

"If I love the IT space but I have no idea what the landscape looks like, how do schools, high schools, community colleges and universities create pathways so young people can go through and then come back to?" Cafferty said.

Cafferty said the needs of businesses change as quickly as technology, so experienced workers may need to acquire new skills to keep up.

"To think that the pathway is just one direction and not realizing you'll be coming in and out more or less on a career journey these days is something we've got to get more workers and young people realizing is the new norm," he said.

To help identify what training San Diegans may need, Cafferty said the group hopes to meet with representatives from local companies.

“We need employers to be at the table the help define sort of what the needs are, but we also need employers at the table making a committee to be there at the end of these programs," he said.

Cafferty will lead the committee with San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance Carroll and Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor of public programs at UC San Diego. Committee members include representatives from the San Diego Unified School District, San Diego State University, San Diego Workforce Partnership, nonprofits and businesses from various industries.

The group expects to deliver ideas by July.

Editor's note: This story previously incorrectly stated the timeline of the group's meetings.

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