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Qualcomm and other telecommunications and IT companies. In this respect, Cafferty’s leadership at the EDC may prove to be providential.
As a young and energetic CEO, he embodies a significant change at the EDC. Perhaps more importantly, he brings extensive experience in workforce training and education from his previous reign as CEO of the San Diego Workforce Partnership. And to Cafferty, “talent” is one of the crucial ingredients that San Diego needs to boost its innovation economy.
To help address the problem, the study recommends:
—Developing opportunities for entry-level work experience and exposure to career pathways in telecommunications and information technology. Work experience and knowledge of specific industries are key requirements for the region’s technology employers, and ones which often disqualify applicants for employment.
—Identifying and supporting intermediate career opportunities that allow individuals to work and move toward completion of a four-year degrees.
—Emphasizing to students and job-seekers the importance of learning new technologies. It’s very important for employers that workers take on new responsibilities and communicate the technical aspects of what they are learning. The study says, “Technology employers are no longer focused entirely on hiring people who have very specific technical skills … but are also looking for those individuals who can learn new technologies, initiate new programs, take on new responsibilities, and who are able to communicate the nuances of their responsibilities and their industry to others.”
Instead of thinking of economic development only in terms of attracting new business to San Diego, Cafferty says the San Diego region needs to start thinking in terms of attracting “the best and the brightest.” He maintains that San Diego’s success as a regional innovation hub will come not from plucking a technology company from some other locale, but in helping to build a startup founded by somebody who’s already here.
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