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The Story Behind the Story: Why the Qualcomm Study is Important

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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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  • Haven’t read the report and will do so, but “lamenting the shortage of software developers” is hardly a problem unique to San Diego. Silicon Valley has a shortage, too. Not sure of the point being made. Also, would be interesting to know what the impact of the defense industry is on availability of developers to tech industry.

  • Kian Saneii


    * Outstanding writing, as always!

    * Mark Cafferty is truly a rock star, big time. I’m so excited for EDC and for all of us that he’s in this position of leadership and influence. I know he’ll make a TREMENDOUS, positive impact!
    * The point about SOFTWARE that you raise is absolutely critical. Very important.
    * The point about home grown versus plucked out elsewhere and dropped into San Diego is a great one that he, and you, raise.
    * Observation: Home grown requires support for amazing incubators like Evo (of which there are exactly NO others), and support from VENTURE capital. When the going was still good up North and in Boston, we ended up having not our fare share of VC funding. As the entire VC market / industry has recently essentially transformed (to put it politely), we are getting our disproportionately negative impact from that. For our size, and more importantly for the level of INNOVATION which actually goes on, there’s very, VERY little funding that’s going on locally. We’re producing and nurturing innovators, and we’re kicking off decent-chance ventures … only to have them stifled at worst and significantly hampered at best in pursuit of funding. If EDC can crack the code in this front, there will be tremendous uplift in economic activity, and just maybe a few Q’s built too — although I have to say that’s unlikely — but we don’t need a few Q’s, we need MANY MANY smaller companies, which WILL happen. We don’t need 12K employee successes, we need 12K medium sized successes! Sadly, I think Austin is coming on strong in this area, and they have NOTHING over us … other than an effective conference now and I’m sure a concerted, coordinated effort amongst city leaders, academia and industry.

    Thanks Bruce. My $.02!