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Five 'priority' sectors poised for local growth

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Five of San Diego County's leading "priority industries" — ranging from health care to advanced manufacturing — are poised to generate more than 10,000 jobs in the coming year, according to a forecast to be released Thursday by San Diego Workforce Partnership, a quasi-public agency that trains and finds work for the unemployed.

The report was to be unveiled during a daylong seminar at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park, where local corporate leaders, analysts and educators outlined the jobs that are slated for growth in the coming year, including engineering technicians, information security analysts, registered nurses and solar energy installers.

Over the past couple decades, the biggest job growth in the county has come from low-skilled, low-paying jobs in the restaurants, hotels and retail outlets.

But the Workforce Partnership concentrated on what it sees as the county's "priority industries," or industries that are experiencing rapid growth, are vital to the regional economy and are having trouble finding workers who match the skills they need.

Here is a brief look at the five industries the agency highlighted, along with their projected growth over the next year based on current trends and surveys and interviews of local industry leaders:

Clean energy (mostly energy-efficient construction): 6,182 jobs, mostly tied to designing and installing solar energy systems, as well as weatherization specialists and energy auditors. The report says demand for construction and project managers and sales workers in the energy efficiency field far outstrips the current supply of skilled workers.

Life sciences: 4,290 jobs. The hottest jobs in the sector include lab assistants and technicians, manufacturing assemblers, production technicians and materials handlers. "Despite the economic downturn, life sciences has had really robust growth, growing by 50 percent over the past 10 years," said Josh Williams, co-founder of BW Research Partnership in Carlsbad, which provided the research for much of the report. "It's a sector that employs very highly skilled workers and it is already indicating that it is having difficulty finding qualified job applicants."

Advanced manufacturing: 1,980 jobs, led by chemical, engineering and environmental technicians, software developers, food-processing workers and electrical and mechanical engineers.

Health care: 1,810 jobs. Growth for the entire health care sector is projected to be much larger than that, but the report focused on 12 sectors where demand outstrips supply, led by registered or licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants and home health aides.

Information and communications technology: 800 jobs in 11 key growth sectors, including security analysts, database and network administrators and software developers. Williams notes that from 2004 to 2013, jobs in the 11 growth sectors have grown by 7 percent, compared to 1 percent growth in the economy as a whole.

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San Diego Workforce Partnership

Company Website

3910 University Ave. Ste., 400
San Diego, CA 92105

San Diego Workforce Partnership Executive(s):

Peter Callstrom

  • Chief Executive Officer, President

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