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Partnership to explore region's role in global economy

Economic study to result in 'Industry Cluster Forums'

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Regional organizations will partner to determine how San Diego can compete in a global economy, in an initiative to be launched Monday.

The city of San Diego, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. and the San Diego Institute for Policy Research will launch the effort, called "Partnership for the Global Economy," at a meeting at Gen-Probe Inc. (Nasdaq: GPRO)

"We really need to get our act together," said Steven Francis, chairman and founder of the Institute for Policy Research. "We need to be organized, we need to be smart, and we need to work together."

At the meeting, industry leaders will hear the results of a study conducted by Collaborative Economics about the state of San Diego's economy and the challenges and opportunities it faces, as global competition grows stronger.

Those industry leaders will take the study's information to others in their fields, developing "Industry Cluster Forums" to discuss what can be done to benefit their industries.

The partnership's leaders will look for common themes in the results of those discussions.

With that information, they hope to develop "action plans" for San Diego industries.

A similar regional partnership in 1999 was responsible for catalyzing the University of California, San Diego's Rady School of Business, and raising support for Proposition A (TransNet) and High Tech High, according to the EDC.

Seeing the changes in globalization and technology since the last partnership, the organizations decided to form another one.

"We shouldn't wait eight years to do this again, but this is a good start," Francis said.

Industries included in the initiative are: life sciences, information technology, defense, transportation, precision manufacturing, healthcare, infrastructure and construction, and hospitality.

Participants in the initiative include: Francis, Jerry Sanders, San Diego mayor; Cheryl Cox, Chula Vista mayor; Hank Nordhoff, president and CEO of Gen-Probe Inc.; and Dan Sullivan, executive vice president of QUALCOMM Inc.

"I hope through this process ... that the ideas that come out of our project will be more than just one good idea," Francis said.

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