SOCAL initiative connects industry and education partners to bridge the gap between job explorers and their future careers
OCEANSIDE, Calif. – The San Diego North Economic Development Council (SDNEDC) today announced the launch of the Student Opportunities for Career Awareness and Learning (SOCAL) initiative, a long-term workforce development effort designed to provide students and career explorers with direct access to information and first-hand experiences regarding potential occupations and career opportunities in North County. The direct access and transparency fostered through this initiative are intended to help cultivate the workforce for middle-wage jobs that require less than a four-year college degree.
The coalition supporting SOCAL represent many of the region’s premier business and educational institutions, including Tri-City Medical Center, the Oceanside, Carlsbad and Vista Chambers of Commerce; MiraCosta College, Palomar College and others. Supervisor Jim Desmond, who represents much of North County, supported the partners’ efforts to secure a $128,000 Neighborhood Reinvestment Grant from the County of San Diego, which was instrumental to the development and launch of SOCAL.
SOCAL, which was initially designed by Tri-City Medical Center as part of their COASTAL Commitment community outreach initiative, will roll out in phases, with the initial phase being the launch of an interactive website during the SDNEDC’s North County Economic Excellence Luncheon from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on December 16. The website features on-demand videos featuring over 40 professionals from across North County’s diverse industries including healthcare, manufacturing, communication technology, construction, software and more. In the videos, these professionals discuss their industry, job responsibilities, workplace environments and career advancement outlooks. Each video includes a webpage with expected average wages and links to educational resources. In subsequent phases, SOCAL will expand to include an ongoing career-day speakers’ bureau, shadowing experiences and internships and other workforce development resources that will position SOCAL as a central force in the region’s labor pipeline.
“North County is a vibrant economic hub, thanks largely due to the collaboration between organizations like those partnering to form SOCAL,” said Erik Bruvold, chief executive officer for the San Diego North Economic Development Council. “This program is intended to continue strengthening the position of our region by cultivating top talent close to home for every level of the labor market.”
Accessibility, equity and inclusion are hallmarks of the SOCAL initiative. Through SOCAL’s interactive website, students and job explorers are empowered to identify, evaluate and proactively pursue their future careers. The easy-to-use platform will connect them with occupational information and career opportunities within their local community that was previously inaccessible.
“We believe supporting the SOCAL initiative not only helps support our future workforce, but also strengthens the health and prosperity of our region by advancing economic empowerment,” said Aaron Byzak, chief external affairs officer for Tri-City Medical Center and incoming chairman of the SDNEDC. “By integrating education and workforce development through a platform that everyone can take advantage of, we hope to make economic advancement more equitable in North County.”
Job explorers, interested businesses, and the community can learn more about the SOCAL initiative and experience SOCAL’s interactive website.