More than 100 educators, businessowners and community members gathered recently to bridge the gap between industry needs and education at the “Teaming Today to Impact Tomorrow” Summit held at Southwestern College.
“We have many talented students,”“ said Southwestern College Superintendent/President Dr. Kindred Murillo. “We want to hear from our business leaders on what they need from us to ensure they don’t have to go anywhere other than South County to find their future workers.”
The summit was the first event in a year-long effort to have industry help South County create an educational strategic plan for career education. A panel of experts in aerospace and drone technology, maritime manufacturing, hospitality and tourism and healthcare industries spoke about their challenges in recruiting qualified workers.
A series of five additional workshops will dive deeper into each of the area’s largest industries.
In welcoming the panel, Southwestern College Governing Board President Roberto Alcantar spoke of the importance of hearing from all those in attendance to guide the improvement of educational programs and the development of new ones.
“It will take the collective efforts of our community organizations, local education providers, government, industry and labor to ensure our local workforce is prepared,,” Alcantar said.
Educators and other community members were invited to join in the conversation in an interactive and immersive experience where they were able to ask questions of the panelists, who were able to respond in real time.
Cindy Gompper-Graves, CEO for the South County Economic Development Council, set the stage for the summit by outlining all the untapped opportunity South county has to offer students and upcoming workforce.
“Our South County aviation and aerospace industry will be redeveloping 331 acres of land—bringing in 4,000 permanent jobs,” Gompper-Graves said. “Our tourism industry has the largest waterfront development on the West Coast, equating to 2,200 permanent and 7,000 temporary positions.”
South County also has a concentration of large industrial parcels, which could be the solution to the housing crisis.
The next workforce summit is set for Oct. 11 from 1 – 3 p.m. at Southwestern College and will feature the manufacturing industry in South County.