“Mak[ing] the region a home of global innovation in the logistics industry” is one of the four strategies to inclusive growth identified by the IEGO campaign. The Inland Empire holds significant infrastructure and employment assets in the Southern California logistics corridor, and as a result, logistics has been one of the regional’s foundational industries and playing a crucial role in economic growth and job creation. As a global logistics and supply chain hub, the IE plays a critical role in ensuring that essential products and goods are readily available and delivered in a safe, efficient manner even in the most challenging of times. At the same time, the continued growth of the logistics industry is facing significant equity and sustainability challenges. As one of the only options to economic advancement for sub-baccalaureate workers, the logistics industry in the Inland Empire provides too few good and promising jobs for all the workers who need them. More than half of the logistics jobs in the region do not meet job quality criteria and thus do not provide opportunity for struggling workers to reach the middle class. To make matters worse, these low-quality jobs are especially susceptible to disruptions brought forth by the increased use of automation and digitization in the industry and could lead to significant displacement of the region’s most vulnerable residents. Additionally, negative externalities relating to the growth of the logistics industry, including emissions and increased congestion, if left unaddressed, will pose a significant threat to the sustainable growth of the region.

Therefore, the process of making the region a home of global innovation in the logistics industry needs a fair and balanced approach, incorporating input from critical cross-sector stakeholders and addressing the goals of increasing local industry competitiveness, improving job quality and ensuring equitable regional growth.

On February 27th, CSU San Bernardino and the Inland Empire Economic Partnership hosted a group of higher education institutions, public sector agencies, and regional employers to discuss the path forward for creating a Center of Excellence focused on sustainable logistics. Building upon previous meetings, Georgia Tech presented a refined concept for developing a Center of Excellence based on their technical expertise on the subject. The group worked to make the proposal actionable in the IE, specifically around education and training and research and innovation, and a capability study will be conducted to document regional training and research assets.

A need that emerged from this meeting was the imperative for industry to play a driving role in the development of a sector strategy. In addition to involving industry, next steps include aligning with labor and environmental justice groups to ensure the strategy leads to economic growth, quality jobs, and an environmentally sustainable future for all IE residents. The March 11 event hosted by UC Riverside’s Center for Social Innovation entitled Taking the “High Road” on Labor and Environment: How the Port of Los Angeles Experience can Inform the Inland Empire’s Logistics Future was a great opportunity to continue to connect these conversations and align around how a logistics sector strategy can lead to quality jobs and healthy communities.

Please contact Rebecca Ruan-O’Shaughnessy (rruanoshaughnessy@jff.org) for more information or to engage in this effort.

IT and Cybersecurity

The Action Team of IE employers representing both the public and private sector, led by ConvergeOne and Luminex, decided to prioritize apprenticeships as the critical piece of training infrastructure in this sector strategy. Taking a regional approach to apprenticeship development, rather than creating an apprenticeship program for an individual employer or educational institution, is important to achieve the scale necessary to fill local workforce needs and build the human capital infrastructure needed to support other industries in the future.

Participating industry partners include not just Cybersecurity and IT companies, but also non-IT employers and large public agencies that have cyber/IT needs like the Inland Empire Health Plan, Loma Linda University, and Bank of America. This group is now working closely with Charles Henkels from Riverside Community College District (LAUNCH) and Jennifer McDaniel from Moreno Valley College as well as other K-12 and postsecondary partners to develop a proposal for a cybersecurity apprenticeship that could start in Fall 2020. Current students in IT-related pathways at the K-12 and postsecondary levels will be included in proposal design, and the group is actively looking for interested employers that would like to be involved in the design and implementation of this strategy.

The working group met again (virtually) on March 17th to continue building out the proposal for a cybersecurity apprenticeship, addressing key details such as program length, job description, and partner expectations. This proposal will be presented to the IEGO Coordinating Council on April 24th for feedback, with the goal that companies will be able to hire their first pilot cohort of apprentices in Fall 2020.

Please contact Alison Schmitt (aschmitt@jff.org) for more information or to engage in this effort

IEGO Sector Focus: Cybersecurity

During IEGO’s planning and research process, a diverse group of regional experts quickly found that IT/Cybersecurity warranted placement on the list of promising sectors worth increased investment. As a result, workforce and business development in the IT/Cybersecurity sector became one of the signature recommendations of the Brookings Institution and IEGO’s benchmark report, Middle-Class Jobs for a Fast-Growing Region.

What our research found

Cal State University San Bernardino is home to one of the nation’s best Cyber training programs, and its Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship is working to grow and support startups in the fields of information technology and cybersecurity. UC Riverside is growing its Highly effective training programs also are being developed and implemented at community colleges and at the high school level, creating an impressive pipeline of talent. Even so, most graduates leave the IE and find lucrative employment across the country. More coordinated public and private investments would help establish a vibrant ecosystem of small businesses that can subsequently attract or grow larger Cyber firms.

Laying the groundwork

Now in the implementation stages, the IEGO campaign has brought together Cyber businesses and IT/Cyber demand consumers from across the Inland Empire to begin implementing a workforce alignment strategy for the region.

Specific strategies and investment areas being considered:

  • Create a robust apprenticeship program in partnership with businesses and the LAUNCH program;
  • Grow existing and aligned programs, including Guided Pathways for four-year attainment;
  • Expand the capacity of Cyber pathways at high schools across the region;
  • Organize and align community college certificate programs in IT/Cyber including big data analytics;
  • Expand existing high-school-focused IT/Cyber summer training programs and camps;  
  • Inform, organize, and align regional chambers of commerce and economic development agencies to deploy business retention and recruitment strategies for growing the IT/Cybersecurity sector in the IE.

Where it’s all leading us

The IE is home to tremendous IT/Cybersecurity assets which can be leveraged for real growth and establish the Inland Empire as a Cyber industry hub for businesses looking to grow. With the right investments, especially around talent and human capital, IT/Cybersecurity holds tremendous potential for good and promising jobs in the Inland Empire.

UCR conference examines why housing matters in inclusive econ development

The UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development recently held its 2019 annual conference, “The House That Wasn’t Built. Housing Scarcity: The Inland Empire’s Natural Barrier to Economic Growth.” It pointed out that some of the very jobs IEGO is trying to attract are the most at risk as housing costs have made it more difficult than ever to retain workers and businesses. “Lower-skilled workers moved inland because coastal areas put the kibosh on housing 20 years ago,” said Chris Thornberg, director of the center. “It’s like we’re saying, ‘We already kicked you out of the coastal areas; now we want to kick you out of the inland, too.’” Read more, here.

Spirit of Entrepreneur Award winners honored

Recognizing that “Innovation is Not Enough,” and that creating a successful business enterprise includes equal measures of passion, drive, commitment, determination, and risk taking, the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards recently celebrated and honored the Inland Empire region’s best entrepreneurs. The 17th annual gala event, presented by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at Cal State San Bernardino, drew more than 1,000 attendees to the Riverside Convention Center to hear the inspiring stories of the 33 entrepreneurs selected as finalists. For more on the winners, click here.

IE manufacturing activity continues to grow

For the second quarter in a row, business activity in the Inland Empire has outperformed the nation as a whole. The new Inland Empire Business Activity Index released by the UCR School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development shows a jump of 2.3% in the region’s business activity in the third quarter compared to 1.9% growth for U.S. GDP. The Index reports that business activity in the Inland Empire is forecast to rise between 1.9% and 2.4% over the next year. Read more, here.