Our Workforce is our Strength, and our Challenge

August 24, 2022

Written by Matt Sanford

When I talk to Carlsbad business leaders, human resource reps, hiring managers,  and technical leads, they almost always mention the workforce, also known as talent. 

It’s not surprising. Carlsbad’s talent is one of the top reasons companies choose to  be here. Our workforce is very well-educated, with roughly 60% of workers having  at least a bachelor’s degree and more than 24% having a graduate degree or higher. 

Companies—especially those in innovation industries like tech, life sciences and  cleantech—are eager to tap into our  well-qualified candidate pool, making it one of  our biggest economic assets. 

Yet it’s not as simple as just putting bright people into good jobs. That’s because the future of work is fuzzy. Remote and hybrid work are changing how companies operate—and the workforce is changing right along with them. Some candidates are rerouting their career paths entirely, as evidenced by headlines about “The Great  Resignation,” which is perhaps more accurately a ‘great reshuffling.’ 

Here in Carlsbad, the unemployment rate  is 2.8%, about the lowest rate it has ever been. And in the last three months, there were 15,313 unique job postings.

Suffice to say, employers are concerned about workforce challenges. And as these issues of workforce development, talent attraction, and everything in between come more into focus, it is clear that cities have a role to play. In Carlsbad, we are proud to be stepping up. 

We obviously can’t know everything about the future of work. But we do know that a well-stocked talent pool will be needed. That’s why we’ve launched two programs to help make that a reality: 

Taking our talent pipeline national 

In late 2020, as many workers first started to reconsider where they were working and living, Carlsbad launched “Life in Action Recruiter,” a tool available through the CarlsbadLifeinAction.com to capture inbound interest from talent all across the country who had expressed an interest in working in Carlsbad. Since then, more than 325 individuals from here to Pittsburgh have signed up to learn more about Carlsbad businesses and share their information, including resume details, with Carlsbad employers.

Now, the platform has just relaunched to serve Carlsbad businesses more comprehensively. Starting in August, businesses can sign up to access a new self-serve portal, search through candidates, and see their experience automatically. 

This allows the most up-to-date access and a streamlined approach for businesses. Carlsbad businesses can go to recruit.carlsbadlifeinaction.com/talent-roster to sign up for portal access.

Harvesting our homegrown talent 

Just as it is important to put Carlsbad on the map as an ideal destination for innovative talent, it is also crucial that we support our residents who may not have had the same access to opportunities. As such, we have been working diligently to stand up a new pilot program to connect our most vulnerable workers with job opportunities in in-demand industries. 

In partnership with the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce, The Drucker Institute, and Lightcast, we have launched the Carlsbad “Job-Readiness Room.” This first-of-its-kind program leverages our libraries (both online and in person) as a resource to connect individuals with basic skills training in manufacturing, office administration, and hospitality & food service. Upon completion of that training, those individuals receive a micro credential, and have a guaranteed job interview with a Carlsbad business.

The Job-Readiness Room supports hidden and vulnerable workers who may have had difficulty accessing work opportunities. At no cost, it provides them with 15 to 20 hours of self-paced skills training, and a link to employers in industries that we know are hiring entry-level workers.

Carlsbad businesses that participate get leads to candidates who have demonstrated interest by completing their skills-training and that they know have interest in working in the industry. 

We hope that these individuals prove to be committed workers who stay and grow in their jobs once given the opportunity to succeed. Businesses can participate by emailing us at [email protected].

Addressing workforce and talent issues are critical to our economic development efforts. As noted above, our talent-base is a primary reason businesses choose to be in Carlsbad and it is critical we keep expanding our pipeline. We hope these two programs do just that.