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San Diego is investing in data to build training programs and talent pipelines.

It’s 70 degrees and sunny and—if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in San Diego—the world is your oyster. Beach? Check. Outdoor activities? Check. Friendly, easy-going people? Check. Without a doubt San Diego is one of the most beautiful and desirable places to live in the U.S.

While San Diego’s location and attractions make it unique, it is also powered by a different type of economy. The big game in town is small…small business, that is. In fact, 98 percent of the companies in the region are small businesses. And they have one thing in common: they struggle to find qualified talent, particularly talent that’s reflective of the city’s growing Hispanic population.

City leaders know that, in order to help San Diego reach its economic potential, they need to develop a solution to support the small business community.

With that in mind, public and private leaders across San Diego County have launched the Advancing San Diego initiative with support from JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities Challenge, an annual competition to source innovative and sustainable solutions to address the most persistent problems facing communities.

Advancing San Diego is designed to connect residents to high-demand jobs, while providing small businesses access to diverse talent pipelines that are reflective of the city’s growing Hispanic population. To make the plan a reality, the city is investing in the data – which is one of JPMorgan Chase’s 7 Traits of Advancing Cities.

San Diego will soon boast a streamlined system that uses information from employers to help educators design training programs for its high-growth sectors. At the same time, it will also provide pathways to help residents access those jobs. Better data will ultimately lead to better pathways to employment, and better jobs for more San Diego residents.

Connecting small business with existing talent could make a big impact on “America’s Finest City.” And as one of five inaugural winners of the AdvancingCities challenge, San Diego was hand selected from more than 250 proposals across 143 communities to do just that.

So, if you are lucky enough to admire San Diego from Coronado, remember that there is more than meets the eye. It’s the small businesses that keep the city thriving. The city is changing…for the better.

The collaborative behind Advancing San Diego includes the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation, San Diego Workforce Partnership, San Diego and Imperial Counties Community College Association, United Way of San Diego and the City of San Diego.

This is part of a five-part series on the inaugural winners of JPMorgan Chase’s AdvancingCities Challenge. To learn more about AdvancingCities visit here. To learn more about the firm’s 7 Traits of Advancing Cities, visit here.