Creating jobs isn’t rocket science…or is it all science?

150 150 John Guenther

(photo credit: Mike Baker)

There’s good news, and there’s…more good news? That’s right. California’s economy has earned the right to wear not one but two foam fingers. First, the state has the highest number of science and engineering jobs by far in the United States, says a new report this month out of the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.

At the same time, the state is taking no prisoners when it comes to growth in clean energy and clean transportation projects says a survey compiled by Environmental Entrepreneurs, and like with science and engineering jobs, the rest of the 49 states don’t even approach the Golden State.

We’re not ones to turn down positive statistics (“we’re #1!” has a nice ring to it) but we did think it would be helpful to look into what this means in the grand scheme of California’s economic recovery. This means identifying why California is positively positioned for the future in these fields, and what our state can do to encourage even more growth in these professions of innovation.

California’s science and engineering job dominance is a tale of our cities and metropolitan areas. Places like Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Clara are major contributors to California’s over 786,000 jobs in those fields. In regards to cleantech, nationwide, 38,600 jobs and 58 projects were announced this last economic quarter, and 12 of those projects – and more importantly, 9,000 jobs – are in California.

Careers in science and engineering don’t just materialize: they are the process of careful planning, beginning with a high-quality education. The California Economic Summit’s Workforce Action Team will focus on the skilled workforce needs of California’s economy by expanding career-technical education pathways in high-demand fields, especially STEM/STEAM jobs.

One of the most helpful directions California could go, in as far as educating its future workforce to take on the jobs that create things like clean tech/transportation innovation, is through employer-driven education and training partnerships in high-growth regional industry clusters.

One example comes from a Summit partner, Silicon Valley Leadership Group. A year ago the group partnered with NOVA, a Bay Area job training organization that gets students prepared for the growing field of green jobs. It’s worked.

“I was able to bring a lot of knowledge of the technical sales aspect to the interview,” Abel Morales told the Mercury News. “About three days after the interview SolarCity sent me an offer, and I was like ‘This is fantastic.’ It’s really exciting to be in a new field, it’s full time with benefits and my Mom is proud of me.”

Proud moms and good jobs go hand in hand, and with California continuing upswing in these high-growth fields of engineering and science, as well as green jobs, there’s reason for moms across the state to be optimistic. 


John Guenther

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