Thursday, July 30, 2015

Inequality in San Diego Creates Some Unknowns

Will San Diego’s Income Inequality catch up to us? I had the pleasure of reading Dan McSwain’s article in the San Diego Union Tribute outline some of the key points contained within a University of Southern California’s report on in Equality in San Diego. You can read the report HERE  and the article HERE. The report highlights some concerns San Diego’s leaders should start thinking about.

In business strategic planners conduct a SWOT that stands for an analysis of an entities Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. If someone conducted a SWOT on San Diego they would find that all of the positive growth also leaves some areas that contain long-term threats to the local economy. Inequalities do impact the success and sustainability of a city in both quality of life and economic longevity-how to handle it is a whole different question.

There are many arguments as they related to how and why to promote holistic growth among San Diego’s disadvantaged populations. We can say that demographics are changing and this will put pressure on governments to change with the times. New ways of doing things are likely to be more reflective of the entire population. Additional stakeholders in a city will become increasingly important as access to information improves.

Yet government can’t solve all of our problems. It is beholden to and relies heavily on current resources and doesn’t have much ability to generate new resources without the help of the business class. The entrepreneurial and business community expands existing opportunities and creates new resources that can be used to employ up-in-coming employees that can mitigate future risks.

Explanations of how to speed the economy depends on which of the many theories one chooses that ranges from Robin Hood type income distribution to complete Laisse-Faire market forces.  Regardless of what theory is applied, the ultimate goal should be to raise business and employment prospects by enhancing the market value of San Diego’s human capital.

Is it possible to connect skills to business? It would seem that the greatest challenge is high wage employment. Enhancing skills and connecting them to expanding businesses seems to be one of the most plausible ways of improving the lives of a great many people. The debate rages on…..

I have seen corporate initiatives where promising people who apply for open positions but don’t have all of the necessary requirements are put through a training program. Sometimes this may come with a contract to recap on training costs or with a few years of lower wages that help companies mitigate expenses. In the end the local human capital rises and the employee is left with skills that command higher market wages.

Equitable growth requires greater focus on developing better ways of improving education, training, hiring that leads to additional investment in San Diego’s budding economy. Once market relevant skills and knowledge are matched with needy businesses long-term growth in disadvantaged communities can be realized in a sustainable way. Market value increases of earned income make their way back into local neighborhoods through greater expenditures by the local population in housing, retail, neighborhood aesthetics, and general quality of life.

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