Chula Vista, Calif., is a fast-growing city near the Mexican border that has just one public higher education option: Southwestern College, a two-year school.
For several years now, leaders of San Diego County’s second-largest city have explored adding a four-year university to serve the large base of Latinos, many of whom struggle to advance past a high school diploma.
“A lot of it has to do with being away from their families,” explains Chuck Flacks, Director of Research and Policy at San Diego Workforce Partnership®. “And so one of the pitches being made here is, ‘Can we get a campus on the border?’”
As part of the effort, Flacks (pictured at left) provided regional lawmakers and the Chula Vista mayor’s office with an EMSI report that assessed the potential impacts of adding a university and research park to the region. The input-output analysis showed the added revenue and jobs that would come in higher education and construction if the project comes to fruition.
Flacks presented the report to a State Assembly subcommittee while Mayor Cheryl Cox referenced the analysis in her recent State of the City address.
“We were able to take EMSI data and in real time plug it into policy-making discussions that were happening on the ground,” Flacks says. “It was pretty exciting.”
The impact analysis is just one example of how EMSI’s tools and employment data have been used in the region. The San Diego Workforce Partnership® serves 3.5 to 4 million people — all of San Diego County — making it one of the five-largest workforce boards in the nation.
Partly because of the large size of its regional service area, SDWP has relied on labor market data and research to stay current on regional trends.
“Part of the reason for wanting to look at a tool like EMSI’s is that increasingly we’re trying to make our data real time and available more broadly to the general public,” Flacks says.