The Coast News Group
The online platform helps students and job seekers find a variety of professional opportunities that fit their specific interests, criteria and qualifications.
The online platform helps link students and job seekers with a variety of professional opportunities. Courtesy photo

Tri-City, business groups launch workforce development initiative

REGION — Tri-City Medical Center, in collaboration with several regional business groups and colleges, recently launched an online platform helping students and job seekers find professional opportunities that fit their specific interests and qualifications.

The Student Opportunities for Career Awareness and Learning, or SOCAL initiative — a joint effort by Tri-City and the San Diego North Economic Development Council, chambers of commerce in Carlsbad, Oceanside and Vista, and MiraCosta and Palomar colleges — is part of Tri-City’s broader COASTAL Commitment community outreach effort.

Many of the jobs, internships and other opportunities highlighted on SOCAL are middle-wage jobs that require less than a four-year college degree, in hopes of providing access to people with a range of qualifications and backgrounds.

According to Aaron Byzak, chief external affairs officer for Tri-City, COASTAL Commitment aims to target social and healthcare issues that disproportionately impact people’s outcomes in life.

“For us, it’s about empowering young people to take hold of their lives and really pursue careers that are going to help them live a better life and have better health and social outcomes,” said Byzak, who is also the incoming chairman of the San Diego North Economic Development Council.

Screenshot from SOCAL website
Screenshot from SOCAL website

The website allows visitors to browse through dozens of different industries and occupations in North County including healthcare, manufacturing, communication technology, construction, software and more. Visitors can also watch videos and interviews of real people who are actually working in those positions.

In the videos, professionals discuss their industry, job responsibilities, workplace environments and career advancement outlooks. Each video also includes a webpage with expected average wages and links to educational resources.

More phases of the SOCAL initiative are expected to be rolled out in the coming months, including an ongoing career-day speakers’ bureau, shadowing experiences, internships and other workforce development resources.

“Our effort is to become a centralized hub of various workforce development programs that are around and about North County and hopefully create a critical mass of activity under the SOCAL banner,” said Erik Bruvold, chief executive officer for the SDNEDC. “One of the things we know about this space is that it’s disjointed and there are lots of resources, but it’s hard to navigate. So if we can help become kind of a one-stop-shop in this particular area that would be a great achievement.”

Job explorers, interested businesses and the community can learn more about the SOCAL initiative and experience SOCAL’s interactive website by visiting

“We believe supporting the SOCAL initiative not only helps support our future workforce but also strengthens the health and prosperity of our region by advancing economic empowerment,” Byzak said. “By integrating education and workforce development through a platform that everyone can take advantage of, we hope to make economic advancement more equitable in North County.”