— Although our economy is constantly growing, there’s still an undeniable need to grow and cultivate the STEM workforce in our city. The San Diego Workforce Partnership and the San Diego Economic Development Corp. have identified priority sectors where they identify the most growth and need for workers.

However, STEM professionals are being pulled to other cities such as Seattle, Boston, Pittsburgh and Austin. San Diego’s top-tier life science companies and organizations need to encourage more students and graduates from in and out of state to not only choose San Diego but stay in San Diego. This all starts with girls and boys in grades K-12 being better exposed to STEM in their classrooms and in their own backyards.

Exposure and Mentorship

We’ve seen the power that comes when children and young adults learn through experiences, mentorship and dialogue. Only through engagement is it possible to foster a passion for STEM education and careers.

If you’re a STEM leader or have a passion for STEM, I challenge you to give back to this future generation through community events, like Biocom Institute’s San Diego Festival of Science & Engineering. Talk to kids and young adults to find out what their career paths are and how they can stay in San Diego to do what they love. All it could take is one conversation to inspire an individual to pursue a certain field of study or career.

San Diego’s life science community is only as strong as the sum of its parts. Greater diversity in our STEM workforce translates into vibrant industries that reflect the diversity of our communities and customers.

Our many different backgrounds and experiences, when combined, make us stronger. And it’s our responsibility to make sure that our workforce of tomorrow is as great and strong as it can be.

Liisa Bozinovic is executive director of the Biocom Institute.