SAN DIEGO -- If you're looking for a job in San Diego, now's a good time to do it.
Just don't count on being paid enough to live here.
But there are some jobs that do come with a bigger paycheck, without a major degree.
San Diegan Jamie Herrera is looking for a new job. It’s been tough since she lost her job as a business analyst six weeks ago.
“Fortunately I had some savings, and I'm receiving unemployment. If it weren't for that it would be really hard,” she said.
She came to the San Diego Workforce Partnership's annual conference in search of answers. She’s not sure where she fits in, even though she has a Master’s degree from UCSD.
”I was faced with this dilemma, am I over educated and under qualified,” she said.
As Herrera looks for a match, so are thousands of employers in San Diego, with little luck.
On Thursday, 500 employers and educators converged on San Diego’s Jacobs Center for the San Diego Workforce Partnership’s annual conference to solve the problem.
Cassandra Schaeg, senior program manager at RHA Incorporated, says she's having trouble filling 15 openings for outreach specialists starting at $14 an hour.
“The amount of soft skills that's needed is definitely high and there is a skills gap where we need more people that have those soft skills,” she said.
Soft skills like personal communication, showing up on time, and a good work ethic. Those don't require a college degree, but lead to plenty of well-paying jobs.
The workforce partnership reports 20,000 of those positions open per year in fields like advanced manufacturing, health care, and information technologies. They pay a median $20 dollars an hour.
“We hear a lot from employers that they're willing to train technical skills on the job,” said Tina Ngo Bartel, research director at the San Diego Workforce Partnership. “They're not necessarily willing to train for how to arrive at work on time, or how not to use social media.”
The Workforce Partnership recommends getting involved in hands on training programs, such as through internships and apprenticeships to get those skills in demand. Training courses are also available at community colleges.
Herrera said she's going to keep putting herself out there, as employers continue to say their searches come up empty.
”That’s what they say,” Herrera said. “But I’m right here.”