Irvine’s Financial X-Issue: Our well-trained workforce

Irvine’s economy is thriving.

The high-paying job market is strong here. We have the second highest employment rate in the nation. And international and domestic companies are expanding here.

As the CEO of the Greater Irvine Chamber, I am often asked why – what is the “X-Factor” of our city when it comes to the economy? And my answer is: a well-trained workforce.

Our educational strength is based on the Irvine master plan. We are the No. 1 university in the nation, according to Money magazine. And the No. 3 school district in the nation according to WalletHub. We have elementary school students who build robots and high school students who build satellites – and put them into space. We have 16 campuses in the city and at any given time there are more than 17,000 UCI students working on degrees in STEM fields.

Additionally, I tell people who ask that 72% of Irvine’s residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher – that’s the best in America! And 32% have a masters degree or higher – # 2 in America.

Employers take note of these figures.

Since 2017, the Greater Irvine Chamber has successfully attracted international companies, particularly from the UK, to move to Irvine, thanks in large part to our well-trained workforce. Here at home, local businesses are continually expanding their headquarters and operations, hiring more people, and creating a positive cycle of economic strength powered by you, Irvine’s workforce.

It explains why a third of the Fortune 500 companies are based in Irvine. why we attracted one of the richest high-tech clusters in California (900 companies); and why our city has nearly the same employment rate – which makes Irvine another top award in America.

Business + education

The UCI Research Park is continuously making impressive progress – a catalyst for innovation on a par with the Stanford Research Park. The 185 hectare office campus right next to the UCI was planned to close the gap between academic research and business.

Today the company employs 8,000 people in high-tech companies such as Cisco Systems, Medtronic and Toshiba America.

These and other companies in the UCI Research Park draw on the talent of faculty, students, and STEM alumni at one of America’s top research universities, in turn fueling Irvine’s business and reputation for innovation.

Yes, Irvine’s economy is thriving. And the reason is simple: Irvine’s master plan.

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