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  • Cybersecurity, ecotourism jobs possible for rural East County Post

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    By the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce 
         There are more ways than expected for Alpine and Mountain Empire residents to make a living.
    Danielle Steinhorst, communications manager for the San Diego East County Economic Development Council (ECEDC) talked at the Nov. 13 monthly meeting of the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce about exploring cybersecurity and ecotourism businesses as a way to create jobs in rural areas.
         Cybersecurity is making sure information is safe in computers. Ecotourism is any form of tourism that focuses on the natural environment.
         “Our mission is to empower the creation of an economic environment,” Steinhorst said at the Hot Topics Business Breakfast at the Casino Inn Bar & Grill, 1155 Alpine Blvd. “What we do is try to bring investment into East County. . . . Can people make a living here? The answer is yes.”
         The San Diego East County Development Council is a non-profit group of business, community, education, government, and industry representatives.
         They work to promote successful business in El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, and Santee and unincorporated Alpine, Lakeside, Rancho San Diego and Spring Valley. 
         With 73 percent of the East County workforce commuting to urban areas, lanes are being added to area highways to make the commute easier for employees and business services, Steinhorst said.
         Communities that deliver the same message on the same page and work together for a mutual goal have a better chance of thriving economically, she told Chamber members and guests.
         “Cybersecurity impacts every single business, no matter how big or small,” said the ECEDC representative. “Across California, there is a deficit (of skilled cybersecurity employees).”
         A statewide 2017-18 survey by the California Community Colleges Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research revealed an “alarming gap” in qualified cybersecurity workers capable of filling 35,000 cybersecurity-related job openings annually in the state. 
    The plan is to add another 9,400 employees to that number during the coming year, Steinhorst said.  She said a survey analysis shows that cybersecurity workers have a median hourly wage of $20.83.
         “The advancement in that industry is much quicker than you would assume,” Steinhorst said. “Skill certificates and experience set candidates apart. A four-year college degree is not required.” 
         The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District offers cybersecurity courses and ECEDC provides resources, she said.
    Steinhorst said communities can partner on “work where you live” goals with both the growing need for cybersecurity and the “booming “ecotourism.
    In other business, Chamber members and guests were updated on the Chamber’s holiday lighting contest and Community Christmas Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24. The tree is at the Alpine Woman’s Club at 2156 Alpine Blvd.
         “We’ve got 97 entries already for the 23rd Annual Alpine Village Christmas Parade of Lights and that will continue to grow,” said Chamber Executive Director Alex Ward.
         By mid-week, about 115 parade entries were registered.
         The number of vendors at the free Snow Festival that evening on Friday, Dec. 7, also is expanding.
         Ward encouraged everyone to decorate buildings with holiday lights in the Alpine Village area and to get information about plans for Black Friday shopping on Nov. 23 and Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24 to the Chamber as soon as possible
         Contact the Chamber at (619) 445-2722 or visit www.alpinechamber.com for details or sign up.  
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