2021 Summit Working Sessions Build Action Plans for Coming Year

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(Photo: Roby Behrens/CA FWD)

The hard work of the California Economic Summit happens during the Work Group breakout sessions. Participants attend the different sessions led by state leaders and experts to discuss recommendations and work with each other to analyze those recommendations. The results from the Work Groups will be included in the next CA FWD Roadmap to Shared Prosperity.

“The work being done here is a check in on the work we’ve done through the year as well as providing recommendations for the next year,” said Glenda Humiston, vice president, Agriculture & Natural Resources at University of California and one of the Group Leads of the CA FWD Empowering Resilient and Productive Landscapes Work Group.

This year, there were eight Work Group sessions:

Increasing Community Investment

The COVID-19 pandemic not only affected the way we live, work and shop, it also put focus on inequities that already existed in the economy. During the recovery, state leaders must reimagine traditional economic development strategies to make up for decades of deferred maintenance and underinvestment in communities and catalyze economic growth that enhances quality of life for all Californians.

  • Leverage state funds with local and regional funding by capturing growth in regional economies
  • Establish a State/Local Partnership
  • Empower Local Districts to Use Eminent Domain

The City of Placentia was highlighted during this session as a city that has used the tools available to transition from a small bedroom community to a desirable location to live, work and play.

Empowering Resilient and Productive Landscapes (2 sessions)

California’s wildfires continue to rage each year impacting our natural landscape and the lives of those who live near and/or depend on our forests for their livelihoods. The Work Group has developed two inter-related sets of recommendations to guide the work of the Summit on this issue during the coming year that include wildfire prevention and landscape resilience and upper watershed management.

  • Wildfire Prevention and Landscape Resilience
    • Advocacy for sustained statewide investments
    • Coalition building with tribes, across diverse landscapes, and in both remote and urbanized settings
    • Advocacy for legislative and regulatory solutions
  • Upper Watershed Management
    • “Forest to tap” coalition building
    • Agenda setting to advance wise implementation of state’s historic investments to address climate impacts

Providing Meaningful Career Pathways

This work group focused on the Recover With Equity roadmap, which is the result of work done by state and national experts in higher education and innovation. The goal is to recover with long-term viability and prosperity through the eradication of income inequalities based on race and geography. You can read more about the Work Group’s focus here.

Ensuring Broadband for All

This year, California has made historic investments and policy commitments aimed at resolving California’s digital crisis, including a $6 billion in broadband infrastructure improvements approved through budget legislation. This is a giant step toward digital equity for all Californians – both rural and urban. In the next year, this Work Group will focus on the following recommendations:

  • Support for the Regional Broadband Consortia
  • Advancing legislative and policy solutions.

Read more about this Work Group.

Building a Sustainable Energy Future

The recently released America in One Room: Climate and Energy Deliberative Poll showed that Americans are not as polarized as one may think on this issue. Read more about the poll, how it was conducted and the results.

Expanding Homeownership (Equitable Home Ownership Pilot Program)

California ranks 49 out of the 50 states in homeownership rates. That’s why this Work Group recommends creating at least two place-based pilots in California that would strengthen local capacity and support homeowners, community-based developers and contractors by bringing together a range of financial tools, partners, and programs to help them scale up their efforts to create affordable entry level homes.

Investing in Small Businesses Owned by People of Color

As businesses scrambled in the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly became clear that businesses owned by people of color were closing at higher rates. Coming back from those losses is proving to be a big task. Read about the Work Group’s recommended framework.

The California Economic Summit continues tomorrow with panel discussions that will include Broadband for All, Homeownership Wealth Creation for California’s Diverse Communities, a focus on Salinas (the host region), and the presentation of the California Regional Steward of the Year Award to Monterey Bay Economic Partnership President and CEO Kate Roberts and California Steward Leader of the Year to Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters).


Nadine Ono

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