2023 Summit: A Collaborative Canvas to Re-imagine California’s Economy

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Last month’s California Economic Summit brought together more than 900 civic, business and thought leaders to Indian Wells to discuss the challenges and the opportunities facing the world’s fourth largest economy.

See the sights and hear the words from the 2023 California Economic Summit speakers and attendees in our latest video above.

The Summit opened with a welcome from Indian Wells Mayor Donna Griffith and bird singers from the Agua Caliente band of Cahuilla Indians, followed by a big announcement of the rebranding of  California’s $600-million Community Economic Resilience Program (CERF) to California Jobs First. “What we learned over the last two years is that people on the ground are actually charting their own path around economic development is that that is what true equity means,” said Samuel Assefa, director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research. Summit attendees also heard about California’s investment in infrastructure, the importance of the creative economy to California and the future of the state’s energy industry including Imperial Valley’s “Lithium Valley.”

In the afternoon session, Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis spoke about her work on the international stage and her optimism about facing California’s challenging issues, “My belief is that the challenges that we have in this state, difficult though they are, are not bigger than our capacity to address them.”

Hundreds of Summit attendees also joined workgroup sessions on issues including Housing and Homeownership, Education and Workforce and Advancing Manufacturing. These workgroups meet throughout the year to tackle these important issues.

The Summit’s second day included California Controller Malia Cohen, words from a panel of California’s future leaders, the importance of empowering communities traditionally left behind when discussing economic development and advice from Dr. Manuel Pastor of the University of Southern California, to tackle the multiple crises including backlash to racial diversity, income inequality and climate. He offered to Summit attendees his thoughts on the stakes of the challenges before them: “It’s important to think about your role as stewards of the state — not just clusters but community, not just recovery but re-imagination, not just jobs but justice.”

Videography and editing by Angel Cardenas


Nadine Ono

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