A Look at the New 2021 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity

1024 576 John Guenther

California Forward (CA FWD) today announced the launch of the 2021 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity, outlining priority actions CA FWD and its many partners will pursue to help more Californians prosper.

The global pandemic and resulting economic downturn have magnified the urgent need to address our state’s most pressing and persistent inequities.

“Now is the time to reimagine a California that is more equitable and resilient, a state where we redress the racial and economic inequities that have made the California Dream increasingly elusive for far too many,” said Micah Weinberg, CEO of CA FWD.

The 2021 Roadmap is a product of the California Economic Summit, which is produced by CA FWD and the California Stewardship Network. CA FWD’s collaborative, evidence-based, and inclusive approach to solutions is central to the Summit and is precisely what is needed to help move the state forward and create different outcomes.

Released on the heels of Governor Newsom’s proposed 2021-22 budget and as we welcome the state Legislature back, the 2021 Roadmap provides actionable triple-bottom-line solutions that balance racial and economic equity, environmental stewardship and economic opportunity for all Californians.

Taking a closer look at the new Roadmap, here’s how it aligns with the governor’s proposed budget:

Ecosystem & Climate Resilience

The governor’s proposed budget includes investments of $1 billion to support a wildfire and forest resilience action plan, including $512 million to create resilient forests and landscapes, $323 million in early actions to protect communities, and a $76 million investment in innovative projects and workforce preparedness with a focus on expanding wood product markets.

CA FWD and partners have long advocated for proactive reduction of risks and restoration of resilient forests, watersheds, working landscapes and ecosystems.  Building on the principles of California’s Wildfire Crisis: A Call to Action, our 2021 priority actions include:

  • Support the immediate scaling of state investment over the next two years in wildfire reduction and forest restoration. Reducing wildfires and restoring forest health can help safeguard more than 11 million Californians who live in harm’s way and improve public health and safety.
  • Support legislation and policies to drive long-term funding and action-oriented solutions, including enhancing forest and watershed resilience, building new and innovative wood products industries and strengthening rural economies.
  • Identify on-the-ground projects with potential for landscape-scale resilience building, expansion of innovative wood product industries, and development of diversified economic stacking models to champion through legislative, policy and coalition-building channels.

Education Cradle to Career

More than ever, California’s learning ecosystem must prepare workers to earn a livable wage and to give Californians more opportunities for a brighter future. We have long championed solutions that strengthen the education system from cradle to career and provide meaningful career pathways.

We are encouraged to see a proposed $250 million one-time General Fund investment in workforce development to support better connections between higher education and employment, as well as investments in apprenticeship and workforce development in community colleges and cradle-to-career infrastructure.

In 2021 we will continue to:

  • Advocate for funding and support the expansion of the cradle to career data-driven integrated service delivery model throughout California.
  • Advance the implementation of a regional, scalable, data-driven prototype for employer engagement with community colleges meant to address systemic barriers students face in accessing work-based learning and job placement opportunities, while strengthening relationships between colleges, employers, industry associations and regional business intermediaries like local economic development corporations.

Connecting California

During the 2019 California Economic Summit in Fresno, the governor announced his Broadband for All initiative and in August 2020 issued an Executive Order to mobilize state agencies and resources to close the digital divide and support the development of the California Broadband Action Plan. The Governor reiterated his support for Broadband for All efforts in his proposed budget.

Our 2021 Priority Actions include:

  • Support the development and implementation of the State Broadband Action Plan.
  • Support bi-cameral action to close the digital divide, including SB 4 (Senator Gonzalez), AB 14 (Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry), and related efforts to secure funding streams, prioritize access for unserved and underserved communities, and remove barriers for accelerating deployment and adoption.
  • Support innovative new models for deployment and strategies that leverage federal and private funding. Working in partnership with broadband consortia, regional and local governments, anchor institutions, providers and others, CA FWD and the Summit network will host a webinar series to explore new solutions.

Additionally, CA FWD and partners will be working on solutions that support expanding home ownership, planning regional inclusive economies, investing in small businesses owned by people of color, advancing manufacturing, and increasing community investments.

Read the full 2021 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity here.


John Guenther

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