California Economic Summit Coming to Santa Rosa

580 200 Ed Coghlan

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (Nov. 1, 2018) – The 2018 California Economic Summit will be held in Santa Rosa on Nov. 15-16. Now in its seventh year, the Summit connects regional and state leaders to develop a shared agenda to generate jobs and improve regional economic competitiveness across California.

“We are thrilled that the Summit is coming to Sonoma County and the North Bay Region for the first time,” said James Gore, chair, Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. “A key area of focus this year is the need for resiliency in every region – whether in response to natural disasters, climate change or economic uncertainty.”

Sonoma County is recovering from last year’s wildfires which destroyed over 7,500 structures—including 5,300 homes–in the county.

The Summit’s 2018 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity outlines a comprehensive agenda to meet the needs of the 21st century economy in California, including:

  • Setting goals consistent with California values. The Summit supports legislation defining tangible metrics for upward mobility – and establishing a system for tracking progress.
  • Advancing solutions that meet the triple bottom line. The Summit will continue ongoing initiatives to close gaps in the number of skilled workers, livable communities and well-paying jobs.
  • Ensuring rural California prospers. The Summit will launch a statewide collaborative committed to advancing the sustainable development of rural regions.
  • Modeling resiliency for every region. The Summit will concentrate on every region’s flexibility and ability to move forward after unexpected events like wildfires, earthquakes or even recessions.

“Californians know that the time to fix our state’s economy is now. People from every region are standing up and demanding change,” said Ashley Swearengin, president and CEO, Central Valley Community Foundation and 2018 co-chair of the Summit’s Steering Committee. “There's been no other entity in California that's been able or willing to take on that challenge, but the Summit is doing just that.”

On Thursday, Nov. 15, interactive plenary and breakout sessions will be held to advance Summit goals. Then on Friday, a plenary session will feature state policy leaders in conversation with heads of regional businesses and civic groups on critical issues facing California. The event has attracted another impressive list of speakers. including more than three dozen state and regional elected officials, as well as business and civic leaders. For the list of speakers, see here.

The Summit's broad and diverse network of business, equity, environmental and community organizations will craft strategies to improve upward mobility, build more housing, create a strong workforce and strengthen the state's water sustainability.

The event will create real and intelligent remedies to attract capital, generate jobs and encourage sustainable, resilient communities all over California.

“Our experience in Sonoma County with last year’s wildfires shows that in order to address challenges, we have to work across sectors, government working with the community and private sector leaders to get things done. We learned you can’t make progress in isolation,” said Oscar Chavez, assistant director, Sonoma County Department of Human Services and 2018 Summit Steering Committee co-chair. “There’s no better cross-sector organization in California. So, it’s fitting the Summit is being held in Santa Rosa where we can share what we’ve learned in the last year with other regional leaders.” 

In addition, four workforce training programs will be honored as winners of the California Economic Summit’s Partnerships for Industry and Education (PIE) Awards.

The 2018 winning programs, which address worker shortages in the construction and the health care sectors, were selected by a panel of judges from a strong list of 37 entries.

Furthermore, the Summit will present its annual California Steward Leader Awards at the Santa Rosa event.

The California Economic Summit is managed by California Forward, a bipartisan good government reform effort to improve economic performance and democracy in partnership with the California Stewardship Network, an alliance promoting regional economic vitality.


California Forward (CA Fwd) is a nonpartisan and nonprofit organization, devoted to improving the performance of government in California. It believes that increased emphasis on accountability and transparency will create government that Californians deserve and expect. CA Fwd strongly advocates for confidence and trust in elected officials as being an essential ingredient to good government.


Ed Coghlan

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