The Summit Signature Initiatives: How we’re tracking progress

150 150 Justin Ewers

At the first-ever California Economic Summit in May, an unprecedented gathering of more than 500 leaders representing each of the state’s regions identified seven signature initiatives as priority actions for the state.

Following the Summit, Action Teams made up of a diverse group of stakeholders began refining these policy ideas, which range from infrastructure financing reforms and efforts to modernize California’s water system to new ways the state can streamline regulations.

Champions were identified for each initiative, detailed action plans drafted, and the Action Teams have started working with state lawmakers, the Brown administration and the federal government to move these ideas forward.

So how are the initiatives doing? This week we’ve released a new Progress Tracker to keep you up-to-date with the important work of our Summit Action Teams. On the Tracker’s main page, you can see how all seven initiatives are progressing toward their goals. Each of the initiatives has made it out of the gate successfully, with initial implementation underway. 

Several of these efforts have some early successes to report, which can be found—along with the progress each initiative is making toward all of the goals in its action plan—by clicking on the initiative from the Tracker page. We will continue to update each of these pages in the months to come as the initiatives move forward. 

Some of the highlights so far:

SMART Workforce – Development

  • Two bills that will align existing workforce training and career education resources with the needs of regional industry sectors—SB 1402 and SB 1070—have passed both houses of the State Legislature. These important efforts to promote regional industry workforce partnerships await the Governor’s signature. 
  • The California Community College Chancellors Office has also launched its Doing What Matters for Jobs and the Economy Initiative, which explicitly mentions the Economic Summit process as a catalyst for driving more regional planning around career technical education. In a first step toward finding funding for these regional industry partnerships, the Chancellor’s Office also recently funded eight industry-driven, regional collaboratives, with 23 more proposals that received a passing score if funding had been available. 

SMART Innovation – Small Business

SMART Infrastructure – Financing

  • In an important step toward increasing the amount of private financing available for California’s $765 billion of infrastructure needs over the next 10 years, the Summit’s Action Team successfully pushed the administration to move the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, a major source of financing for both public infrastructure and private development, into GO-Biz, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. This will provide the governor with another tool to fund vital infrastructure projects, from highways and bridges to schools. 
  • The Action Team also submitted a white paper to the Governor’s Office on creating a high-level advisory group of knowledgeable professionals to evaluate the management of a center for expertise that can drive more private financing for infrastructure projects.

SMART Infrastructure – Water

  • The water infrastructure Action Team has been working with the Governor and other key players to adopt a more comprehensive approach to modernizing the state’s water infrastructure system that addresses the needs of all regions and all categories of users. 

SMART Regulation – California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)

  • The CEQA Action Team, a group of environmental and business leaders from across the state, adopted four major reform principles that will guide the group’s reform efforts to return CEQA to its original intent. The group has also begun conducting CEQA tours to bring attention to building projects stalled by CEQA lawsuits in Los Angeles and San Diego. Meanwhile, state lawmakers, after considering a bill that would have fast-tracked some CEQA reforms, will wait until the next session before tackling a comprehensive review of the law.

SMART Capital – Access

  • A new “Access to Capital” guidebook was released in August by the California Financial Opportunities Roundtable (CalFOR), a group of more than 90 experts and activists representing large banks, small financial institutions, wealth advisors, fund managers, the business community, and economic development organizations as well as local, state and federal government agencies. The document offers a one-stop-shop resource for anyone seeking capital in a straightforward, easy-to-use format.

Justin Ewers

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