The historic first California Economic Summit Concludes – For now

150 150 Chris Nelson

Pulitzer Prize winner Thomas L. Friedman responds to a question posed by Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom at the California Economic Summit in Santa Clara, CA

The first-ever California Economic Summit concluded last Friday after a day packed with energy and optimism. The docket of speakers included Pulitzer Prize winning author and columnist Thomas L. Friedman, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and a host of other business and political luminaries all gathered with one goal: get our state back on track.

In addition to the stellar roster of speakers and presenters, the event also featured interactive breakout sessions that tasked attendees with brainstorming about regional needs as well as the state’s overall health in the areas of innovation, infrastructure, workforce training, regulatory environment and access to captial. The sessions were recorded using state-of-the-art crowdsourcing technology that will allow the virtual bulletin boards to be available online for further amending until the Summit releases its progress report at the end of June.

From the official press release:

With a state unemployment rate of 11%, workforce preparation was one of the main issues of the Summit. Lt. Governor Newsom pointed out there are 465,000 jobs available today in California. Attendees called for state leaders to act swiftly to align industry needs with education immediately, including developing incentives for better training of workers for 21st Century jobs.

Over 40 specific initiatives in the five policy areas were developed during the afternoon sessions. Those areas will continue to be defined in the coming weeks.

“This was an outstanding day for California. To watch people from every corner of this state bring their knowledge, expertise and passion to find solutions that can help revitalize the state’s economic vitality was inspiring,” said Dr. Laura Tyson, who was co-chair of the Summit Leadership Group. “This is how real economic progress can be made, with a bottoms up regional approach that gathers input from Californians who are on the front lines of their communities and whose recommendations can inform and educate policy makers and elected officials.”

And from the Slicon Valley Mercury News’ coverage of the event:

The lieutenant governor acknowledged that the tangle of competing political views at the Capitol has irked business executives and local officials in California.

“They have had enough,” he said.

The group is moving to demand that California address a few key issues, including infrastructure upgrades, efforts to spur innovation and increasing access to capital. A progress report will be available to the public at the end of June.

“We believe that continued success requires public and private sector leaders taking signature actions that simultaneously promote economic vitality, equality of opportunity and environmental quality,” the group stated. “We know that these signature actions must promote skilled human capital, efficient regulation and modern infrastructure.” These goals are “prerequisites for attracting the private investment that generates quality jobs,” the group stated.

Our initial round of thoughts as the Summit was progressing can be found here.

UPDATE: here is additional coverage from Fox & Hounds Daily and the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

More video content produced by the Summit itself is forthcoming.


Chris Nelson

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