(photo credit: Matthew Grant Anson)
Californians are gathering in Los Angeles this week for the 2013 California Economic Summit. The Summit is not an event but rather a unique year-round effort designed to help the Golden State create more middle-class jobs and maintain California’s economic competitiveness.
The initiative is a partnership between California Forward and the California Stewardship Network that recognizes California is made up of distinct regions that often have different economic drivers, but face the common challenge of how to restore and maintain job growth in the Golden State.
The regional focus of the Summit is its strength. Nearly 2,000 persons across California participated in 16 regional meetings from San Diego to the Redwood Coast last spring. They identified priorities to advance the state’s triple bottom line of a prosperous economy, a sustainable environment and community equity.
Ed Rendon, who is the Public Affairs Director for Teamsters Local 42 and also is Board Chair of the San Gabriel Valley Civic Alliance, wrote in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune this week about the Summit’s potential for his area of expertise.
The seven Signature Initiatives identified by the Regional Forums and which will be the focus at the Summit are:
- Modernizing the state’s infrastructure
- Developing a 21st century workforce
- Improving access to capital
- Advancing manufacturing
- Creating efficiencies within the regulatory environment
- Enhancing the working landscapes interface between rural and urban regions
- Increasing the supply of housing
The hundreds who will be at the Summit are made up of California business, labor, nonprofit, and civic leaders.
The first Summit was held 18 months ago in Santa Clara. The state’s economy has rebounded impressively during that time. Governor Brown’s administration has been successfully pressing the case for more international investment in California.
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz) understands and emphasizes the importance of our regional economies.
“California continues to be a national leader in job creation and economic recovery. As GO-Biz continues our efforts to foster a better statewide business climate, we appreciate the support and partnership of the regional economic development groups of the California Economic Summit and look forward to achieving our common goal of strengthening our state’s economy, ” said Kish Rajan, Go Biz Director.
And as evident because of the forums this year, regional leaders are energized and working in their own communities as well as with each other across California to create more and better jobs.
Highlighting the diverse regions of California, the state’s economic recovery has been uneven. And California’s recovery won’t be complete until all regions are healthy. Two million Californians are still out of work. And millions more will be entering the workforce in the years to come, while many baby boomers will be leaving it.
Paul Granillo, who is the co-chair of the Summit Steering Committee, is the head of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership. He has been an eloquent spokesperson about that “uneveness” that we mentioned. Granillo penned a compelling op-ed this week in the Riverside Press Enterprise about the Summit and the concern about how certain regions of the state are lagging others. Granillo points out that a California economic recovery will be complete once all regions are prospering.
We will be updating events from the Summit on Thursday and Friday, and provide updates regarding progress being on the priority initiatives in the coming weeks.