Video: Bay Area forum highlights problems, progress

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

Solid economic news has been hard to come by across the state and nation. Fortunately for the Bay Area, growth is strong.

Technology is back and the region is looking bright, according to a recent report released by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

Despite the positive gains, people who attended a recent economic forum in downtown San Francisco are still concerned and want to help figure out what can be done to get the region booming again.

“We had some of the most knowledgeable people from business organizations from various industries, also from the environment community, from labor, a good representative mix of the people you would want to have in a room for this kind of conversation,” said Sean Randolph, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.

While useful discussions brought about possible solutions, most attendees agreed there are still major barriers standing in the way of progress, including an increasingly unskilled workforce.

Roseanne Foust, President and CEO of the San Mateo Economic Development Association lamented that  fact, saying “the jobs and the folks are not lining up.”

In addition to education, environmental reforms are another big concern. Business representatives and environmentalists at the meeting discussed how to streamline the CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) process without degrading the area’s environmental quality.

Doug Henton, Chairman and CEO of Collaborative Economics and Summit Management team member, is confident the regions will share ideas to move California forward without going through Sacramento.

“The solutions have to come from the regions,” he said. “So we have got to solve things at home, build support and if we can build a movement, then we can go to Sacramento and say here are the things we need.”

The Bay Area forum was the fifth regional economic event leading up to the first-ever statewide summit convening on May 11 in Santa Clara. Nine more forums are scheduled.


Cheryl Getuiza

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