The California Economic Summit is leading a dynamic conversation on how to elevate the 18 million Californians who live in or near poverty.
“We often think about it as a moral imperative, but in reality, it’s an economic imperative,” said Ryan Smith, executive director of Education Trust-West.
For Eloy Ortiz Oakley, the respected chancellor of California’s 114 Community Colleges, it is a matter of addressing how to bridge the gap in what he calls the two Californias, the one that is prospering and the other that is struggling.
“Not only must we help the student coming out of high school but we need to also provide retraining for the working adults who need new skills for today’s economy,” Oakley said.
Assembly Member Autumn Burke (D-Inglewood) noted that 70 percent of California high school students never find the inside of a college classroom. For her, it is a matter of inspiring people earlier, “as early as five years old,” that they can achieve.
Burke touted a recent immersion program that attracted forty elementary school children in Lawndale to learn how to code.
“Career education works. We need to put our money where our mouth is,” Burke said. “If we care about lifting people out of poverty, we need to invest.”
For Caroline Whistler, CEO and co-founder of Third Sector Capital Partners, “government programs need to be more innovative and less prescriptive about how the money is spent” in order to get the outcomes that policy makers desire.
The California Economic Summit is continuing to promote the Elevate CA conversation and surface ideas for policy proposals that can improve the lives of ALL Californians.