The California Economic Summit is now five years old and has taken root in the state as a unique, powerful regions-based force that is addressing the need to strengthen California’s middle class.
Literally thousands of private sector, public sector and civic leaders have worked on Summit objectives since its inception.
“Of the considerable progress we’ve made in addressing workforce, housing and infrastructure issues, it’s the growth of the network that may be our greatest accomplishment,” said Jim Mayer, president and CEO of California Forward. “It is growing every year and we plan to aggressively expand it in 2017.”
The Summit held its annual gathering in Sacramento this December. The event attracted over 500 participants to discuss how to create more middle-class jobs, better train our workforce, make it easier build more housing units and save more water.
These are big, complex issues in the state, that come with the inevitable competing interests. The Summit has become a place—actually The Place—where regional leaders can work on them, find common ground and really make change.
The creation of Enhanced Infrastructure Financing Districts (EIFDs) to be a local and regional solution to fund infrastructure was an idea made possible by discussions at the Summit.
“People see EIFDs as a way to spur local and regional investment,” said Fred Silva, senior fiscal analyst for California Forward, which is beginning to provide EIFD technical assistance where requested. “We encourage local leaders to develop a business plan for economic development of their communities and determine the infrastructure investments that will be needed to sustain a healthy local economy over time.”
The Summit also was a driving force behind the investment by the state of an additional $200 million in Career Technical Education funding (CTE).
In addition to implementing this new funding, employers are beginning to play a larger role in the creation of curriculum at regional community colleges that can help fill the skills gap that plagues many regional economies in California.
The Summit’s work will continue to address these key issues of implementation.
We invite you to watch the video wrap-up and see what state and regional leaders are saying about the value of the Summit.