View from the Summit: Helping regions stay resilient and rise together

610 200 Nadine Ono

Assemblymember Autumn Burke speaking with Ashley Swearenin, CEO of the Central Valley Community Foundation at Day Two of the 2018 California Economic Summit in Santa Rosa, California (Photo Credits: Will Bucquoy/CAFwd)

California Governor-elect Gavin Newsom gave his stamp of approval on the work of the 2018 California Economic Summit as it wrapped up today in Santa Rosa.

“Please know that my focus on this transition is the best way that I can contribute today to the comprehensive agenda that you have developed over these years – and that you have bolstered during this Summit,” wrote Newsom in a statement to Summit attendees.

Newsom also pledged his support toward the goals of the Summit including the theme of resiliency. “I am eager to see the Summit’s ideas for how we can create more resilient communities, and for how we can revive rural resource-based economies in ways that also reduce catastrophic fires and support our climate change goals.”

Over the two-day Summit, more than 500 public, private and civic sector leaders gathered to discuss solutions vital to the state including:

Elevate the CA Dream

In order to live the California Dream, the state must reduce income inequality, promote economic security and restore upward mobility. To support this effort, the Summit will institute the CA Dream Index to track upward mobility in the state, the Partnership for Ending Poverty and a regions-up prosperity strategy.

Ensure Resiliency in Every Community

To address the disruptions from natural disasters due to climate change and social and economic dislocations, the Summit realized that California must build more sustainable, more resilient communities. CA Fwd assisted the City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County in creating the “Renewable Enterprise District,” a proposal to seek state support for investment in affordable housing, related infrastructure with long-term local match and regulatory streamlining.

The One Million Challenges

  • One Million More Homes

Housing supplies continue to fall far below demand continuing a crisis exacerbated by the past and current wildfires and natural disasters. CA Fwd assisted the City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County in developing a legislative proposal for accelerating housing production for middle and low-income residents in the region. Using the proposal as a model, the Summit will draft a 3.5 million homes framework to ensure that housing is available to Californians of all income levels.

  • One Million More Skilled Workers

A strong economy and upward mobility rely on a strong workforce. To continue to build a skilled workforce, the Summit will work with regional partners to help tailor programs to train low-skilled, low-income Californians so they can attain upward mobility and support the state’s businesses.

  • One Million More Jobs

Millions of Californians are working minimum wage jobs as housing and other costs continue to rise. The Summit recognizes the state’s economy is only as strong as its regions and any statewide strategy needs to be built from the regions up.

  • One Million More Acre-Feet of Water

The Summit has worked with regional partners as well as the University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources Division to accelerate water sustainability and resilience. Water infrastructure is also included in the Elevate Rural CA initiative.

Elevate Rural CA

Rural California is vital to the economic success of the entire state, even as poverty and unemployment rates in these areas are among the highest in the state. To address these issues, the Summit will focus on three main areas to elevate the state’s rural regions: Forest Resiliency, Water Infrastructure and Rural Broadband Access.

California State Controller Betty Yee shared her thoughts on California’s economy noting that while the state has grown into the fifth largest economy in the world, it also has very high poverty rates.

“There’s this sense of urgency now in that, how do we look at addressing the issues of equity, disparity and understanding that our strength comes from the attributes from each of our regions,” said Yee. “We’ve been able to perform well and we’re in a very strong cash position right now, but we know a downturn is approaching in 2020 and just even a slight downturn is going to be billions of dollars of revenue.”

The California Economic Summit also recognized the work of two leaders vital to the Summit’s success. The 2018 California Steward Leader Award was presented to Glenda Humiston, vice president of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. The Regional Steward of the year was presented to Paul Granillo, president and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership.

“Please do not forget the people for which we do this work,” said Granillo to attendees.

The California Economic Summit’s Partnerships for Industry and Education (PIE) awards recognized four workforce training programs using public-private partnerships. The first-place entry was Green Energy Training Services Core Apprenticeship Readiness Programs (GETS) in Alameda and Contra Costa counties of the San Francisco Bay Area. Other awardees included the North Bay Construction Corps Program, a partnership between Monterey Peninsula College and Montage Health and the Job Train Health Career Pathways Partnership between Stanford Health Care and Job Train, Inc.

The Summit also addressed future initiatives including the early childhood development in partnership with First 5 California, “This is Us” initiative (an inclusion initiative regarding immigrant populations), creating opportunity zones, a strategy for regions-up prosperity and growing and retaining the healthcare workforce.

The work of the 2018 Summit will culminate with the release of the 2019 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity, which will guide the Summit as it continues the work throughout the year.

As this year's Summit wrapped up, it was announced that 2019 California Economic Summit would convene next November in Fresno.

“We have an enormous lift ahead of us,” commented Newsom. “I am honored to be asked to lead California, and I look forward to working with all of you to make California more sustainable and prosperous for all.”

Read our summary of Day One:
View from the Summit: Resiliency in the wake of fires and more brings focus, urgency to work


Nadine Ono

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