Expanding Economic Opportunity to All Regions of the State

The Bay Area Council this week brought its insights and expertise to the 2019 California Economic Summit in Fresno, where Gov. Newsom and top leaders gathered to discuss strategies for expanding economic opportunity and increasing prosperity across all regions of the state. The two-day summit focused on California’s challenges in housing, cradle-to-career education, workforce development, water quality and sustainability, forest resiliency, broadband access and more. The summit was convened by California Forward, which is led by former Council executive Micah Weinberg.

On Thursday, Council CEO Jim Wunderman led a discussion on homelessness, sharing findings from a seminal report the Bay Area Council Economic Institute released in April—Bay Area Homelessness: A Regional View of a Regional Crisis—that highlighted the importance of stronger regional coordination. The report was the first of its kind to look at the problem from a regional perspective, identify the immense gaps and inefficiencies in the mishmash of disconnected local programs and services, and present workable strategies for increasing coordination.

Workforce development also figured prominently at the summit. Bay Area Council Senior Policy Associate Henry Bartholomay joined members of the Regional Talent Development Network for a discussion focused on the role of partnerships in scaling solutions to a regional level. Through support from the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, the Regional Talent Development Network, which includes the Bay Area Council, Centers of Excellence, Inland Empire Economic Partnership, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Orange County Business Council, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, and Valley Vision, has developed a model for workforce intermediaries across the state. The Regional Talent Development model provides a framework for developing a more unified approach to data collection, employer engagement, and coordination among employers and educators.

Bartholomay highlighted the importance of regional collaboration: “Through the Regional Talent Development model we have been able to strengthen our partnerships, and scale impact across the Bay Area region. It has allowed us to coordinate our efforts and reach more employers and community colleges in the process.” To engage in the Council’s workforce initiative, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

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