California Legislature comes to the Inland Empire

150 150 Ed Coghlan

CA Fwd President and CEO Jim Mayer (left) speaking at JEDE Committee hearing in March, 2015.

This Thursday, the California Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy (JEDE) will hold a field hearing in Ontario, California, in advance of the 2015 California Economic Summit, which runs Thursday and Friday.

The hearing will discuss the state’s role in closing California’s opportunity gap. Assembly members will be briefed on strategies for supporting the entrepreneurial business environment, stabilizing communities, and developing career ladders that provide for wage growth and long-term household security.

“The state is facing an opportunity gap,” said Chairman Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. “If left unaddressed, it will only deepen, and undermine the progress we have made.”

While California has seen robust economic growth since the recession, the recovery has not been equitable across all regions and communities.

“It is important and relevant that the JEDE hearing has come to the Inland Empire where job creation and improving the lives of our families is a top priority,” said Paul Granillo, president and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, who also serves as co-chair of the California Economic Summit Steering Committee.

The two-day California Economic Summit annual meeting begins Thursday afternoon in Ontario where hundreds of California civic, business and public leaders will gather.

“Having our hearing in conjunction with the California Economic Summit, which is a citizen and regions driven effort to improve job creation in California, helps make the case that the state economic recovery will be complete when all the regions are thriving,” add Granillo.

The hearing will ask “Does California have the Right Mix of Economic and Workforce Policies and Programs?”

“In order to close the economic divide between the coastal and inland regions, the state must commit to rebuilding our aging infrastructure and continue to invest in our public education system so that every student has the skills necessary to pursue a career in California’s innovative economy,” said Assemblymember Cheryl Brown, who represents the Inland Empire and will attend Thursday’s session.

The hearing will highlight:

  • Victor Rubin, vice president at PolicyLink, discussing what it will take to achieve a prosperity agenda that takes steps to support entrepreneurship, a better alignment among education and workforce training systems and a modern infrastructure network that supports economic mobility and social cohesion.
  • Dr. Yasuyuki Motoyama, Director of Research and Policy at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation talking about what the “modern face” of entrepreneurship and discussing how it serves as an effective foundation for a more inclusive economy.
  • A panel that will explore how to require greater collaboration between public and private entities to transform California business development and job creation. Alma Salazar of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Helen Torres of HOPE and Melina Duarte, a STEM education consultant will discuss solutions for lowering barriers to workforce preparation, increasing individual and household financial stability, and supporting entrepreneurship which is a theme of the hearing.

“Taking a legislative hearing out of Sacramento and into the Inland Empire is another good example of taking government closer to the people,” said Jim Mayer, president and CEO of California Forward, which, along with the California Stewardship Network, created the California Economic Summit.

The Summit will feature several prominent statewide leaders in addition to the hundreds of civic, business and public officials it has attracted. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, State Treasurer John Chiang, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and State Controller Betty Yee will participate in the Summit.

Summit participants will sharpen a set of strategies aimed at producing, over the next decade:

  • One million more skilled workers: With wages stagnating and income inequality rising—and millions of Californians struggling to make ends meet in low-wage jobs—industries from health care to manufacturing are still struggling to find skilled workers. The Summit has set a goal of improving the workforce pipeline—and closing this looming “skills gap”—by aligning the state’s expansive training and education programs with the needs of employers.
  • One million more homes: With housing supply falling far below demand—and with more and more Californians unable to afford to rent or buy homes—the Summit will lead a comprehensive effort aimed at reducing the costs and increasing the supply of housing.
  • One million more acre-feet of water each year: With Californians using substantially more water each year than the state’s infrastructure can reliably supply, the Summit will support a renewed push for watershed management solutions that conserve, capture, and re-use enough water to achieve a sustainable water balance.          

The JEDE hearing begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Ontario Doubletree Hotel. It is expected to last until noon. The Summit annual meeting will convene at 1:30 at the Doubletree and run through Friday afternoon.             

More information about the hearing is available at including a full list of witnesses, a background paper, and fact sheets or contact Toni Symonds at 916.319.2090 or 

For information about the Summit, visit

RELATED: Read more stories from our coverage of the 2015 California Economic Summit.


Ed Coghlan

All stories by: Ed Coghlan