(Photo Credit: Linda Tanner/Flickr)
One thing is becoming clear as the California Economic Summit continues to make progress in its fourth year: Our momentum is building.
After achieving all of our goals for 2014, the expanding network of more than 700 regional leaders working together through the Summit has begun to look even further ahead—developing a 5-year plan for advancing a sustainable growth agenda for the state’s diverse regional economies.
Today, we are proud to announce the release of our Roadmap to Shared Prosperity, a broad set of proposals aimed at helping every region in California concentrate its efforts to accelerate middle-class job growth—and address issues from growing income inequality to the environmental and economic challenges of climate change.
In a state that is home to more billionaires and a higher percentage of people living in poverty than anywhere else in the country, where our economy depends on mountain snowpacks likely to dwindle in a warmer future, and where we are projected to face a shortfall of as many as two million skilled workers in the decade ahead, there is no doubt about the urgency of this effort.
It is heartening to see these issues becoming priorities everywhere from the governor’s new budget to the agendas of cities large and small. We believe the Roadmap represents a unique opportunity to weave these state and regional efforts together into a long-term strategy for sustainable growth.
We also believe there is no better way to organize these efforts than through the Economic Summit, a partnership between California Forward and the California Stewardship Network, two organizations that are leading the way in applying new thinking to some of the state’s most intractable problems.
The right next steps toward sustainable growth
Californians have thrived for decades by finding new paths to prosperity, and we know we will do so again. But to take on the challenges we face today, we will have to set aside old paradigms and work together in ways we’re only beginning to imagine.
Our future prosperity will not only require more—and more effective—investments in education and infrastructure. It won’t just demand a blend of entrepreneurial thinking, new technology, and innovative public decision-making.
California has led on all of these issues in the past. The challenge now is that tackling any one of our problems requires taking them all on simultaneously.
This is the aim of the Economic Summit and our Roadmap to Shared Prosperity, a five-year plan grounded in public and private sector commitments to the “triple bottom line”—simultaneous growth in the economy, improvement in environmental quality, and increased opportunity for all.
The Roadmap outlines a set of overarching priorities Summit leaders believe can increase and broaden prosperity for all Californians. It identifies the “right next steps” we believe are needed to move toward these goals in the next year—from aligning workforce training programs with industry needs to integrating the state’s myriad climate adaptation efforts. It also includes a detailed set of proposals for how the Summit’s seven action teams plan to get this done—and who we must partner with to get there.
We hope you’ll take a moment to read through the Roadmap. Whether you live in San Diego or the Redwood Coast, we think you’ll see your priorities reflected here—and we hope you’ll also find a way to become more active in the expanding Summit coalition throughout the year.We also hope you’ll join us at the next Economic Summit on November 12-13 in the Inland Empire, where we’ll assess our progress, sharpen our strategies, and continue building momentum toward ensuring every Californian has an opportunity to prosper.
Paul Granillo is the president and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and a member of the California Stewardship Network.
Eloy Oakley is the superintendent-president of Long Beach City College and a member of the California Forward Leadership Council. Together, they are co-chairs of the California Economic Summit Steering Committee.