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Economic Development 

The Workforce Development Board (WDB) works in collaboration with many organizations to enhance economic vitality and employment opportunities for the region. The WDB develops, implements, and refines programs through strategic alliances and partnerships with a network of other workforce and economic development organizations. Through partnerships, we engage in understanding the evolving economy, identifying where job growth will occur and developing a well-trained and educated workforce.

The Workforce Development Board has a Business and Economic Development Committee that is focused on the following priorities:

  • Help attract, retain, and expand local businesses, and support local and regional employment-generating investments and activities.
  • Seek to inform public policy by coupling demand-driven research data and the voice of community partners to develop, implement, and support strategies designed to strengthen the business community.
  • Support and enhance the development of networks, policies, products, and initiatives that will enable the creation and retention of small business and microenterprises.
  • Combine business resources and incentives to better align the local pool of qualified human capital with businesses in need of employees to sustain and grow.
  • Develop strategic partnerships for career pathways that are aligned with the county’s economic development efforts.

The WDB is currently involved in a number of different economic development initiatives to help support the economic vitality and competitiveness of our region. These include an effort to help accelerate the innovation and research and development cycle for companies in the cleantech and water technology industry clusters.

The WDB has been able to effectively group occupations and skill requirements into clusters across businesses and industries to better understand business needs, validate labor market projections, and identify skills gaps in the workforce. By adopting a policy to prioritize and target investments, the following five industry sectors have been identified:
  •  Advanced Manufacturing
  • Health and Life Sciences
  • Energy
  • Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Digital Media
  • Construction (added in November 2014)

Slingshot is a grant initiative that seeds regional collaborations to increase regional economic prosperity and improve income mobility in regions throughout California. Recognizing that California is made of a set of distinct regional economies, Slingshot supports efforts that capitalize on unique opportunities to increase regional economic prosperity while improving positive income mobility for all residents. The grants, each totaling $1 million dollars, have been awarded to regional teams to support a coordinated strategy for growing the regional economy while improving income mobility.
These strategies include three components:

  • Industry engagement: Mobilizing an engaged group of industry partners to identify and champion priority opportunities and requirements to grow the driving sectors of the regional economy while raising incomes;
  • Integrated approach: Building a broad-based, action-oriented collaboration of workforce development, education, economic development, and other community organizations to play complementary roles in addressing priority opportunities and requirements to grow the regional economy and improve income mobility;
  • Shared outcomes: Grounding collaborative action in shared definitions of success and ensuring accountability for results.