Issues

Economic Development

The current economic downturn has brought high levels of unemployment (14.8% in Santa Cruz County and 17% in Monterey County compared to 12.7% statewide as of Jan. 2011) and shed new light on an old problem. There are not enough jobs in the Central Coast with living wages and career ladders that can mean long-term financial stability for our families. And because local government services rely heavily on sales taxes from consumption, a strong job base and thriving businesses is critical to the well-being of our communities as a whole.

COPA is working to create an economic development strategy for the Central Coast as a regional economy.  We are currently exploring the potential of a regional collaboration, focused on economic and workforce development, that will generate new ideas and new partnerships among employers in both the private and public sector, educational and training institutions, workforce development boards, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.  This collaboration would ideally launch new forms of partnership across the region to generate greater job opportunities for the people of the Central Coast.

Accomplishments

  • In 2014, COPA conducted house meetings with over 100 Salinas residents in order to shape the City of Salinas Economic Development Element, raising awareness about access to higher education, youth opportunity, the importance of parks and recreation, and the needs of the immigrant community. 30 COPA leaders testified in front of the City Council at the unveiling of this element.
  • In 2010, conducted over 14 research actions with 18 county elected and administrative officials to gain an understanding of the nature of workforce and economic development in the region and build collaborative relationships.
  • In December 2010, organized a Workforce Development training conducted by Sr. Pearl Ceasar, of the Southwest IAF Workforce Development Organizer.
  • In September 2010, COPA leaders met with Congressman Sam Farr who agreed to co-organize an Economic Development Summit in 2011, bringing together leaders to begin to formulate a regional approach to economic development for the Central Coast.

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