Regional collaboration and action on expanding career pathways, fostering innovation, and enhancing the quality of place are the key goals in a draft united economic strategy for Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, now available for public comment.
The Resilience Roadmap will be the two-county region’s first-ever Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS), a federally recognized 5-year plan that is a prerequisite for many kinds of federal, philanthropic, and other funding for entities throughout the region.
Developed with guidance from a 30-person cross-sector Strategy Committee and input from more than 400 stakeholders, the Roadmap expands on the work of REACH 2030, designated as the region’s interim CEDS. It identifies dozens of actions for building a diversified, inclusive, and resilient Central Coast economy and pinpoints three large-scale regional initiatives with the greatest potential to create transformational change:
- Launching new career pathways into aerospace, precision manufacturing, technology, agriculture and ag-tech, clean tech, and renewable energy
- Revving the region’s entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem
- Establishing a regional coalition to increase the amount of attainable and affordable housing.
“The Resilience Roadmap embodies the spirit of collaboration and innovation that defines our Central Coast community. This Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is not just a document; it’s a commitment to building a diversified, inclusive, and resilient economy that will benefit everyone who calls this region home,” said County Executive Officer Mona Miyasato. “This document was developed with input from more than 400 stakeholders to ensure this plan is comprehensive. Now, we need the public’s input so that the CEDS is also developed with broad-based community participation.”
“The Resilience Roadmap lights the path for building our regional economy from within and raising the quality of life for everyone who lives and works here,” REACH President/CEO Melissa James said. “It advances the REACH 2030 vision of a Central Coast where current and future generations have the opportunity to thrive by laying out specific actions that a range of players in government, higher education, nonprofits, and industry can take both collectively and in their own spheres.”
REACH is facilitating the development of the CEDS as administrator of a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Nuclear Closure Communities program, with required community matching funds provided by the Counties of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo and Bank of America.
Developed under EDA guidelines with consulting from Austin-based TIP Strategies, the Roadmap integrates analysis of the regional socio-economic landscape — with comparative demographic, industry, and workforce data that can be explored online in an Economic Explorer and Workforce Analysis — with significant community engagement.
Led by the Strategy Committee — composed of government, education, nonprofit, and business representatives from across the region — input was collected from a broad spectrum of participants across the two counties through roundtables, industry councils, focus groups, and interviews and distilled into six dozen strategies and actions under the three goal areas: people, innovation and place.
Public comment is encouraged on the document and is open through October 12. Comments can be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to REACH/CEDS comments, PO Box 13201, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406. A printed copy of the draft CEDS is available upon request by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Please refer to the page number or section heading when submitting a comment. Copies of the document will also be available in Spanish at 2023-09-11- Central-Coast-CEDS_PUBLIC-COMMENT-DRAFT_ESPANOL52.pdf (reachcentralcoast.org)
All comments will be reviewed and considered by the Strategy Committee, which will then revise the draft strategy before submitting it to the EDA for approval, which is expected in early 2024. The Strategy Committee will also oversee the implementation of the Roadmap, planning for which is getting underway.
REACH is a regional economic action coalition created to ensure the Central Coast of California is a place where current and future generations have the opportunity to thrive. With a mission to increase economic prosperity through big thinking, bold action and regional collaboration and the goal of creating 15,000 good-paying jobs by 2030, REACH serves the Central Coast region spanning San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. reachcentralcoast.org