Resilient East Bay Offers Support to Manufacturing Sector

Over the next two years, a project called Resilient East Bay will bring new support to small and midsize businesses in the Tri-Valley. In late October, the US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration approved a $840,400 grant to the County of Alameda to support the recovery of the region’s pandemic-damaged economy. The grant, which has been doubled by matching funds from local partners, will underwrite support for eligible companies via Resilient East Bay and be administered by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance (East Bay EDA).

“Small businesses are critical drivers of our economy, and California is doing more than ever to help them thrive with the largest small business relief program in the nation,” according to Governor Gavin Newsom. “This CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Alameda County will provide invaluable help to pandemic-impacted small businesses in key industries, bolstering our nation-leading recovery.”

Manufacturing Matters

Resilient East Bay will use the funds, which total nearly $1.7 million, to aid small and medium-size businesses, as well as startups, in the manufacturing, transportation, distribution, logistics, and biotechnology industries in Alameda and Contra Costa counties. Resilient East Bay will give companies access to a broad array of technical support resources and services, according to Alyson Greenlee, Senior Economic Development Analyst for the East Bay EDA and lead contact for the project.

The goals of Resilient East Bay include publishing a business-level analysis of the East Bay’s existing manufacturing and supply chain capabilities, and developing and implementing a strategy to increase business resilience by offering a range of assistance, including innovative land-use strategies. The project is also intended to expand the diversity of manufacturing subsectors, and improve opportunities for middle-wage employment, especially for people impacted by losses in other sectors due to Covid-19.

“This project will be a catalyst for the development of manufacturing and regional economic development,” says Greenlee. “The business-level analysis will look at exactly what our manufacturing and supply chain capabilities are in the East Bay. The analysis is intended to inform the rest of the strategy. This project is going to engage in a lot of different partnerships that are going to deliver business assistance. That includes innovative land-use strategies because we know how important sites and related infrastructure are to manufacturers.”

Greenlee notes that the development of a qualified workforce development pipeline is also an important part of Resilient East Bay. “There are going to be over two million manufacturing jobs going unfilled nationally by the year 2030. Being able to recruit a qualified workforce now and in the future is important to the manufacturing sector and the economy of the East Bay.”

A Regional Effort

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused major disruptions to the East Bay’s economy, yet manufacturing has emerged as a strong and resilient sector that will be key to the region’s recovery,” notes the East Bay EDA’s Resilient East Bay project description. “Since 2013, manufacturing employment in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties has increased 27%, from 78,104 jobs in 2013 to just under 100,000 at 99,472 jobs in 2021. These manufacturing jobs are critical to the regional economy as each one produces an additional five to seven jobs in the regional economy.”

In 2019, manufacturing, transportation, distribution and logistics, biomedical and life sciences, and wholesale trade made up 25% of the East Bay economy for a gross regional product value of $202 billion, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In short, the manufacturing sector has been and will continue to be important to the regional economy, according to Greenlee and the East Bay EDA. While employment in East Bay manufacturing has nearly reached pre-pandemic levels, more support is vital. 

“There's so much need, particularly among small and midsize manufacturers in the East Bay,” says Greenlee. “They're dealing with an unprecedented number of challenges in the current climate right now, whether it's supply chain, whether it's access to capital, whether it's access to new technologies to be able to keep up with the current demand. And so this project is intended to really reach those small and midsize manufacturers, to keep them here, keep them thriving, and connect them to the land and the assets that they need to grow.”

The financial scope of the project has been made possible by East Bay EDA’s regional partners. The Alameda County Workforce Development Board, the UC Berkeley Food Institute, the Biomedical Manufacturing Network, the City of Berkeley, the City of Fremont, the Harbor Trucking Association, and manufacturing consulting firm Manex made it possible to double Resilient East Bay’s budget by contributing matching funds. “We're incredibly fortunate to be working with these partners and look forward to delivering this project with them over the next two years,” notes Greenlee.

The partners who have invested funds in the project are key to Resilient East Bay meeting its goals, and so are the upcoming partnerships expected to be developed over the course of the project, according to Greenlee. “There's going to be a lot of partnerships to come out of this work. We're only going to be able to implement events and collaborations over the next two years with a lot of partners. We encourage small and midsize manufacturers and the partners that work with them to sign up for our updates.”

Resilient East Bay is one of the first projects to emerge from the East Bay Forward initiative and report, published by the East Bay EDA in September. The report was built on a great deal of research and community input to analyze how the pandemic impacted the East Bay, its meaning for the economy, and how regional leaders should focus on a set of priorities to address the most pressing challenges. The goal of the initiative is to capitalize on the many existing and potential strengths the region offers, including its strong manufacturing base.

“We know global trends are colliding to create a huge opportunity for manufacturing in our region,” notes Greenlee. “The Resilient East Bay project is going to be a catalyst for that.”

For more information about Resilient East Bay, please visit

To sign up for Resilient East Bay updates, please visit

For more information about the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, please visit

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