In April 2020, in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, California Governor Gavin Newsom asked a group of more than 100 notable Californians to participate in a Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. The final report, Recovery for All, was issued in November 2020. The report outlines work done by the Task Force throughout the year and recommends priorities for fighting Covid-19 and the resulting economic crisis. The report also outlines how these priorities are already in action or are being implemented within the state through an array of proposed initiatives, collaborations, and investments for consideration going forward.
NOTE from Hacienda: While most of our feature reporting is devoted to more local and regional stories with direct ties to Hacienda, we wanted to offer this update from the state. We hope our local businesses will find this of interest and will likewise find ways to connect with these efforts as means of assisting with the recovery from the pandemic in the coming year.
According to the Task Force, nine priorities will best lead the State of California to a just and sustainable recovery. Those priorities comprise preserving California’s competitive edge, expanding efforts to create quality jobs for all Californians, focusing on sectors that correlate to the state’s strengths, pursuing inclusive regional strategies that leverage each region’s assets and mix of industries, continuing efforts to support essential workers, expanding support and providing flexibility to small businesses, continuing efforts to close the digital divide, promoting telemedicine, and incorporating equity and sustainability at every stage of the recovery effort.
“Proposals generated by the Task Force are taking root in initiatives across government, making a difference in the short term and laying a foundation for longer-term strategies, which will also incorporate the work of the Future of Work Commission and the Governor’s budget process,” according to the report.
Members of the Task Force developed a variety of proposals and campaigns to help keep California residents safe while also supporting business recovery. Those efforts included Calling All Californians: #ShopSafeShopLocal, a campaign to encourage residents to support businesses in their neighborhoods and connect those businesses to state resources, including a network of small business centers for federal relief support and strategic advisory services.
The California Rebuilding Fund was another result of the Task Force. This is a new public-private partnership designed to increase access to capital and support to the smallest businesses in under-banked communities across the state. The Fund builds on the Governor’s allocation in April of $50 million of emergency funds for the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (IBank) to launch a microloan guarantee program for the smallest small businesses that had difficulty accessing federal disaster relief.
Although the California Rebuilding Fund served 625 small businesses and helped save or create over 3,000 jobs, Task Force members believed more funds were needed. In November, the Governor allocated an additional $25 million as an anchor commitment from IBank to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). With this new fund, according to the report, California’s CDFIs will be better able to help under-banked small businesses recover and reposition themselves to survive the realities of the Covid-19 marketplace.
In addition, Task Force members supported a new initiative focused on strengthening diverse and California-based suppliers through the Source Diverse, Source Local program. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) is expected to launch the new program early this year. The public-private collaboration will strengthen inclusive procurement and build resilient, California-based supply chains, according to the report. By elevating California firms for sourcing strategies, the initiative will support local economies by procuring within the state and stimulating job creation.
“The Governor’s proposals for economic development and worker protections, announced in July and August 2020, reflected ideas and proposals from Task Force members that later became law,” according to the report. “These include the Main Street hiring credit to help small businesses and those hit hardest by the pandemic; eviction protections and relief for homeowners and small landlords; and safeguards for essential workers including enhanced enforcement tools for the State to respond timely to stop the spread of the virus in workplaces employer and worker education on staying safe in the workplace. Members also proposed longer-term economic growth programs such as the acceleration of bond sales, which was included in the Governor’s economic development package. These sales will create over 5,000 jobs for essential projects like clean drinking water infrastructure up and down the state.”
The local business community, public officials, and residents understand that the Tri-Valley region is well positioned for recovery once the pandemic recedes. As the East Bay Economic Development Alliance notes, “the East Bay is one of the world’s most vibrant economies and fastest growing regions with direct access to global markets, talent, and capital. Our diverse communities, skilled workforce, and innovative business climate are some of the reasons why companies of all sizes and types invest and thrive in the East Bay.”
Unlike some areas, the Tri-Valley has been a pioneer in public-private partnerships. It has experience in regional cooperation, it is a noted hub for innovation, and it plays a key role in the Northern California megaregion thanks to its manufacturing and transportation. History shows that the Tri-Valley has survived hard times before and ultimately grown stronger.
The conclusion of the Task Force’s report applies to this region as well as the state: “Though the future is uncertain, one thing in California has always been true: we grow when we expand opportunity for all–in every region, zip code, and income level–and invest in our innovators. California will not rely on past successes to push forward, but instead, rise to the challenge of building a recovery for all.”
For more information about the California Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery, please visit www.gov.ca.gov/2020/11/20/carecoverytaskforcereport.
For more information about the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, please visit www.business.ca.gov.
For more information about the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, please visit www.eastbayeda.org.