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From Poverty to Middle Class Jobs

On May 10, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco held a roundtable in Sacramento with local business and finance experts to uncover ways that additional targeted investment could bring about good paying jobs here, especially for disadvantaged communities.

Assembly Banking Chairman Matt Dababneh led off the forum, describing the importance of efforts that help all Californians, particularly those in the Central Valley who are seeing persistent double-digit unemployment.  Dababneh explained that his priorities are additional investment in affordable housing and infrastructure, from roads to water.

“It’s all about capital AND capacity,” said Clarence Williams, head of California Capital Financial Development Corporation, and a former Valley Vision board member.  “We have to build up the capacity of our small businesses in places like Del Paso Heights and Oak Park for them to grow and be ready to take on loans for expansion.”

Randall Winston, the Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council said that the lawmakers and the Administration are working on improvements to California’s Cap-and-Trade laws to ensure “green investments” are targeted in communities of highest need and less complicated to access.

A big part of the conversation led many invitees, myself included, to focus on the importance of building a better, stronger pathway in Sacramento from underserved communities to apprenticeships and internships with employers offering better jobs and long-term career opportunities.  Working together with the Sacramento Asian, Hispanic, and Black Chambers, the Greater Sacramento Urban League, Valley Vision, and many others, building this pathway is within reach.  And thanks to the leadership of the Federal Home Loan Bank who jump-started the conversation, we may have access to the investments we need to make it real.

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Bill Mueller is Chief Executive of Valley Vision, a regional civic leadership organization headquartered in Sacramento.

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