Next Economy, the Sacramento region’s playbook for carrying out joint economic development activities to help shift our economic trajectory, is among Valley Vision’s more comprehensive region-wide projects in recent years. The primary product of the business-led, all volunteer endeavor is a detailed five-year Implementation Action Plan that is being activated by dozens of business groups and endorsed by more than 30 cities, counties and special districts. But it is the coalescing of a broad and diverse set of leaders that has viscerally changed the region’s disposition and dialogue to one that today is more intently and bilaterally focused on jobs, global trade, human talent, and innovation.
What is the goal?
The goal of Next Economy is to transform a $97 billion annual economy that suffered widespread hardship beginning in 2008 and a lagging recovery into one that is diversified, robust and sustainable.
Why is this important?
This work is important because the region’s business, education, and government leaders now have a common platform to advance a shared vision and set of goals for economic growth that will have far greater impact through collective action than if we work in our silos.
The “Great Recession” caused especially heavy job losses, business bankruptcies and home foreclosures in the Sacramento area. The recession was made worse here because the two hardest hit sectors nationwide were construction and government – our region’s largest sectors in 2008 when the recession began. Over 140,000 jobs were lost and unemployment was over 12%. Rather than wait, business leaders decided to take matters into their own hands, launching Next Economy, a unified strategy to jump start job creation and prepare our people and institutions for the future.
Now the entire region’s economic development agenda is geared toward 5 distinct goals: (1) foster a strong innovation environment; (2) amplify the region’s global market transactions; (3) diversify our economy through grown and support of core business clusters; (4) grow and maintain a world-class talent base; and (5) improve the regional business climate for economic growth.
How is this improving people’s lives?
Recognizing that competition in today’s global economy increasingly occurs at the regional level, this initiative focuses on propelling the Sacramento region’s competitive strengths, and maps out a set of interlocking strategies to accelerate job and wealth creation, boost new investment and improve the region’s quality of life.
What is Valley Vision doing about it?
Valley Vision was one of four original partners (with the Sacramento Metro Chamber, Sacramento Area Technology Alliance and Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization) to agree to combined resources and work together on improving the region’s economic position. Valley Vision served as the initiative’s manager beginning 2011 and spent the next three years organizing broad-based research, community engagement, implementation partners and earning resolutions of support from the region’s cities, counties and special districts. Valley Vision also helped structure a governance and accountability model for long-lasting independent implementation of the Next Economy Action Plan by multiple parties.
Valley Vision exited as project manager in summer 2014, but continues to execute Next Economy strategies which includes leading business cluster-related work, conducting benchmark research, coordinating workforce and training initiatives, working across 11 linked areas to advance the agriculture economy and improve food access, and coordinating federal grant applications that can help achieve the Next Economy vision.
What is our desired impact?
To transform the economic landscape into a diverse and robust economy that leverages the Capital Region’s distinct advantages and improves conditions for the area’s 70,000 businesses and 2.3 million residents.
Research and planning started in late 2011 and continued through 2012. Next Economy published a five-year Capital Region Prosperity Plan in March 2013. Implementation of action steps began in 2013 and will continue through 2017.
Our partners …
30 cities, counties and special districts, and more than a dozen regional nonprofits, chambers, universities, utilities, labor and workforce development groups support and actively carry out aspects of the Next Economy playbook today.
Some results …
- The region won $21 million in state grants to advance career-based education thanks to the roadmap Next Economy provided.
- A new 8-county Small Business Development Center network was organized and launched by the Sacramento Metro Chamber and Sacramento State.
- A strategic “Metropolitan Export Plan” backed by the expertise of the Brookings Institute, a national think- tank, is a key focus of the Northern California World Trade Center and expected to jump start the region’s underperforming export and import economy.
- New trade mission offices in China are up and working and making new business connections, thanks to the efforts of the Sacramento Asian Chamber of Commerce.
- A roadmap for workforce and training needs is being defined for workforce investment boards and community colleges thanks to comprehensive employment and workforce gap analyses conducted within Next Economy’s six core business clusters that assessed trends, challenges, and anticipated workforce needs.
- A “MedZone” investment strategy that brings together research, innovation, and entrepreneurism encompassing the UC Davis Medical Center and surrounding hospital facilities continues to progress and take shape.
- The Central Valley was identified as one of 12 regions nationwide for the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership (IMCP), a designation that offers California’s Central Valley preferential consideration for federal funding to spur important manufacturing job growth.
- The EMERGE Summit, a highly successful young professionals conference organized by our region’s emerging leaders, has attracted upwards of 600 attendees since it debuted in 2014 and sets the stage for positioning Sacramento as the state’s hotbed for young professional leadership.
- New employers are being drawn to our cutting-edge food and ag industry located here and supported by world- leading Ag research programs made possible by UC Davis teachers and scientists.
- 20 cities, 5 counties and more than a dozen special districts, colleges / universities, WIBs, and local chambers have adopted Next Economy’s five goals and unifying vision as their frame for economic development efforts.