California has a history of investing in regional strategies to support the educational attainment and economic growth of its many regional economies. These include the Strong Workforce Program, California Career Pathways Trust, to name a few, and now new programs like the Community Economic Resilience Fund. In this brief, we share recommendations to state leaders for what is needed to ensure these significant regional investments can build a foundation for shared prosperity as well as close economic and educational equity gaps.
Cluster-based economic development can be an effective strategy for regions to generate economic growth that benefits all residents, provided that equity and inclusion are at the center of the approach. JFF explores an emerging case study in the Inland Empire region of California, examining what it takes in practice to implement a cluster strategy towards the triple bottom line goals of job quality, environmental sustainability, and inclusive growth.
The Fresno K-16 Collaborative is a signature initiative of the California Governor’s Council on Post-Secondary Education that aims to increase college degree attainment in high-demand industries, align educational preparation with the demands of regional employers, and close race and equity gaps by developing an integrated system and seamless set of educational experiences across the region’s K-12 districts, community colleges, and four-year universities.
This report describes the process of participatory design and asset mapping facilitated by JFF from July 2021 to March 2022; lays out a set of recommendations for deepening, scaling, and sustaining the progress that has been made by the engineering pathway during the pilot period; and offers lessons for other stakeholders interested in launching K-16 regional collaboratives.