LAEDC’s January 2021 Board of Governors meeting featured newly-elected Supervisor Holly Mitchell, and attendees were able to engage with her, congratulate her on her new role overseeing LA County’s District 2 and hear her priorities.
LA County Supervisor Holly Mitchell shared her enthusiasm about the presidential inauguration of that morning, but also reminded us that the COVID crisis is still a serious threat and that small businesses and residents are struggling. She looked ahead to recovery planning and voiced the hope that we come out stronger on the other side of the pandemic. She talked about her priorities: partnering with companies for apprenticeships, a focus on equity and bringing better opportunity to underrepresented and disadvantaged communities, encouraging job creation in LA’s high growth sectors like cleantech/biotech/advanced manufacturing, closing the digital divide, assisting businesses with solvency, and all this with equity in mind.
Supervisor Mitchell pointed out the disparities that many businesses and residents in LA County have experienced this past year, and she encouraged collaborative programs and initiatives via partnerships that can innovate and help the business sector and residents. She is looking forward to partnering with LAEDC and other organizations to work on these challenges. She stressed the need for well-paying jobs with benefits and career opportunities, many of which will require training and reskilling, which will be an important factor where business and industry must be engaged partners. She recounted how LA County created a recovery fund from Cares Act funding and expressed hope that the fund can continue to provide assistance to struggling businesses. She also said she looks forward to LAEDC’s upcoming Economic Forecast, which will take place on February 17th.
LAEDC CEO Bill Allen echoed the need to do our work in a way that advances equity and inclusion, to reach a more equitable economy than existed before the pandemic, which ultimately leads to a stronger, more vibrant region. Bill also acknowledged the staff of the County, including the WDACS, DCBA, CDA, CEO’s office and other teams, who have done heroic work in attending to the critical needs of small businesses, arts organizations, childcare providers and other sectors of the economy, effort and innovation which has been so impactful, including the grant funds which LAEDC also hopes will be extended.
LAEDC Chair Steve Nissen and Bill Allen took the opportunity to discuss the economic crisis wrought by COVID-19, especially the plight of small businesses, which has been a major focus for LAEDC’s business assistance team which has scaled up to better meet the needs of struggling businesses.
Bill Allen updated members on the recent work of LAEDC to drive positive outcomes:
- Provided microenterprises and nonprofits with relief capital, technical assistance, access to PPE supplies, and advice on how to pivot their business models to stay viable.
- Delivered research on the impacts of the crisis on industries, businesses and workforce.
- Delivered SCAG’s economic outlook for the LA County region for their annual Economic Summit, and is working with SCAG on equity strategies for recovery.
- LAEDC’s Center for a Competitive Workforce hosted numerous Regional Program Advisories to help faculty adapt college programs, and student-facing webinars about pathways into well-paying, in-demand occupations. This effort helps the region adapt to the changing skills needed in our key industries and occupations.
- LAEDC co-created and launched a public safety community awareness campaign in partnership with County of Los Angeles, called Safer at Work LA, to inspire safer practices by employers, their staff and patrons to help keep our communities healthier and increase the prospects for re-opening all of our economy safely. Materials are available for all to use, and County of LA was generous with funding to help us develop and advertise the campaign and it reached a multilingual audience especially focused on communities where the virus was most active.
- Several LAEDC events were discussed: the policy discussion about electric vehicles (EVs) in LA County, the latest LAEDC briefing on the Economic Impacts of COVID on LA County’s Economy, and the February 11th e4 meeting on emerging apps in the EV market, as well as the upcoming LAEDC Economic Forecast on February 17th on the topic of “A Tale of Two Recoveries,” which will explore how to foster a truly inclusive recovery and help lift those hundreds of thousands of LA County residents who are struggling.
LAEDC was also honored to have guest speaker Justin Erbacci, CEO of LA World Airports. Justin spoke of the current $14.5 billion capital improvement project at LAX, which includes the automated people mover project which will connect with Metro rail. But his focus was on the future; LAWA is already looking ahead to the upcoming Airfield and Terminal Modernization Project, to handle the growth in passenger traffic projected by SCAG. The draft EIR for this project was released in October 2020. Justin spoke of the need to provide a better customer experience for the increased passenger traffic expected as we look ahead to the Olympics and beyond, and to help the economy of LA County. This project will offer a tremendous amount of opportunity for subcontractors in LA County and LAWA is seeking greater participation from local, small businesses and minority and disadvantaged businesses as it works on runway improvements, a station for the people mover, elevated roadways, a new Terminal 9 for international traffic, parking facilities and other elements. It is anticipated that this project will provide over $6 billion for construction, creating a very significant number of jobs. LAWA is hoping for people to support this project and wants to listen to concerns from the community as it plans this work and the continuing operations beyond the project. For more information visit www.LAWA.org/ATMP
LAEDC thanked members for their longstanding commitment, which funds our nonprofit, public benefit mission to advance opportunity and prosperity for all, and advance growth, equity, sustainability and resilience in our economy.
- ABL Inc (5 years)
- BYD Motors (5 years)
- Grifols Biologicals (5 years)
- Zhuhai Commercial Service (5 years)
- Los Angeles Latino Chamber of Commerce (10 years)
- Ernst & Young (10 years)
- City of Duarte (10 years)
- Harbor College (10 years)
- NAWBO-LA (10 years)
- LA County Board of Supervisors (15 years)
- City National Bank (15 years)
- Bolton & Company (15 years)
- LA County Dept of Regional Planning (20 years)
- Community Development Commission of LA County (20 years)
- Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) (25 years)
Many thanks to Supervisor Holly Mitchell for making time on such a historic day to connect with LAEDC members!