The adoption of the Employment Zone strategy by the California Workforce Investment Board on November 12, 2013 sets into motion an opportunity to encourage and support regional partnerships to engage in new collective actions that can "move the needle" on workforce challenges facing their regions.
"Slingshot" seeks to seed collaborative efforts by workforce, economic development, and education stakeholders within a region to identify and then work to solve employment challenges that slow California's economic engine -- with regionally-selected solutions to regionally-defined problems.
This guiding premise contains four dimensions:
- We can make the greatest impact on major workforce issues at the regional level. California is a collection of distinct regional economies; aligning our work at that level will be more effective than either city/county/district level efforts or statewide strategies.
- We need to tackle big issues. California's regions face no shortage of vexing workforce challenges. Slingshot offers an opportunity to take on a tough challenge that if solved, would meaningfully move the needle on employment.
- We need to measure what we undertake. All strategies need to be grounded in effective use of data and metrics.
- We must create the space to take risks. In an era of perpetual economic volatility, traditional programs don't solve tough workforce challenges. Slingshot encourages regional partnerships to prototype new ideas, based on strong research and development, without fear of "failure" if the effort falls short of expectations. For every impactful practice that emerges, there will be others that are tried and then dropped for lack of sufficient impact.
Building out from conversations that have already begun, CWIB, GO-Biz and the California Community College Chancellor's Office will work with regional partners in the Central Valley and Inland Empire to move quickly into the research, design and development phase of the work, allowing us to learn from an initial prototyping of this concept while we finalize the statewide approach. CRY-ROP has been invited to the planning table on this initiative.