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The Inclusive Economy Poll (May 2024)

The Inclusive Economy Poll provides a snapshot of experiences, perspectives, and viewpoints related to economic opportunity, access, well-being, and awareness in the eight-county Capital Region.

Each year Valley Vision fields 2-3 public opinion polls in partnership with Sacramento State’s Institute for Social Research to generate greater understanding of the most pressing issues facing our region. The Inclusive Economy Poll was fielded in 2023 and is Valley Vision’s first public opinion poll solely focused on the economic well-being of our eight-county region.

The Poll was created to support the efforts of We Prosper Together, our region’s initiative bridging together the eight counties of Colusa, El Dorado, Placer, Nevada, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba to build a stronger regional economy. Building on the California Jobs First program, we are working to uplift our communities, encourage investment in the region, and create living-wage jobs. Valley Vision is the backbone support to We Prosper Together’s Collaborative of 150+ organizations.

Interested in diving a bit deeper into the data? Check out the full question summary.

CA Jobs First Community Survey

Survey Purpose

The Capital Region Community Survey 2023 is part of the CA Jobs First (CERF) efforts. The goal of CA Jobs First (CERF) is to determine how we can increase the number of and access to high quality jobs. “High quality jobs” are those that offer a living wage, health benefits, and opportunities for career advancement. These jobs also should not cause harm to our bodies or our planet.

By taking this survey, you’ll help us understand what works well in your community, areas of improvement or opportunity, and ways we can make sure these jobs are available to those who need them most.

Survey Options

Farsi Survey

Due to formatting issues the Farsi survey is a physical form that you can download from this webpage. After the survey has been filled out please email it to

Gift Card Information

We appreciate you for your participation and help! When completing the survey, you will have the option to enter a raffle to win one of five $100 gift cards. Additionally, the first 50 respondents will receive a $25 gift card. Providing additional information will be required to be eligible. Gift cards will be sent in early/mid December after the survey closes.

California Jobs First (CERF) Collaborative Meeting: Research Presentation – November 13, 2023

On November 13 2023 from 3:30pm – 5:30pm Valley Vision’s research partner Cities GPS presented their updated research findings to the Capital Region’s Collaborative for the CA Jobs First project formerly known as CERF. In addition to viewing the recording below, you may also download the VV slides and meeting minutes.

Livability Summit 2023 Panelists & Speakers

The Livability Poll: A Wellness Check of the Sacramento Region

by Evan Schmidt, CEO of Valley Vision

Valley Vision fields a quality of life poll, the Livability Poll, that tracks residents’ experiences with issues such as affordability of necessities, access to services, job and career satisfaction, safety and belonging, as well as residents’ perspectives of the Sacramento Region. The Livability Poll’s findings were revealed at the Livability Summit and served as the basis for presentations, speakers, and discussions that followed throughout the day. Evan presents some of the more notable findings from The Livability Poll fielded in the summer of 2023.

You can read the full poll report here.

View the PowerPoint here.

Evan Schmidt is the CEO of Valley Vision, a nonprofit organization that leads regional and statewide initiatives to advance livability by supporting social equity, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability. She oversees the organization’s six impact areas of Workforce Development, Clean Economy, Food and Agriculture, Broadband and Digital Equity, Healthy Communities and Leadership and Civic Engagement. She is committed to building communities that are vibrant and sustainable and where every person has the opportunity to meet their potential. Under her leadership, Valley Vision creates the foundation for collaboration, research, and vision that enables us to meet those goals.

Keynote: Transformative Economic Development

Judith Taylor, Partner at Hr&A Advisors

View the PowerPoint here.

Judith Taylor is a Partner at HR&A Advisors, in her role, she focuses on creating vibrant, equitable, and resilient communities with over two decades of experience in real estate and inclusive economic development. Her expertise combines technical economic knowledge with a profound understanding of community values to drive transformative yet practical change for public and private clients.

Transforming Corridors

Spotlight on the Built Environment

Presented by Kacey Lizon and Aaron Laurel

The Sacramento region is full of corridors and industrial areas that are skeletons of the functions they once served. Many of them are right in the heart of our communities, ready for something new. Many of our region’s commercial corridors struggle today with vacant or underutilized lots and lack the density or mix of residential and commercial uses that support a sense of place that can attract more people. Learn about what it takes to transform these corridors and bring back the energy and vibrancy that once filled these spaces.

View the PowerPoint here.

Kacey Lizon, Deputy Executive Director of Planning and Programs, Sacramento Area Council of Governments

In her role as Deputy Executive Director for Planning & Programs, Kacey serves the 22 cities and six counties of the Sacramento region. During her 20-year tenure at SACOG, Kacey has played an instrumental role in innovations in regional planning and smart growth planning processes. She has led initiatives in land use, housing, transportation, transit-oriented development, environmental and rural planning. She has played a critical role in SACOG’s sustainable communities strategy work since the enactment of SB 375. Kacey is a board member of the California Chapter of the American Planning Association and member of the California Planning Roundtable.

Aaron Laurel, City Manager, City of West Sacramento

Aaron was appointed by the City Council to serve as West Sacramento’s City Manager and the Port of West Sacramento’s Chief Executive Officer in July 2018. He has nearly 20 years of experience in local government, including over 16 with the City of West Sacramento. Before becoming City Manager, he served as the City’s Economic Development and Housing Director, overseeing investments in infrastructure and real estate, business attraction, affordable housing, and management of the Port of West Sacramento.

Community Economic Resiliency

An Action Plan for Inclusive Economic Growth

Presented by Renee John and Ebony Joy Benzing

A thriving regional economy and equitable communities depend on inclusive economic opportunities. Valley Vision is proud to lead the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) program, fostering collaboration to create a vision for an inclusive and prosperous regional economy. In this segment, we’ll explore Valley Vision’s work on CERF, introduce communication resources, and encourage conversations about shifting our culture towards more collaborative, equity-centered efforts.

View the Powerpoint here.

Renee John oversees Valley Vision’s 21st Century Workforce, Health Communities, and Clean Economy impact areas. She came to Valley Vision with ten years of experience initiating and leading projects for community-based nonprofit organizations. Renee has also worked in the region supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs. She is a proud graduate of California State University Sacramento (Go Hornets!) and California’s community college system (Sierra College). Her driving force is working to ensure all community members have access to opportunity to live a healthy, fruitful life.

Ebony Joy Benzing is the interim Director for the North Far North Center of Excellence (NFN COE) for Labor Market Research, hosted by Los Rios Community College District. Ebony is committed to using data to connect students and adult learners to good jobs. Ebony joined the NFN COE in 2019 as the research manager. Prior to these roles, she taught mathematics to middle and high school students in Sacramento. Ebony graduated from UC Davis with dual bachelor’s degrees in Biological Sciences and Psychology and holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Southern California.

Neighborhood Transformation

A Spotlight on Del Paso Boulevard

Moderated by Daniel Kaufman

Daniel Kaufman (Moderator), Co-Founder and Principal at Third Plateau Social Impact Strategies.

Daniel helps design and lead the strategic direction of Third Plateau, a Sacramento-based agency driving social change. He enthusiastically works to ensure the firm is ever-evolving, learning, and growing to best meet the needs of changemaking leaders and organizations. An entrepreneur-at-heart, Daniel serves as a mentor, advisor, and strategist for an array of nonprofit executives, philanthropists, and civic leaders.

Gina Warren, Co-Founder and CEO of Sacramento’s Neighborhood Wellness Foundation

With a mission to navigate and disrupt intergenerational trauma and poverty in Del Paso Heights (DPH) and surrounding neighborhoods, Dr. Warren leads an interdisciplinary, multigenerational team that includes fourteen Peer Support Specialists generationally rooted in DPH. Dr. Warren offers both clinical and grassroots perspectives while operating with a strategic vision, innovative leadership, and an unwavering commitment to raise ACEs awareness to mitigate human suffering and help build a healthy community.

Janet Rice, President of DAD partners

Janet Rice is President of DAD Partners, Inc a premier consulting company located in Del Paso Heights dedicated to the mission of providing extraordinary service and value to a variety of clients in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. She has served on numerous boards and committees and is a visionary leader and executive professional with a proven track record of spearheading major real estate development projects that revitalized communities to help ensure sustained economic growth.

Erica Taylor, Vice President, Communications & Community Relations at Golden 1 Credit Union

Erica’s background includes work in radio and television promotions and marketing, as well as a broadcast journalist. She joined Golden 1 in 2015, overseeing the organization’s external communications, government relations, community partnerships, corporate giving, and financial education. Erica has led numerous initiatives for Golden 1 aimed at addressing local needs, volunteering, charitable partnerships, and social programs. In addition to currently serving as Valley Vision’s board chair, she also holds board positions with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership and Sacramento Covered. In 2015, Erica was named the “Young Professional of the Year” by the Sacramento Metro Chamber. She was also named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by the Sacramento Business Journal in 2012. She also won the “Best Posture” award at St. Joseph’s Elementary School in the third grade.

California Jobs First (CERF) Subregional Committee Resource Pages

The Livability Poll (October 2023)

The Livability Poll is a broad based quality of life poll, tracking residents’ experiences with issues such as affordability of necessities, access to services, job and career satisfaction, safety and belonging, as well as residents’ perspectives of the Sacramento Region. 

The Poll was in the field from mid-June to mid-July of 2023. It is demographically representative of the Capital region, encompassing Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties. 

CERF Tahoe/Nevada Subregional Committee Resource Page

Subregional Partners

The Tahoe/Nevada Subregion is jointly led by the Tahoe Prosperity Center and the Nevada County Economic Resource Council.

Tahoe Prosperity Center is the community and economic development organization in Lake Tahoe. We consider ourselves the “Valley Vision” of the Lake Tahoe region and have recently completed our regional economic recovery and resiliency strategy – Envision Tahoe. This inclusive, collaborative and year-long effort, funded by the US Economic Development Administration just wrapped up in June 2022 with our
Envision Tahoe Prosperity Playbook. Thankfully, the timing is well-suited for us to keep planning and to then prepare implementation proposals that align with the State’s CERF goals and our own regional, community and economic development priorities. We bring leadership, a strong collaborative plan and one that is based in regional inclusivity, data and community support and agreement.

Nevada County Economic Resource Council works in economic and community development in the full spectrum of Nevada County. Our organization, with its wide spectrum of Board Members that touch the most critical points in the community, believes we can be a valuable resource for both the planning and implementation phase of this grant.

TPC and NCERC are also supported by Sierra Business Council, in order to engage the Truckee area.

Primary Contact Information

If you have questions regarding this Subregion Committee, please reach out to:

Tahoe Prosperity Center

Derrick Martin, Program Manager

Nevada County Economic Resource Council

Gil Matthew, Executive Director

Next Meeting Information

More information coming soon!

Previous Meeting Materials

September 2023

Capital Region CERF Meetings and Events Calendar

Capital Region CERF Leadership Council Nominations

Nominations for the Leadership Council are open as of September 1, 2023. Please view the Leadership Council Nominations Packet below for more information on how to nominate yourself or someone else.

After reviewing the packet, please complete the online nomination form. Submissions close on September 29, 2023 at 5:00 pm.

Capital Region California Jobs First (CERF) Capacity Assistance Funding

Valley Vision recognizes the need for capacity assistance for individuals and organizations to be able to participate in the Capital Region California Jobs First (CERF). To address these needs, Valley Vision will provide funding  to those who meet the eligibility criteria outlined in this document and submit a written request containing the necessary information, so long as budget is available.

California Jobs First (CERF) Roundtables

In 2022 and 2023, Valley Vision hosted roundtables on the California Jobs First (CERF) for counties within the capital regions in order to inform about the program and identify early opportunities and alignments.

California Jobs First (CERF) Collaborative Meetings: Summer of Collective Learning Series

The Summer of Collective Learning series were held from June to August in 2023 to give us time to learn and plan together around the California Jobs First (CERF) program. Each monthly meeting featured a collective learning session on topics related to the California Jobs First (CERF) program’s values and goals, as well as time dedicated to advancing our region’s efforts.