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Introducing Monthly Reports from Our Research Unit

By Evan Schmidt

Valley Vision has always been known as a research provider as well as a catalyst for and driver of action for the region. In the last couple years, we have been adding capacity to our research capabilities.

One of the main ways is through our public opinion polling. Since 2017, in partnership with Sac State’s Institute for Social Research, we’ve released three polls: civic amenities, transportation, and our benchmark livability poll. These polls have enabled us to access direct information from regional residents about their priorities, values, and experiences on pressing topics within the region.

Valley Vision’s public opinion surveys are driving action across the region.

We’ve used these data to help inform regional decision-making – like advancing transportation investment priorities at a time when the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) is planning for the next 25 years through the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy planning process, or highlighting the divisions across the region when it comes to having a vision on how we should grow and house our residents. Using polling data to guide conversations and inform policy-making and investments is a core element of Valley Vision’s value proposition to the region – we unite the region by using research and action to deliver on triple bottom line values like environmental sustainability, economic prosperity, and social equity.

That is why we are excited about our next poll, due for public release on May 16th on the environment. How important are environmental values to regional residents? Do residents support an increased role for government in protecting the environment? Do residents believe the effects of climate change are already happening? Find out by tuning in to our next poll. In addition to the data itself, we are excited about the communications campaign, created by 3fold Communications, who also created our Livability Poll campaign. These communications campaigns help get the word out about the data and ensure that community groups, decision-makers, and community members learn about the insights that are being uncovered.

Our Environmental Poll findings will be released on Thursday, May 16.

Public opinion polling isn’t the only research coming out of our Research Unit. For Valley Vision, supporting a talented workforce for the region is mission critical. To achieve this, we are advancing the Capital Region Workforce Action Plan – through which we conduct continuous research on the changing economy and the region’s high growth economic sectors, like construction or manufacturing. Working with the California Community Colleges Center of Excellence, we use research to identify where there are gaps between the skills that businesses need and the skills that workers can access in educational or workforce training. We are on the verge of releasing a new report on the Hospitality and Tourism sector. In addition to the research itself, we bring together business, education, workforce, and community partners to interpret the data, compare it to on-the-ground experiences, and identify key actions to meet the needs of the sector. Our Hospitality and Tourism Cluster meeting is coming up on April 26th at Raley Field to present the data and explore next actions. We are excited about sharing critical data on this sector and exploring with the community how we can create the talent that we need to support a thriving hospitality and tourism sector in this region. I hope you can join us!

Highlighting our research is an important way to stay on top of the pulse of the region. As the Director of Research at Valley Vision, I’m excited to start regular monthly blog reports from our Research Unit. I’ll highlight research that is coming out and dive into ours and others’ research every month to make those critical connections between data and action. Coming up next: I can’t wait to share the environmental poll data with you next month – stay tuned!

Evan Schmidt is Valley Vision’s Senior Director working on the Public Opinion Surveying initiative and projects in the Healthy Communities and 21st Century Workforce strategy areas.