Valley Vision to Support New USDA Regional Food Business Center
As announced earlier this month, Valley Vision is proud to be part of the new USDA Southwest Regional Food Business Center—one of 12 new Centers across the country that will support a more resilient, diverse, and competitive food system by providing assistance to strengthen local and regional supply chains. The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) is the lead applicant for the Center, and Valley Vision will serve as the Hub Director.
“The Regional Food Business Centers, along with investments through the Resilient Food Systems Infrastructure Program, will create new and expanded local market opportunities which will improve farm income, create good paying jobs and build greater resilience in our overall food system,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The Southwest Center covers California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. Tribal nations and Colonias Communities along the Southern border are also included. Through its network of partner organizations, the Southwest Center will conduct place-based technical assistance and capacity-building across this four-state region. The goal of the Center is to build a ‘coalition of coalitions’ that delivers multi-sector coordination efforts and business development programs to strengthen local producers’ economic viability, improve the supply chain’s resilience, and center equity in regional food systems.
The Southwest Center was formally announced on May 3rd at Sacramento City Unified School District Central Kitchen. Valley Vision helped coordinate the event, which featured Jenny Lester Moffitt, Under Secretary of USDA Agricultural Marketing Service; Congresswoman Doris Matsui, (CA-7); Glenda Humiston, Vice President of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources; Sacramento Supervisor Patrick Kennedy and SACOG Board Chair; Diana Flores and Kelsey Nederveld from Sacramento City Unified Nutrition Services; and Trish Kelly, Managing Director, Valley Vision.
With local asparagus, potatoes, and grass-fed braised beef served out of the Central Kitchen’s Food Truck—showcasing how Fresh Food to School across the District is sourced from local farmers and prepared at the Central Kitchen—the event highlighted the strength of the local food system, including our diverse partnerships and networks that span across the Sacramento region, exemplifying the goals of the new Center.
The event concluded with a tour of the Central Kitchen, encompassing 50,000 SQ of warehouse space and 50,000 SQ of the facility itself. This tour was an opportunity to demonstrate the food system infrastructure we are building in this region, as well as the types of projects the Southwest Center will support.
The Southwest Center and the Tour of the Central Kitchen would not be possible without the support of Secretary Moffitt, with whom we had the pleasure of meeting the week before during the 2023 Cap to Cap program; Congresswoman Matsui for being a champion for our region’s food system; Supervisor Kennedy, for his leadership that led to the development of the Central Kitchen; and Diana Flores and Kelsey Nederveld, who worked tirelessly to get the Central Kitchen operational. We are extremely grateful for the leadership of Glenda Humiston and her team in supporting diverse partners across the Southwest Region by anchoring the development and implementation of this project.
Trish Kelly will serve as the Director for the Center, supporting network coordination for outreach activities across the four states, development of community partnerships, and knowledge sharing. Grace Kaufman will support Valley Vision’s efforts, including managing stakeholder engagement, strategic planning, network coordination, outreach activities, and resource-sharing across the Southwest region.
The USDA grant will encompass five years and will contribute to Valley Vision’s capacity to serve as a backbone for the Sacramento region’s food and agriculture system. The project is anticipated to begin this summer.
The Center’s network of Partners includes the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA); California State University – Chico and Fresno; Occidental College; the Riverside Food System Alliance; the San Diego Food System Alliance; the University of California – Santa Cruz and Davis; Valley Vision; the Arizona Department of Agriculture; the Local First Arizona Foundation; the University of Arizona; the Nevada Department of Agriculture; the University of Nevada – Reno; the Utah Dept. of Agriculture; and Utah State University.
Center Collaborators include a wide network of organizations across the four states, including the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF); the Center for Good Food Purchasing; California FarmLink; Kitchen Table Advisors, Health Care Without Harm, and many others.
You can find more information about the program and the other Centers here: https://www.ams.usda.gov/services/local-regional/rfbcp.
To read more about the Sacramento Region’s food system projects and the work Valley Vision is supporting, go to WeAreFarmToFork.org.
If you’d like more information or to get involved with Valley Vision’s food and agriculture work, please contact us at FoodAndAg@ValleyVision.org.
A Federal Advocacy Agenda
Right now is a critical time to be engaged with the Federal government. There are once-in-a-generation resources available for the “big play” investments that our region needs to grow and thrive. Valley Vision has a long history of participating in our region’s annual Cap-to-Cap trip hosted by the Sacramento Metro Chamber.
This year we had leadership, or Co-Chair roles, on four teams (Air Quality, Economic Development, Food & Ag, and Workforce), and Trish Kelly, our Managing Director, served as Honorary Chair of the trip in recognition of her role in the region as a policy expert as well as her many years of Cap-to-Cap leadership. Our five Valley Vision staff who attended advanced our region’s sophisticated advocacy agendas; read about their experiences below.
Each year, the Sacramento Metro Chamber puts together an excellent and well-regarded “Capitol-to-Capitol” Federal advocacy program – the biggest of any Chamber-led effort in the country. Attending the program is an enormous honor and privilege, with 407 participants this year, including 100+ freshmen and 100+ elected officials, and a whole lot of others with important leadership roles in our region. This year was no exception – the Chamber absolutely nailed the look and feel of the 2023 program.
The meat of the program is fast-paced advocacy meetings with our legislative delegation as well as committee and agency staff. The Cleaner Air Partnership, which Valley Vision staffs, leads one of twelve policy-focused “teams” dedicated to air quality. This year, our team elevated specific investments in Future Mobility projects like the ZEV Deployment Strategy and CA Mobility Center, and technical but extremely important policy fixes like letting air districts “write off” smoke from preventative prescribed fire instead of getting dinged by U.S. EPA. We are following up this week and next on these important “Asks” and look forward to continued engagement throughout the year as we continue to work toward cleaner air for all.
Grace Kaufman & Trish Kelly
Each year, Valley Vision’s participation in the Capitol to Capitol provides us an opportunity to advocate for the needs of the Sacramento Region on a national level. This year, the Food and Agriculture team was particularly impactful in highlighting the importance of the food system and the agricultural industry to the region’s economy and overall well-being. The team focused on the importance of supporting local food farms. ranches, food producers, nonprofits, food banks, restaurants, local governments, schools, hospitals, and businesses across the supply chain to ensure access to healthy, locally-sourced food for all. We advocated for improvements in the 2023 Farm Bill that would ensure access to critical programs that address food insecurity – a major challenge in our region – such as CalFresh. The discussions with our congressional delegation and agencies such as USDA and EDA provided the opportunity to highlight several of the region’s food and ag projects, focus on food as medicine, learn about new resources, and elevate our region as a place where all things food and ag are coming together through innovative and collaborative partnerships.
Over the course of five days, the program was an invaluable opportunity to engage with policymakers and advocate for programs that would benefit the region’s agricultural industry and ensure that everyone has access to healthy, nutritious, and local food. Meeting with congressional and administration leaders who are advancing the National Strategy on Hunger Nutrition and Health led to commitments to continue working together this coming year.
To read more about food and ag in the Sacramento region, check out our website at wearefarmtofork.org.
Trish and I also had the opportunity to tour the West Wing of the White House. It was my first time visiting Washington DC and seeing the historic building that has housed the world’s most powerful leaders was truly awe-inspiring.
During the tour, we were shown the various rooms and corridors of the West Wing, including the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room, and the Situation Room (and in case you’re wondering-yes, the vacuum lines are perfect in the Oval Office). The press room, a room that offers a glimpse into the inner workings of the media and the way news is reported from the White House, was a huge highlight of the tour for me.
Participating in the Sacramento Metro Chamber’s Cap to Cap program provides a well-orchestrated vehicle for regional leaders to advocate in unison on important policy issues. In the area of workforce development, major federal legislation is currently in the reauthorization process. This includes the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which provides the most significant federal investment in workforce education and training programs. Additionally, the National Apprenticeship Act, which has not been reauthorized since 1937, is being shaped and expanded. Participating in meetings with congressional leaders and committees that design these and other legislation brings an opportunity to express what works well, and what is in need of adjustment from the folks doing the work on the ground.
I have found the folks in Washington to be very interested in our efforts in California, in the region, and particularly appreciate specific examples of how the components of legislation either benefit or constrain local efforts. This year also provided an opportunity to shine a light on collaborative efforts in workforce and education unique to California and the Greater Sacramento area.
Cap-to-Cap not only enables our region to connect with federal representatives and agencies, but it also creates a concentrated space to connect with each other. Through team meetings, receptions, mixers, and plenty of informal gatherings our region goes to Washington to get things done in the Sacramento region. Key on my mind during the trip was inclusive economic development. Through the Economic Development team, we advocated for our key priorities from the Prosperity Strategy, timely investments in broadband infrastructure, support to build out our innovative ecosystem of entrepreneurs, and a continued emphasis on international trade that connects our businesses to the global marketplace.
With Valley Vision leading the regional Community Economic Resilience Fund effort, we are well-positioned to hone in on the ways that federal partners can help us leverage this state investment to amplify the impact. Our region is also exploring the ways that new legislation might help support regional economic goals. One example is the CHIPS and Science Act – a recent federal investment in high-tech manufacturing designed to strengthen manufacturing, supply chains, and national security. We found our federal partners to be responsive to our goals and we found many opportunities and alignments with them and among each other as we work to support thriving, equitable, and sustainable communities here at home.
Introducing Erica Taylor, Valley Vision’s New Board Chair
Erica Taylor, Golden 1 Credit Union’s Vice President of Communications & Community Relations and the newly-appointed Valley Vision Board Chair, introduces herself and talks about her hopes for the organization in this exclusive Q&A.
Q: Can you briefly describe who you are, your background, and what led you to where you are now?
A: I serve as the Vice President of Communications and Community Relations at Golden 1 Credit Union. I’m going on my eighth year here, and I’ve lived in Sacramento for about 20 years. I’ve done similar work my entire time here as far as community relations, communications, and marketing-type roles, and I love it.
I grew up in Redding. I lived here very briefly as a child, so at least I was familiar with my I-99 and my I-5 versus my I-80 and my I-50. I was ahead of the game when we moved here, and it has absolutely become home. Both of my daughters were born here. My husband’s from Los Angeles and he likes it here. It’s not as sleepy as Redding, but not as busy as L.A., so Sacramento is just the best for us.
Q: What inspired you to want to come on to the board & what made you want to come onto leadership?
A: I’ve been on Valley Vision’s Board of Directors for five years now. With COVID, it feels like a lifetime ago. I would say I was inspired to join the Valley Vision board because of the organization itself. In my role, I was familiar with Valley Vision through the different kinds of work they’ve done in the community.
I always thought that they presented thoughtful ideas without an agenda. I always appreciated the independent thought that came from Valley Vision.
Q: What is a critical takeaway you learned from serving on Valley Vision’s board?
A: A critical takeaway I learned from serving on the board is that there are very thoughtful and bright people who are dedicated to making this region the very best it can be. The past couple of years have been really, really rough on all of us. The pandemic, the economy, the political kind of world we live in now—it’s different, and not the great type of different at times.
But I will tell you, each and every board meeting is filled with thoughtful conversations, filled with people who truly care. And it convinces me that we can do this. We can make things better. So, I’m always inspired. I always learn something new and it’s just a pleasure to work with everyone connected to Valley Vision, from the board to the staff.
Q: Bonus question! Do you have any recommendations for your favorite food and/or activities around Sacramento?
A: Favorite food or activity around Sacramento? Well, as a representative of Golden 1 Credit Union, I would be remiss if I did not mention the gem of a venue that we have downtown. I know it means something different to someone who works there, but it’s just very exciting to support all of the sporting events, concerts, and other fun things that pop up.
Beyond that, this is the best place on the planet to live for various other reasons. Growing up in Redding, I could be at a national park in 90 minutes. I could be at our little local ski hill in 50 minutes. I could be at a lake swimming or house-boating or skiing in half an hour. It was so great, and Sacramento is very much like that. It really has all the amenities of a bigger city, but recreation is just a heartbeat away. We are so fortunate for that.
As far as food—I can’t even narrow it down! There is such great food here, and I can’t pick one favorite.
Q: As Board Chair, what are your hopes for Valley Vision?
The future’s uncertain, but I still think it’s bright. And I still think this is the very best place on the planet to live. It’s the very best place to raise my family, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Maybe the best is yet to come.
Sierra Northern Railway & Partners Conduct Public Briefing on Zero Emission Switching Locomotive
Release Date: January 10, 2023
West Sacramento, California – January 5, 2022 – Sierra Northern Railway and partner Valley Vision conducted a public briefing of their Zero Emission Hydrogen Switching locomotive. This webinar had several hundred registrants and was viewed by participants in eight nations, a significant number of states and a large cross section of Federal, State and local regulators as well as a broad cross section of industry insiders.
The online briefing outlined how the Sierra Northern Railway Zero Emission Locomotive will be transformative providing essential services for America’s railroads by proving the hydrogen-fueled units capable of improving air quality, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and increasing the quality of life in surrounding communities.
To view the briefing visit Valley Vision’s website: https://bit.ly/H2LocoProject or view it on YouTube: https://bit.ly/H2LocoWebinar
The Sierra Northern Railway unit will incorporate hydrogen fuel cells, hydrogen storage, and battery and control technologies that will clearly be more environmentally friendly than existing motive power.
“This is the right path for the future of zero-emissions motive power,” said Kennan Beard, president and CEO of Sierra Northern. “As the lead on this project, we’re confident hydrogen is here to stay and will be the true zero emission solution adopted by the State of California for Switching Locomotives.” By using hydrogen and batteries as Sierra has the switching locomotive will run without any emissions of NOx pollution, carbon or other particulate matter from the unit’s operation. When operational, this unit will stop using as much as 10,000 gallons of conventional diesel fuel per year. Sierra has a stated goal of having the first zero emission switching fleet in the nation and commercializing its technology to lead the industry into the zero-emission future.
Evan Schmidt, Valley Vision CEO stated, “we are very pleased to work with Sierra Northern Railway as they lead the locomotive industry to Zero Emissions within their own fleet, and over time as they commercialize hydrogen locomotives across the State, and ultimately throughout the Nation.”
Sierra Northern Railway (SERA) the technical lead, partnering with GTI Energy as the formal applicant to the California Energy Commission. Other technical partners are Railpower Tech LLC, Optifuel Systems LLC, UC Riverside Center For Environmental Research and Technology, Velocity Strategies, Valley Vision, Ballard Power Systems, WHA International, Southern California Gas Company, the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District and The Low-Carbon Resources Initiative (LCRI).
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Hopes for 2023
Welcome to 2023! A new year means new opportunities, so we asked our staff, “What is one thing you’re hopeful for?”
Thank you to all of our partners and community members who make our work possible; here’s to another year full of regional collaboration and positive change!
$3 Million Federal Investment to Boost Digital Inclusion in Lemon Hill
Sacramento State University, Sacramento City College, Valley Vision, and partners will pilot a innovative digital navigator program in the Lemon Hill community of South Sacramento.
Valley Vision is very pleased to partner with California State University, Sacramento, through the Capital Region Coalition for Digital Inclusion (CRCDI), in bringing nearly $3 million in federal funding to our region from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). NTIA, through its new, highly competitive Connecting Minority Communities Pilot Program (CMC), is funding Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions and others across the U.S. to address pervasive digital exclusion in minority communities. This major investment will support digital equity in our region through the creation of the Sacramento Regional Consortium for Digital Equity, a collaborative of Sacramento State, Valley Vision, Sacramento City College, Cosumnes River College, and community partners to connect underserved communities with vital digital inclusion resources.
The Collaborative, led by Sacramento State, will develop a Digital Navigator Intern (DNI) program to serve the Lemon Hill community in Sacramento County. Through this program, students will be trained as Digital Navigators and deployed to Community Anchor Institutions working in Lemon Hill. Digital navigators are trusted guides who assist community members in internet adoption and the use of computing devices. Digital navigation services include ongoing assistance with affordable internet access, device acquisition, acquisition of digital skills, and application support. Sacramento State will also establish a Community Engagement Lab that will have essential software and equipment, will be staffed by the DNIs, and provide access for community training or open lab time for both the DNIs and community members.
Through the work of the CRCDI, the Lemon Hill neighborhood in Sacramento had been identified by the Sacramento Employment and Training Agency (SETA) as a priority underserved area based on demographic and economic indicators. This area has the highest poverty rate among communities in Sacramento County with populations of 10,000 or more, and became a focus for this grant. We are invigorated to take the efforts made by the CRCDI to the next level, working with Sacramento State, Los Rios and our community partners to bring digital navigators to our region. Dr. Robert S. Nelsen, President of Sacramento State, commented on this groundbreaking initiative:
“Sacramento State is thrilled that the NTIA saw the value in our proposal to help close the Digital Divide in Lemon Hill. As an Anchor University, we look forward to working with our partners, including Sacramento City College, the Greater Sacramento Urban League, La Familia Counseling Center, United Way, and Valley Vision to promote digital inclusion and improve broadband access. Our work will provide more families with access to broadband and a computer, increase educational attainment, and grow the neighborhood’s economy.” – Dr. Robert S. Nelsen
The project will launch in 2023. Digital navigators are essential to closing the Digital Divide, and we look forward to working with this team of digital inclusion trailblazers to establish transformational and lasting digital equity impacts in our community. With this pilot, led by Dr. Yvonne Harris at Sacramento State and a member of the CRCDI Steering Committee, we also have the opportunity to scale the CRCDI’s digital inclusion efforts, thanks to the support of NTIA. In addition, we thank the California Emerging Technology Fund which provided support in developing the application to NTIA, and is leading a Higher Education Collaborative for CMC grant recipients Sacramento State and Merced College and our evaluation partner, California State University, Chico. We also thank Congresswoman Doris Matsui for her valued ongoing support of our community’s digital inclusion efforts.
More information about this program can be found in press releases from NTIA and Rep. Matsui’s office.
About Valley Vision: For more than 25 years Valley Vision has used research to help governments, businesses, foundations and community groups better understand the issues facing our region. We believe that knowing and understanding the facts is the best way to establish a common working foundation for collaborative problem-solving. That’s why Valley Vision conducts, produces and interprets research including scientific public opinion polls, focus groups, community needs assessments, best practice studies and other research tools to bring to light the information local leaders need to improve our communities.
Recap: Yolo Food Hub Network’s Barn Warming & Celebration in Esparto, CA
On Friday, October 21st, 2022 – a new home for food and agricultural infrastructure opened its doors to more than 115 people from across the region. The historic 22,000 square-foot Oakdale Barn, located in Esparto, California is over 100 years old, and as the anchor facility for the Yolo Food Hub Network, it will continue to serve the region’s agricultural industry. The Barn facility will be renovated to aggregate, process, store, package, and distribute produce grown in Yolo County and throughout the region. The facility will increase consumer and buyer access to healthy and diverse local foods, improve farmer and market sales, and will strengthen relationships between farmers, institutions, and local communities. It will open new markets for growers and food producers and will enable large institutions, such as hospitals, event centers, and schools to purchase locally grown foods. The barn warming, hosted by the Yolo Food Hub Network and Valley Vision, garnered the support of numerous organizations and representatives across Northern California.
Valley Vision, on behalf of several local partners, was awarded a grant through the Local Food Promotion Program from USDA to support the planning phase of the project. Yolo County committed $2 million of American Rescue Plan funds for the site acquisition.
Food hubs help connect farmers and food entrepreneurs with regional markets and institutional buyers, such as schools, hospitals, and food banks, to access source-identified, locally-grown products. The project’s first phase developed recommendations and a funding strategy to help establish and sustain the new Yolo Food Hub Network and facility. As part of the planning phase of the Yolo Food Hub Network, the project will help farmers receive training on how to reach these institutional buyers, which will buy produce and goods from Yolo Food Hub Network partners.
The Yolo Food Hub Network project team includes New Season Community Development Corporation (NSCDC) – the project developer, Capay Valley Farm Shop (CVFS), Yolo Food Bank, Durst Organic Growers, Spork Food Hub, Esparto Train Station, Hatamiya Group, Kitchen Table Advisors, and Valley Vision as the project manager.
Many elected officials joined the celebration, including California Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry District 4, California State Senator Dodd of Senate District 3, (Staff present), as well as Yolo County Supervisors Angel Barajas (Chair), Don Saylor, Jim Provenza, and Woodland City Council members Tom Stallard and Tania Garcia-Cadena.
Also in attendance was James Corless, Executive Director of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). Through SACOG’s Rural Urban Connection Strategy (RUCS), SACOG has supported the planning and feasibility of food hubs throughout the region, including the 2014 food hub feasibility analysis, which served as the foundation for the Yolo Food Hub Network.
This event would not have been possible without the generous support of Slow Food Yolo, Turkovich Family Wines, and the hard work of Juan Barajas and his team. Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, founded in 1989 to prevent the disappearance of local food, cultures, and traditions. Slow Food believes food is tied to many other aspects of life, including culture, politics, agriculture, and the environment.
To learn more about the Yolo Food Hub Network, including past webinars and reports, visit: https://www.valleyvision.org/projects/yolo-food-hub.
For questions about Yolo Food Hub Network or if you want to receive future resources and information on the upcoming Food and Agricultural work from Valley Vision, please contact Grace Kaufman at Grace.Kaufman@valleyvision.org to be added to the listerv!
Grace Kaufman is a Valley Vision Project Manager working in the Food and Ag and Clean Economy impact areas
Watch the recap video from the Barn Warming & Celebration below!
Sacramento Region Awarded $5 Million for Inclusive Economic Planning
Sacramento, CA – October 21, 2022: The Sacramento Region scored a significant win via an award of $5 million dollars in planning money from the Community Economic Resilience Fund (“CERF”) program.
The program – developed and led by the Employment Development Department (EDD), the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz), and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) – advances regional economic recovery and resilience strategies that prioritize the creation of accessible, high-quality jobs in sustainable industries.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance our region’s economic recovery and resilience, and will demonstrate the collective value and impact our region has when we work together,” said Valley Vision CEO Evan Schmidt in a statement.
Planning dollars will be used to stand up a High Road Transition Collaborative (“Collaborative”) – a planning group that consists of balanced and meaningful representation from throughout the region – and a regional economic development plan.
In a months-long grant application process, Valley Vision convened multiple open-to-all webinars, workshops, subregional roundtables, and activity-based committees to inform our region’s application. In particular, the Prosperity Partnership, the Tahoe Prosperity Center, the Sierra Business Council, Yuba-Sutter Economic Development Corporation, the Nevada County Economic Resource Council, and the counties of Colusa and Yuba were instrumental in bringing regional stakeholders and community partners to the table.
As the designated Regional Convenor and Fiscal Agent for the Sacramento Region – which includes Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo and Yuba counties – Valley Vision is charged with standing up a planning process that engages meaningfully across subregions, sectors, and communities, to advance the goals of the CERF program.
“This announcement signifies a major step forward in economic development, as regional coalitions have come together across California ready to roll up their sleeves and build regional economic development strategies that will create more inclusive and vibrant economies built on a foundation of equity,” said Dee Dee Myers, Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development. You can read the state’s CERF press release here.
A Sacramento Region virtual kick-off event will be held in early 2023. To stay up to date, subscribe to Valley Vision’s Sacramento Region CERF newsletter.
About Valley Vision
For 27 years, Valley Vision has served as a trusted nonprofit civic leadership organization in the region, bringing communities together to tackle our region’s challenges and ensure a more livable future and creating common ground built on facts through trusted research and meaningful coalition-building.
Driven by a “triple bottom line” approach of co-equally advancing social equity, economic prosperity, and environmental sustainability, Valley Vision has a proven record in bringing diverse groups together to develop long-term solutions to the region’s greatest problems. This history of civic leadership and engagement runs across local, regional, and statewide platforms, and across sectors and disciplines. To learn more about Valley Vision’s CERF work, visit www.valleyvision.org/projects/community-economic-resilience-fund.
The Capital Region’s Workforce—Ready to Evolve
The Livability Poll is a broad-based quality-of-life survey developed by Valley Vision and CapRadio in collaboration with the Institute for Social Research at Sacramento State University. Valley Vision conducted the poll to assess Sacramento residents’ experiences with issues related to housing, access to services, job and career satisfaction, safety and belonging, and residents’ perceptions of the Sacramento Region. Among many topics, the Poll results provide insight into how community residents view their employability.
The Poll was in the field from mid-June to mid-July of 2022. It is demographically representative of the Capital Region, encompassing Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percent
Overall satisfaction with employment is high, but a stark contrast can be seen when broken down into categories like race. The most cited reasons for dissatisfaction were low wages; not enough opportunities for promotion; and poor workplace culture. However, feelings of optimism in younger people in the workforce when it comes to employability have risen from previous polls that Valley Vision fielded during the height of the pandemic. As the future of workers continues to change, it was found that more than two-thirds of residents are interested in learning new skills or improving their skills through education and training.
However, the delivery method is key to ensuring residents can access education and training programs. Residents expressed preferences for:
- Programs that last a year or less (72 percent),
- Hybrid (53 percent) or remote (57 percent) programs, and
- Flexible or weekend hours (62 percent)
In order for our region to keep pace with changing industry needs, our communities need flexible and accessible training programs to upskill and increase their economic mobility actively.
While this data confirms the need for equitable career advancement opportunities, the numbers also paint a picture of what is possible. The Capital Region’s workforce is ready to evolve, and our region’s workforce stakeholders have an opportunity to deliver innovative, accessible training solutions to meet their needs. The full 2022 Livability Poll Report can be accessed here.
To keep up with Valley Vision’s work to advance a future-ready workforce in the Sacramento region, subscribe to our 21st Century Workforce email newsletter!
Angelina Olweny is a Valley Vision Project Associate supporting initiatives within the 21st Century Workforce impact area.
Gustavo Garcia is a Valley Vision Project Associate supporting initiatives within the 21st Century Workforce impact area.
Danielle Susa is a Valley Vision Project Associate supporting initiatives within the 21st Century Workforce impact area.
The Livability Summit: Virtuous Circle of Connection
What is Livability?
This is a serious question, not a rhetorical one. We asked this question of community members from all across the region, from different neighborhoods, ages, races, and professions. What we learned is that livability is not the same for everyone.
Responses ranged from housing to safety, good and abundant food to a quality education, and diverse cultural communities to a livable income. Indeed these are all important factors that provide a good quality of life, which proves that livability isn’t just one thing, it’s the combination of many things.
For me, the most poignant and clearest definition of livability that I heard came from a 20-year-old UC Davis student who moderated a youth discussion at Livability Summit on October 4th at Sac State. Tate told the audience of more than 300 that livability isn’t just about having what you need in life, it’s about living a happy life.
Valley Vision’s inaugural Livability Summit was designed to create a data-informed community discussion between diverse networks of people who could exchange views and ideas about the issues that affect us most. The Livability Summit was also about belonging and being heard in a forum where community voices can make a difference. That’s why the Summit tagline “Your voice belongs. Your voice makes change.” was the foundation to community-building and collaborative change-making.
Like others, our region is more disconnected, isolated, and divided than ever before. To counter these challenges and to leverage Valley Vision’s unique purpose of building more livable communities, the Summit proved to be a dynamic day that combined informative and inspirational presentations with small group dialogue, community-building, and interactive experiences.
Coming out of the event and reflecting on the experience, it’s more clear to me that cultivating connection and belonging creates a virtuous loop – you give something positive to others and inevitably you get back something positive that you couldn’t have anticipated. The energy and inspiration that we got back from those who participated was not only inspiring and uplifting but also cemented our desire to continue cultivating these important community connections.
I want to thank the community for coming together with us in a different kind of way, to engage in difficult conversations, and for being willing to bring an open mind and make change that can benefit us all. I am incredibly inspired by the conversations, connections, and collaborations that occurred at the Livability Summit and ready to build off that momentum to leverage Valley Vision’s role in advancing livable communities, especially in those neighborhoods that have long been uninvested and overlooked.
The Summit occured on one day, but the outcomes will carry on through Valley Vision’s work in the months and years ahead. If you were unable to attend this first-time event, I’d like to leave you with a few of the inspirational sentiments that attendees shared with us and hope that you will join us next fall for the first annual Livability Summit. We will announce dates soon.
“Keep doing what is right even though it is not easy. ”
“Community connection and belonging are key to livability – keep making it happen.”
“Change happens at the speed of trust!”
“Revitalize and reimagine your community.”
“Youth voices are needed at the table. It’s not enough for them to have a seat at the table – they need to feel they have a voice and the sense of belonging at the table.”
State Workforce Leaders Moving Forward Together
Valley Vision’s Renee John, Director of Workforce Development, recently attended the California Workforce Association’s annual Meeting of the Minds Conference themed Courageous Progress. A central topic was the Governor’s priority on apprenticeships as one of three key workforce strategies to address California’s wide scale income inequality challenges. A five-point action plan was recently released from the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the Department of Industrial Relations Department of Apprenticeship Standards outlining a strategy to expand apprenticeship in California to meet Governor Newsom’s goal of serving 500,000 apprentices by 2029.
The conference, held in Monterey, featured speakers from across the state including: Tim Rainey, Executive Director California Workforce Development Board; Brent Parton, Acting Assistant Secretary DOLETA; and Eric Rood, Chief Division of Apprenticeship Standards at California Department of Industrial Relations. Informative sessions addressed topics including developing high quality youth and adult apprenticeships, digital upskilling innovations, service delivery models to serve the priority populations including re-entry and individuals with disabilities, and sector specific workforce pipeline initiatives. The importance of strategically aligning efforts between workforce stakeholders was a central theme. Each session featured inventive collaborations between K-12, adult education, community colleges, economic development, community based organizations, and others.
As the workforce intermediary for the Greater Sacramento Capital Region, Valley Vision spends significant resources on convening and alignment, connecting partners in our ecosystem together to develop solutions and function as a cohesive unit in service to their stakeholders. We assist cities, jurisdictions and partners with developing strategies to meet their economic and labor goals. We are a trusted source for quality research on workforce issues and trends to inform on changing market dynamics. And, we continually work to amplify voices and strategies to connect equity to economic prosperity to create a vibrant and prosperous economy for all.
For the more information on Valley Vision’s 21st Century Workforce impact area connect to our website and subscribe to our 21st Century Workforce email newsletter!
Valley Vision’s employer and industry advisories are funded by Los Rios Community College District with Strong Workforce Program funds. Additionally, the Capital Region’s four workforce boards co-sponsor the advisories; SETA/Sacramento Works, Golden Sierra JTA, YoloWorks, and North Central Counties Consortium.
Renee John is the Director of Workforce Development managing initiatives within the 21st Century Workforce impact area.
Recap: White House Conference – Recommendations from America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital
As part of the We Are Farm-to-Fork initiative, Valley Vision convenes partners and community members to support future investments in the region’s food system.
On Tuesday, August 9th, Valley Vision held our first public, in-person event since the pandemic. The information shared by community partners during the listening session will inform the 2022 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, which takes place in September. Organized under the banner of our community food system network “We are Farm to Fork,” participants included a vibrant cross-section of more than 75 people at Mulvaney’s B&L, including partners from government agencies, nonprofits, school districts, restaurants, health centers, grocery stores, and more (see Appendix A of the report for a full list of participants). It was an honor to have Maria Gallegos-Herrera, the new USDA Rural Development State Director for California, attend and provide opening remarks, as well as have staff from Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Congressman Ami Bera join us and advance the recommendations.
Using the toolkit provided by the White House Conference planners as a guide for regional input sessions nationally, our discussion focused on the following guiding pillars of the Conference:
For each of these issues, our event invited input into the following questions provided by the White House Conference planners:
What specific actions should the U.S. Federal government, including the Executive Branch and Congress, take to achieve each pillar? What are the opportunities and barriers to achieving the actions? Actions should include specific policy and/or programmatic ideas and changes as well as funding needs.
What are innovative public- and private-sector activities already happening at the local, state, territory, and Tribal levels that could inform actions at the Federal Level?
Participants gave feedback online and in-person. During the event, a cross-section of organizations provided lightning-round presentations, highlighting barriers, opportunities, proven models, and recommendations that demonstrated the breadth and diversity of partnerships, the creativity and responsiveness of solutions, and some compelling outcomes to date. These are the foundations of our recommendations to the federal government, which represent the needs and interests of the Sacramento Region. The recommendations range from streamlining specific regulations and providing increased flexibility, to investing in impact models that can be scaled and replicated across the country.
Several clear themes and recommendations were identified in the convening, that if adopted, would greatly facilitate systemic solutions to systemic challenges within our region and across the country. The recommendations reflect the Sacramento region’s partner-driven solutions that were effective in trying to address the rapid increase in food insecurity levels, lack of access to healthy foods, major supply chain gaps, and accelerated job and income loss during the start of the pandemic. Several strong models shared during the event are tangible, tested, and outcome-driven, and are reflected in the recommendations and in the supporting materials.
The recommendations build off the 2021 Sacramento Region Food System Action Plan, developed in Fall 2021 by Valley Vision in partnership with the Sacramento Region Community Foundation. These activities help position the Sacramento region’s future as a global innovator and leader in sustainable agriculture, food, and health.
Special thanks to our board members who attended, including Linda Cutler, Shawn Harrison, Chelsea Minor, Clay Nutting, Meghan Phillips, and Lori Rianda. Moving forward, we will incorporate this document into future efforts as we work to reduce food insecurity and strengthen the region’s food system.
To keep up with Valley Vision’s Food and Agriculture work to advance livability in the Sacramento region, email Grace.Kaufman@valleyvision.org to be added to the listserv!
Grace Kaufman is a Valley Vision Project Manager working in the Food and Ag and Clean Economy impact areas