Earlier this year, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) announced it had raised more than $1 million in funding from a multi-sector alliance of business, education and philanthropic institutions to implement the five-year Los Angeles County Strategic Plan for Economic Development. This shared, cross-sector funding commitment reflects and builds on the Strategic Plan’s broad-based, consensus roots and development process, which gathered input from over 500 stakeholder organizations, including industry, labor, government, education, environment, philanthropy and nonprofit leaders, during 26 public meetings.

This extraordinary group of civically-engaged institutions coming together to fund the Strategic Plan includes Bank of America, California State University-Dominguez Hills, California State University-Long Beach, California State University-Los Angeles, California State University- Northridge, California State Polytechnic University-Pomona, Citibank, JPMorgan Chase, Kennedy Wilson, Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation, Union Bank, Weingart Foundation and Wells Fargo.

The diverse array of participating organizations illustrates the widespread recognition that while Los Angeles has recovered all of the jobs lost during the Great Recession, our rapid and unprecedented economic transition into the labor-displacing “automation age” is creating a labor market that is increasingly dominated by lower-paying, lower-skilled occupations, providing few pathways out of poverty and exacerbating many of the symptoms that we are all trying to treat through philanthropy, education and government.

Demonstrating this point, Los Angeles County lost approximately 90,000 manufacturing jobs during the Great Recession, paying an average annual wage of $50,000, and replaced those jobs with approximately 90,000 low-paying service sector jobs, mostly in food services, paying an average annual wage of $20,000. This trajectory is simply unsustainable and does not provide adequate economic opportunity for the region’s residents.

New Executive Director Marianne Haver Hill is leading a dedicated team and is overseeing resources to accelerate collaborative implementation of the Plan. Prior to accepting her role at LAEDC, Marianne Haver Hill served as President and CEO of MEND (Meet Each Need with Dignity), which assists 37,000 individuals each month in L.A. County with services designed to meet basic needs and move recipients on to self-reliance. Haver Hill scaled up a 5000 volunteer workforce and more than 350 on-going collaborations with Southern California universities, businesses, nonprofit and government agencies, and community groups. Her work earned recognition by Governor Brown’s office when MEND was named the 2012 California Nonprofit of the Year, a testament to Haver Hill’s extraordinary ability to encourage collaboration and achieve results. She is also an Adjunct Professor at USC Price School of Public Policy.

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