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MBEP in the News

1.20.23 - Central Coast Broadband Consortium Awarded $1 Million CPUC Grant to Support Regional Broadband Deployment and Expansion

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Central Coast Broadband Consortium Awarded $1 Million CPUC Grant to Support Regional Broadband Deployment and Expansion

(Marina, CA. Jan. 20, 2023) –

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) has secured a $1 million California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) broadband development grant to support the Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC)’s efforts to expand broadband in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties. The grant is funded by the California Advanced Services Fund (CASF) Rural and Urban Regional Broadband Consortia Account, which announced $10.3 million in grants to consortia projects in California. 

The grant will be disbursed over five years and is the largest funded proposal among the 15 projects selected statewide. 

MBEP serves as executive director for the broadband development organization and was the lead author on the grant acquisition.

“Access to adequate and affordable broadband service continues to be an issue of equity and economic development for our region,” said MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya. “Broadband must be recognized as an essential utility. We are proud to partner with CCBC to advance the broadband goals of our region.”

The City of Watsonville will serve as the fiscal agent for the CASF grant.

“This award will not only move the region closer to attaining the broadband and connectivity necessary for our residents and communities to prosper, but it affirms one of the core principles of MBEP and CCBC — that only by working together can we hope to solve and address the difficult issues facing our Monterey Bay Region,” said Watsonville City Manager Rene Mendez.

“The Central Coast believes, and is proving, that the solutions we seek for our communities are best addressed regionally,” said Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez. “Working together we will improve access to broadband and with that the lives and outcomes for our friends and neighbors. We are grateful for the award which will accelerate our joint efforts.”

About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

About Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC):

Central Coast Broadband Consortium is a broadband development organization with over a 20-year history in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties. Its representation is composed of local city and county agencies, educational institutions, industry, and economic development interests, and community-based organizations. 

10.28.22 - Leaders Gather for Day Two of California Economic Summit
Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Leaders Gather for Day Two of California Economic Summit: MBEP President &CEO Tahra Goraya Featured in Session on Regions-Up Solutions

(Marina, CA. Oct. 28, 2022) – The largest California Economic Summit ever kicked off Thursday, Oct. 27 in Bakersfield for two days of critical discussion, working sessions, networking and more, with close to 1,000 people attending in person.

As California and the rest of the country emerges from the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Economic Summit opened with conversations focused on economic, climate and energy, housing and broadband issues facing the state.

“We’re the fourth largest economy in the world, with the highest effective poverty rate,” said Antonio Villaraigosa, infrastructure advisor to Governor Newsom, who also attended the summit. “We have too many people that are working every single day and they’re not making it.”

Labor leader Dolores Huerta, Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh, Kern County Supervisor Zack Scrivner and other leaders also addressed the crowd, before attendees broke into working sessions to shape policy recommendations for the coming year.

Returning to her hometown of Bakersfield, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership President & CEO Tahra Goraya was among the featured speakers in a plenary session Friday, Oct. 28 on “Regions Up Solutions to Create a Just and Sustainable State” on day two of the California Economic Summit. The discussion focused on regional solutions to help reimagine a California that is more equitable and resilient and helps to redress the racial and economic inequities that have made the California dream increasingly elusive for far too many.

Joining Goraya in the plenary session were State Treasurer Fiona Ma, State Assembly Members Buffy Wicks and Rudy Salas, State Sen. Scott Wiener, California Forward CEO Micah Weinberg, Kern County Superintendent of Schools Mary Barlow, and close to a dozen community, education, business and labor leaders.

Over the last decade, California Forward’s (CA FWD) California Economic Summit has been the flagship event where regional leaders from business, community, government, philanthropy and industry collaborate and move forward an agenda that balances racial and geographic equity, environmental sustainability and economic growth

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About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) 

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

Click here for a PDF version of this press release.

10.25.22 - San Benito County to Receive State Broadband Investments to Reduce Digital Divide
Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

San Benito County to Receive State Broadband Investments to Reduce Digital Divide

(Marina, CA. Oct. 25, 2022) – Digital equity and infrastructure in San Benito County are receiving investments of state broadband funding, with the announcement of a broadband technical assistance grant to support efforts to close the digital divide.

The County of San Benito will get approximately $500,000 in Local Agency Technical Assistance grants from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as a result of those efforts. The awards, announced by the CPUC on Oct. 21, are the largest award of state broadband funds to local governments to date, totaling $14 million in grants to 28 local governments across California. 

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) congratulates San Benito County officials for their efforts to close the digital divide. Rural counties often struggle with broadband access because of the challenges ISPs face in making infrastructure investments economically feasible, while geography and affordability can also compound the barriers to equal access.

“The relatively high cost of deployment in many rural areas has historically left these communities underserved by traditional providers,” said CPUC Commissioner Darcie L. Houck. “Technical Assistance grants will aid local agencies and Tribes in their efforts to fill the gaps left behind, helping to ensure economic opportunity and public safety for rural residents, businesses, and visitors.”

“These are incredibly transformative investments into the economy of our region,” said MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya. “Reliable, high-speed broadband access impacts so many areas of our day-to-day lives, from how we live and learn to how we communicate and connect.” 

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About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) 

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

10.24.22 - Local Monterey County Governments Get Record State Broadband Investment

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Local Monterey County Governments Get Record State Broadband Investment

(Marina, CA. Oct. 24, 2022) – Digital equity and infrastructure in Monterey County are receiving a record investment of state broadband funding, with the announcement of $2.5 million in broadband technical assistance grants to local municipalities to support efforts to close the digital divide.

The cities of Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, Soledad, and the County of Monterey will each get approximately $500,000 in Local Agency Technical Assistance grants from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) as the result of those efforts. The awards, announced by the CPUC on Oct. 21, are the largest award of state broadband funds to local governments to date, totaling $14 million in grants to 28 local governments across California. 

Partnering with the Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA), Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) coordinated the applications with the south Salinas Valley cities of Gonzales, Greenfield, Soledad, King City, and the County of Monterey that will develop and oversee the expansion of broadband service in south Monterey County. Rural counties often struggle with broadband access because of the challenges ISPs face in making infrastructure investments economically feasible, while geography and affordability can also compound the barriers to equal access.

“The relatively high cost of deployment in many rural areas has historically left these communities underserved by traditional providers,” said CPUC Commissioner Darcie L. Houck. “Technical Assistance grants will aid local agencies and Tribes in their efforts to fill the gaps left behind, helping to ensure economic opportunity and public safety for rural residents, businesses, and visitors.”

“These are incredibly transformative investments into the economy of our south county cities and unincorporated areas of Monterey County,” said MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya. “Reliable, high-speed broadband access impacts so many areas of our day-to-day lives. The coalitions we’re building and investments we are making will have long-range impacts on families, students and individuals, on small business owners and entrepreneurs and innovation, and the region as a whole.”

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) works to address digital inequity and access issues and establish minimum broadband standards. As part of its broadband initiative, MBEP convenes state, city and county governments, county offices of education, and ISPs together to explore how to facilitate high-speed broadband coverage for all residents of the Monterey Bay region. MBEP also serves as the Executive Director of the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority (SSVBA).

The Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA) is a joint powers authority created by the 38-county Rural County Representatives of California for the purpose of increasing access to reliable, affordable high-speed Internet for the residents and businesses of those counties. Seven cities and 21 different counties across the state received Local Agency Technical Assistance grants from the CPUC as part of a larger effort by the Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA) to build and operate open access fiber-to-the-home networks in California’s rural counties.

The latest round of funding will be used for planning costs for the middle-mile fiber route buildout and last-mile fiber or engineered wireless connections that will ultimately create an open access network serving all residents of those south county cities and unincorporated Monterey County.

“These grants are valuable to plan how we are going to build out this broadband model,” said Alexia Garcia, Broadband and Farmworker Housing Policy Manager for the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership. 

In some cases, those middle-mile connections come down to four strands of dark fiber, no larger than a human hair, but with an oversized impact on how we live, learn, communicate and connect. 

“The things we saw in the pandemic — families parked around school buses or in library parking lots for hours at a time so their kids could access wi-fi hotspots, students struggling to learn through spotty internet service and dropped connections, and the unforgettable photo of two young girls in a Taco Bell parking lot — those things helped galvanize public opinion and political will to address the inequities of the digital divide,” said MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya.“Spurred in part by those experiences and the high costs of infrastructure investments, local leaders in collaboration with Rural County Representatives of California are proactively working to maximize resources and collectively meet their broadband infrastructure needs.”

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About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

PACIFIC COAST BUSINESS TIMES 10.21.22 - Central Coast economic development initiative scores $5M state grant
BENITO LINK 10.21.22 - Local leaders partake in panels in regional conference
10.20.22 - Uplift Central Coast Coalition secures $5 million planning grant for six-county region

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Uplift Central Coast Coalition secures $5 million planning grant for six-county region

The six-county Uplift Central Coast Coalition, led by REACH, the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) and the Economic Development Collaborative (EDC), has been awarded a $5 million grant through California’s Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF). 

The grant will fund a 2-year planning process to create an inclusive economic development plan for the six Central Coast counties of Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura, with a focus on equity, sustainability, job quality, economic competitiveness and resilience. 

The Uplift Coalition will then be eligible to apply for additional implementation funding under CERF, a $600 million program designed to catalyze planning and action to realize an equitable and sustainable economy across California’s diverse regions and to foster long-term economic resilience. 

“This expansive coastal region extending from Santa Cruz to Ventura has a lot in common. We share persistent and emerging economic challenges including extreme socio-economic disparities, high costs of living, and often highly uneven impacts of climate change,” REACH President & CEO Melissa James said. “We are excited for this promising new opportunity to expand our network and bring resources to our region to spur economic opportunity for those who need it most.”

The Uplift Coalition is one of 13 regional collaboratives across the state to be awarded CERF planning grants. Read the announcement from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, and the Labor & Workforce Development Agency here and find the Uplift project summary here (page 15).

Formed in 2021, the coalition shares a common mission: to uplift the region’s residents as it uplifts the regional economy, growing from within to create transformative opportunities for more than 2 million people across an area larger than 10 states. 

“We know there was a widely disproportionate impact on minority workers from the COVID-19 pandemic,” EDC President & CEO Bruce Stenslie said. “Now we have an opportunity to address that and foster economic development investments for the region in a deliberate, thoughtful and disruptive way.”

In developing the grant application, the Uplift Coalition hosted three virtual public webinars to 

facilitate open dialogue and input on the project plan, engaging more than 400 people from industry, government and education partners across the six counties. As part of the application package, 129 organizations representing more than a dozen different community sectors and perspectives provided letters of support, forming a strong regional collaborative that will be expanded over the course of the project.

The 2-year planning process also involves implementing an inclusive outreach and engagement plan and ultimately developing a collaborative regional plan. 

Under the project plan, the Economic Development Collaborative will serve as the Fiscal Agent, managing the grant funds, and REACH will serve as Regional Convener, leading stakeholder engagement and plan development. REACH, EDC and MBEP will each serve as a co-convener in their respective subregions. 

“We’re very excited for this opportunity to meaningfully and intentionally engage stakeholders for the inclusive planning and development for our region and do our part to uplift our entire region, especially those in disinvested communities,” said MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya.

Contacts

Sally Buffalo-Taylor
REACH
803.415.4150
[email protected]

Marie Vasari Hislop

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
(831) 224-2132
[email protected]

Tracie Schneider
Economic Development Collaborative
805.279.4534
[email protected]

 

About the Uplift Central Coast Coalition
The Uplift Central Coast Coalition is a six-county partnership led by three economic development organizations — the Economic Development Collaborative, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and REACH — that has united to attract investment and expand opportunity for residents throughout Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

About Economic Development Collaborative

A private nonprofit, the Economic Development Collaborative was founded in 1996 with funding from the County of Ventura, the 10 cities in the county and key private-sector companies to provide a pathway to business growth, economic prosperity and high quality of life for all. Today, in partnership with the Small Business Development Center, the EDC is a regional asset for economic vitality in Ventura, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties, giving businesses, community partners and civic leaders the resources they need to succeed. By leveraging public and private funds, the EDC has become a key player in delivering business consulting, funding and strategic initiatives that support the region. edcollaborative.com

About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional nonprofit member-supported organization consisting of public, private and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz. MBEP’s mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region. mbep.biz 

About REACH
REACH is a regional economic action coalition created to ensure the Central Coast of California is a place where current and future generations have the opportunity to thrive. With a mission to increase economic prosperity through big thinking, bold action and regional collaboration and the goal of creating 15,000 good-paying jobs by 2030, REACH serves the Central Coast region spanning San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties. reachcentralcoast.org

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Click here for a PDF version of this press release.

10.20.22 - Broadband Infrastructure, Housing, and a More Equitable Economy: Deep Discussions Come Together at MBEP’s Annual State of the Region

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Broadband Infrastructure, Housing, and a More Equitable Economy: Deep Discussions Come Together at MBEP’s Annual State of the Region

(Marina, CA. Oct. 20, 2022) – When Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) hosted its 8th Annual State of the Region on Friday, Oct. 14, it brought together a cross-sector gathering of public, private and civic leaders to discuss some of the biggest challenges facing the region, from broadband infrastructure and the digital divide to affordable housing and inclusive economic recovery and development. After two years of virtual events, it was exhilarating to engage — live and in person — with nearly 300 leaders from across the tri-county region at the beautiful California State University, Monterey Bay campus.

Among the speakers were Rep. Jimmy Panetta, Sen. John  Laird, Assemblymember Robert Rivas, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia Larive, CSU Monterey Bay President Vanya Quinonez, Monterey County Supervisors Chris Lopez and Wendy Root Askew, San Benito County Supervisor Betsy Dirks, and Chairman Valentine Lopez of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. The day fostered the kinds of conversations, collaborations, and conceptual thinking that can help shape the way those big challenges will be met, while intentionally lining the path toward a more equitable economy.

In a deeply engaging and witty talk drawing from decades of research, keynote speakers Dr. Chris Benner and Dr. Manuel Pastor delivered a thought-provoking message for our time, reenvisioning a robust, sustainable, and equitable economy and a road map and conceptual framework for equity-driven economic reform.

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership Board President Cynthia Larive and MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya presented the 2022 Community Impact Award to Monterey County Homeless Services Director Roxanne Wilson and to former Watsonville City Manager Rene Mendez.

Formerly executive director of the Coalition of Homeless Services Providers, Wilson’s impact serving our most vulnerable residents through a housing-first approach, advocating for increased housing supply, and championing cross-sectoral collaboration, has catalyzed significant and ongoing systems change in our communities. 

One of the founders of MBEP, Mendez has made a tremendous impact in our region as a steadfast advocate to reduce the digital divide by helping form the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority.

Check out this short video recap of MBEP’s 8th Annual State of the Region, then visit MBEP’s website to view individual panel discussions and each of our guest speakers. (All photos and video are courtesy of Lucid Sound and Picture.)

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About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

Click here for a PDF version of this press release.

10.19.22 - Monterey Bay Economic Partnership Joins Regional Leaders in Roundtable with California Infrastructure Advisor Antonio Villaraigosa

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership Joins Regional Leaders in Roundtable with California Infrastructure Advisor Antonio Villaraigosa

(Marina, CA., Oct. 19, 2022) – Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) President & CEO Tahra Goraya was among a group of regional leaders that met with California’s newly appointed Infrastructure Advisor Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday as part of an infrastructure roundtable and site visit.

Villaraigosa, who previously served as the mayor of Los Angeles, was appointed to the newly created state post by Gov. Gavin Newsom in August. He serves as the key state liaison for local elected officials on infrastructure needs, and in that role, is meeting with local, state, and federal leaders to identify priority projects and maximize access to federal funding across all regions of the state. 

The roundtable at California State University, Monterey Bay was attended by representatives from local governments, transit agencies, labor, and tribal leaders from across Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties, as regions move to harness a once-in-a-generation investment under the federal infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Road expansion, rail transportation, dams and water infrastructure, and middle-mile and last-mile broadband infrastructure were among the regional needs under discussion. Several site visits were also conducted by Villaraigosa and his team.

“Addressing our infrastructure needs is essential if we truly aim to be an economic engine as a region,” said MBEP President and CEO Tahra Goraya. “Infrastructure is about keeping people in their communities with accessibility to good and family-sustaining jobs and about retaining innovative companies in our region. We need to invest in our roads and highways to mitigate multi-hour commutes, in rail for moving essential goods, in transitioning to zero-emission public transit for the health of our planet, and in fixed wireless technology to bridge the digital divide in rural parts of the region, and we need to do so in intelligent ways to maximize historic infrastructure investments.”

About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.


10.7.22 - Equity-Driven Economics is a Central Theme of MBEP 8th Annual State of the Region
Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Equity-Driven Economics is a Central Theme of MBEP 8th Annual State of the Region

(Marina, CA, Oct. 7, 2022) – Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) will host its 8th Annual State of the Region, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, at California State University, Monterey Bay. Featuring presentations and conversations on critical issues for the region, the annual convening will take place in person after two years of virtual events and brings together public, private and civic leaders from Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties and beyond. A key theme is how to drive equitable regional economic recovery and development in the Monterey Bay region. 

The keynote speakers will be UCSC Sociology and Environmental Studies Professor Chris Benner and USC Distinguished Professor of Sociology Manuel Pastor, whose book Solidarity Economics: Why Mutuality and Movements Matter, offers a road map and conceptual framework for equity-driven economic reform in the United States. 

In a world wracked by inequality, social divisions, and ecological destruction, Pastor and Benner help us envision alternative economics based on mutual cooperation, reframing what we so often refer to as “the” economy — built on an abstract set of rules — into “our” economy.

Based on decades of research and collaboration, “Solidarity Economics” shows that places that are more equitable and invested in mutuality and common governance structures do better economically, and social movements that confront power and shift structures in society are central to building the economy. Together, Benner and Pastor invite us to imagine and create a new sort of solidarity economics — an approach grounded in our instincts for connection and community — and in so doing, actually build a more robust, sustainable, and equitable economy.

MBEP’s 8th Annual State of the Region features a thought-provoking lineup of presenters: Legislative updates from Congressman Jimmy Panetta, Assemblymember Robert Rivas, and Sen. John Laird, acclaimed National Geographic Photographer-in-Residence Frans Lanting, and award-winning writer, editor and videographer Chris Eckstrom, who will be presenting on Bay of Life, a project showcasing the region’s natural richness in the context of human occupation and environmental impacts. Panel discussions include Broadband – Building Infrastructure to Reduce the Digital Divide & Advance Economic Growth; Housing, Homelessness, and 6th Cycle RHNA; Living with the Pandemic – Lessons Learned; Centering Equity in Programming, Policies and Jobs; and Advancing PK-16 Educational Collaboratives. Read more about these presenters here.

“MBEP’s 8th Annual State of the Region couldn’t be more timely, as we work to transform our regional economy for a more inclusive and resilient tomorrow,” says MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya. “Now more than ever, we need to build cross-sector collaborations and engage in the compelling conversations that occur when you bring together leaders, policymakers and stakeholders from across the region and state.”

Dr. Chris Benner is the Dorothy E. Everett Chair in Global Information and Social Entrepreneurship, and a Professor of Environmental Studies and Sociology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He currently directs the Everett Program for Technology and Social Change and the Institute for Social Transformation. 

Manuel Pastor is a Distinguished Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California (USC). He currently directs the Equity Research Institute at USC. Pastor currently serves on California Governor Gavin Newsom’s Council of Economic Advisors and on the California Business and Jobs Recovery Task Force.

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

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Click here for a PDF version of this press release.

10.5.22 - Broadband Infrastructure, Housing, and a More Equitable Economy: Deep Discussions Come Together at MBEP’s Annual State of the Region

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Broadband Infrastructure, Housing, and a More Equitable Economy: Deep Discussions Come Together at MBEP’s Annual State of the Region

(Marina, CA, Oct. 5, 2022) – Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) announces the addition of informative panels to its 8th Annual State of the Region lineup next week. 

Broadband – Building Infrastructure to Reduce the Digital Divide & Advance Economic Growth, a panel discussion moderated by MBEP Broadband & Farmworker Housing Manager Alexia Garcia, will explore how a mix of infrastructure, forward-thinking, and collaboration are helping bridge the digital divide in the Monterey Bay region, with a look at local successes and what the future of digital equity could look like for our communities. Panelists include Cruzio Internet Business Operations & Development Director James Hackett, Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez (District 3),  Rural County Representatives of California Legislative Advocate Tracy Rhine, and Joint Venture Silicon Valley Wireless Communications Initiative Executive Director David Witowski. 

Housing, Homelessness, and 6th Cycle RHNA, a panel discussion moderated by MBEP Director for Strategic Initiatives – Housing and Broadband Alyssa Kroeger, will examine the needs, challenges, and opportunities to create affordable homes in our communities as we embark on our region’s 6th Cycle Housing Element process and explores how community engagement and plans to end homelessness intersect.

Updated every eight years, the Housing Element is a critical component in community development planning and an opportunity to think outside the box in planning for the specific needs of a resilient community. As the needs of populations fluctuate, Housing Elements create a roadmap to ensure that a supply of quality, affordable housing is available throughout the region. Panelists will include Monterey County Supervisor Wendy Root Askew (District 4), Coalition of Homeless Service Providers Executive Director Genevieve Lucas-Conwell, and San Benito County Supervisor Betsy Dirks (District 1).  

MBEP’s 8th Annual State of the Region, taking place on Friday, Oct. 14 at CSUMB’s University Center, will also feature Sen. John Laird, UC Santa Cruz Chancellor and MBEP Board Chair Cynthia Larive, and California State University, Monterey Bay President Vanya Quiñones, Rep. Jimmy Panetta, Dr. Chris Benner and Dr. Manuel Pastor of Solidarity Economics, Assemblymember Robert Rivas, world-renowned photographer Frans Lanting, and writer and videographer Chris Eckstrom. Read more about these presenters here.

For interview requests or media access, please contact [email protected] or call (831) 224-2132.

About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

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Click here for a PDF version of this press release.

9.23.22 - New Presenters Announced for MBEP 8th Annual State of the Region
Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Presenters Announced for MBEP 8th Annual State of the Region

(Marina, CA, Sept. 23, 2022) – Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) will host its 8th Annual State of the Region, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, at the University Center at California State University, Monterey Bay. Featuring presentations and conversations on critical issues for the region, the annual convening will take place in person after two years of virtual events.

MBEP’s 8th Annual State of the Region brings together public, private and civic leaders from Monterey, Santa Cruz and San Benito counties and beyond, to focus on critical issues impacting the economic health and quality of life in the region: How do we drive equitable regional economic recovery and development? How do we attain housing for all across all income levels in a time of sky-high housing costs and limited construction? How do we reduce the digital divide so that businesses, students and residents alike can access education, health care and social services? How can we come together to shape policy and legislation that meets the long-term needs of our region? And how do we foster inclusive, cross-sector partnerships that ensure regional well-being for all?

Newly announced in our diverse lineup of presenters are Assemblymember Robert Rivas, acclaimed National Geographic Photographer-in-Residence Frans Lanting, and award-winning writer, editor and videographer Chris Eckstrom will be presenting on Bay of Life, a project showcasing the region’s natural richness in the context of human occupation and environmental impacts. 

Chris Benner and Manuel Pastor of Solidarity Economics will discuss their approach to address widening income inequality, rising economic insecurities, and growing social and racial fragmentation while also promoting innovation and economic growth where businesses can thrive. Congressman Jimmy Panetta will provide a federal legislative update on policies and programs impacting our region. Read more about these presenters here and stay tuned in the coming weeks for additional speakers and agenda items.

“MBEP’s 8th Annual State of the Region couldn’t be more timely, as we work to transform our regional economy for a more inclusive and resilient tomorrow,” says MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya. “Now more than ever, we need to build cross-sector collaborations and engage in the compelling conversations that occur when you bring together leaders, policymakers and stakeholders from across the region and state.”

Sponsorship opportunities are available and early-bird registration is now underway at the following link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/8th-annual-state-of-the-region-tickets-399183106417.

To learn more about how your organization can support Monterey Bay Economic Partnership’s mission of improving the economic health and quality of life in the tri-county region, contact MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya at [email protected] or Marketing Communications Manager Jessica Gilden at [email protected].

About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP): 

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

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Click here for a PDF version of this press release.

9.12.22 - San Benito County Community Invited to Housing Element Workshop
Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

San Benito County Community Invited to Housing Element Workshop

(Hollister, CA) – Join Monterey Bay Economic Partnership in collaboration with the Council of San Benito County Governments, the City of Hollister, the County of San Benito, the City of San Juan Bautista, and the Community Foundation for San Benito County for an educational San Benito County Housing Element Workshop to demystify the 6th Cycle Housing Element process as jurisdictions in San Benito County begin their own respective efforts to prepare their  6th Cycle Housing Elements.

Updated every eight years, the Housing Element is a critical component in community development planning. The Housing Element process allows cities and counties to create an approach to housing that is specific to the needs of their communities. As the needs of populations fluctuate, Housing Elements create a roadmap to ensure that a supply of quality, affordable housing is available throughout the region. 

“I strongly encourage residents to take part in this process. The Housing Element is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to engage on housing accessibility, preservation, and development to meet local  jurisdictions’ community development goals,” says Alyssa Kroeger, MBEP Director of Strategic Initiatives – Housing & Broadband. “Our counties and cities need  help to better understand ways that local plans can incorporate Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) requirements, identify suitable housing sites, and result in sustainable communities for residents of all income levels.”  

Housing Element Workshop for San Benito County Jurisdictions: 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, Community Foundation Epicenter, 440 San Benito Street, Hollister CA 95023

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP): Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

Council of San Benito County Governments (SBCOG): The Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors held numerous public accessible meetings to deliberate about how best to allocate the region’s housing need to the local cities and county. COG appreciates the public’s participation throughout the process of developing the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), particularly at public hearings and during public comment periods. 

City of Hollister: The City of Hollister invites community members to participate in this vital Housing Element update process. The City will provide future public engagement activities to identify goals, objectives, and policies, to address housing needs across all economic and social spectrums specific to our community.

County of San Benito: The County of San Benito is eager to engage the community in the sixth cycle of the Housing Element. We are excited to build partnerships within the community to collaborate on strategies to increase affordable housing within the unincorporated area of the county in an effort to foster equity within the housing stock.

City of San Juan Bautista: ​​ The City of San Juan Bautista conserves and protects its historic community character as it seeks to meet important inclusive, equitable, and sustainable housing needs for all income levels through new development, rehabilitation, and housing for special needs populations.

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9.6.22 - San Jerardo Cooperative Broadband Project: Celebrating Public-Private Partnerships Community Invited to Celebration
Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

San Jerardo Cooperative Broadband Project: Celebrating Public-Private Partnerships
Community Invited to Celebration

(Marina, CA, Sept. 6, 2022) – Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is celebrating the successful implementation of a campaign to bring high-speed broadband to households in the San Jerardo Cooperative as part of Equal Access Monterey Bay, an initiative designed to close the digital divide for all residents of the Monterey Bay region by bringing modern infrastructure and economically accessible connectivity to communities where ISPs could not otherwise break even. Every household at the San Jerardo Cooperative is now wired for high-speed broadband, provided at no charge to them for the next five years.

Completion of the San Jerardo Co-op initiative marks a real success story for Monterey County. This project is a collaboration with Equal Access Monterey Bay, Cruzio Internet, MBEP, the Monterey County IT Department, Central Coast Broadband Consortium (CCBC) and community organizations. Funded by a CPUC grant to Cruzio, the San Jerardo Co-op demonstrates how focused public-private collaborations can address complex challenges and serves as a model for addressing the digital chasm in other communities.  

Community is invited to celebrate the completion of the project which will provide free high speed broadband. Representatives from Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and Cruzio Internet will be joined by residents of the farmworker housing community, local and state elected officials, and representatives from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) for a ribbon-cutting on:

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 7 

Location:  San Jerardo Cooperative, 24500 Calle El Rosario, Salinas. 

Time:  Celebration begins at 4 p.m., program runs from 5-7 p.m.

Invited guests include California Public Utilities Commissioner Darcie L. Houck, former CPUC Commissioner Guzman-Acevez, U.S Rep. Jimmy Panetta, State Sen. Anna Caballero, Assemblymember Robert Rivas, Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez, Alisal Union School District Superintendent Jim Koenig, and Monterey Bay Economic Partnership President and CEO Tahra Goraya.

“High-speed internet is truly essential to how we live and work today, to how we access health care and education, public services and social connection,” says MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya. “Bringing broadband to San Jerardo Cooperative lifts up not only its residents but the region as a whole, with a positive impact on economic growth and household income, business development and job creation.

About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP): 

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

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9.2.22 - MBEP-Supported Bills Headed to Governor’s Desk to Increase Broadband Access and Housing

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MBEP-Supported Bills Headed to Governor’s Desk to Increase Broadband Access
and Housing

(Marina, CA, Sept. 2, 2022) – Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) strongly urges Governor Newsom to sign bills headed to his desk including Assembly Bill 2011 (Wicks, D-Oakland). This is a significant piece of legislation that advances housing production and feasibility and moves the state forward on labor, economic, and environmental fronts. If signed, underutilized commercial properties could be converted into approximately 2.4 million homes statewide, including up to 400,000 income-restricted affordable homes, increasing net local and state tax revenues while significantly reducing water consumption, vehicle miles and greenhouse gas emissions. 

AB 2011 is among several bills supported by MBEP this legislative season and now headed to the governor’s desk. Below is a comprehensive list of MBEP’s supported bills.

Housing Production

  • AB 2097 (Laura Friedman, D-Glendale) will reduce housing costs by eliminating parking mandates for homes and commercial buildings near transit or in neighborhoods with low rates of car use. 
  • SB 6 (Anna Caballero, D-Merced) authorizes housing on parcels zoned for office, retail, parking, or commercial use. 
  • AB 2234 (Robert Rivas, D-Salinas) will create a framework for local governments to process residential building permits more efficiently and cost-effectively. 
  • AB 2295 (Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica) will make it easier for school districts to build housing on land they already own.

Broadband:

  • AB 2752 (Jim Wood, D-Santa Rosa) will require the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to map last-mile connections from California’s middle-mile network and collect data at the household level, improving maps defining broadband access statewide and supporting equitable and efficient deployment. 

Policy advocacy is critical to MBEP’s mission of improving quality of life in the Monterey Bay region. A member-supported nonprofit organization, MBEP builds cross-sector regional collaborations to advance policy issues important to the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Together, with members, MBEP tackles some of the biggest issues facing the region in Housing, Broadband, and Economic and Workforce Development. 

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7.14.22 - MBEP Applauds Appointment of California State University, Monterey Bay President Vanya Quiñones
Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MBEP Applauds Appointment of California State University, Monterey Bay President Vanya Quiñones

(Marina, CA, July 14, 2022) – The California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees has appointed Vanya Quiñones, Ph.D., to serve as the fourth president of California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). Quiñones currently serves as provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Pace University in New York. Quiñones will assume the campus presidency on Aug. 15, 2022.

 

A neurobiologist, biopsychologist and noted researcher, Quiñones has published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles. Over the course of a 20-plus-year career at the City University of New York (CUNY) – Hunter College, Quiñones served as an assistant, associate, and full professor in the Department of Psychology before being appointed to serve as the chair of the department. She was later promoted to the role of associate provost. In 2018, she was appointed to her current position of provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs at Pace University where she also holds the rank of full professor in the Department of Psychology. Her portfolio of responsibilities includes oversight of all academic and student-related academic offices and personnel as well as Information Technology.

Quiñones earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and master’s degree in cell biology, both from the University of Puerto Rico, and a Ph.D. in neurobiology and physiology from Rutgers University. (Read more about Quiñones on the California State University Board of Trustees website.)

“We’re delighted to welcome Vanya Quiñones as the new president of California State University, Monterey Bay,” said Monterey Bay Economic Partnership President & CEO Tahra Goraya. “Since the inception of Monterey Bay Economic Partnership in 2015, CSUMB has been an integral partner in MBEP’s mission of improving the well-being of the region, and we look forward to continuing that work with Dr. Quiñones at the helm. She brings a wealth of experience and accomplishment that will further the university’s role in creating a transformative experience for students as well as in bettering the economic well-being of the region.” 

About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

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6.6.22 - Monterey Bay Economic Partnership Endorses Safe, Affordable, Quality Child Care Act

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership Endorses Safe, Affordable, Quality Child Care Act 

(Marina, CA) – Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) joins a bipartisan group of local leaders across Monterey County to endorse the Safe, Affordable, Quality Child Care Act.

MBEP President and CEO Tahra Goraya joined a press conference on Monday, June 6 at Hartnell College as Care for Monterey County Kids introduced the Safe, Affordable, Quality Child Care Act, a Citizens’ Initiative aimed at improving the quality and availability of affordable child care and preschool in Monterey County.

With signatures certified by the Registrar of Voters, this Act will go to the voters this November. 

The grassroots initiative would raise approximately $5.5 million annually to support early education programs and services in Monterey County. MBEP joins a long and growing list of supporters from local, state and federal elected officials to parents, educators, business owners, community advocates, and people working across multiple sectors like tourism, agricultural, and early care and education sectors. 

“Monterey Bay Economic Partnership is proud to endorse the Safe, Affordable, Quality Child Care Act that would raise $5.5 million annually to support early childhood education programs and services in Monterey County,” said MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya. “Bottom line is that investing in high-quality early childhood education makes good business sense. Supporting our parents and current workforce bolsters business and economy today while educating and building the workforce for tomorrow with strong and quality education for our children.”

Improving access to affordable child care and early education isn’t just vital to the future success of children, it’s also an economic issue: Too many workers can’t access the safe, affordable, quality child care and preschool needed for their children while they return to work, and only one in four children in Monterey County is ready for kindergarten because too many families lack access to early childhood education. 

As of today, the initiative has collected over 10,000 signatures from registered voters in Monterey County, far surpassing the 5,882-signature threshold needed to qualify for the November ballot. This event marks the culmination of the signature-gathering drive and the signatures will be turned in to the Registrar of Voters on June 7th.  

For more information about the Safe, Affordable, Quality Child Care Act, go to

www.Yes4MontereyCountyKids.org.

About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

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6.1.22 - MBEP Collaborates with Regional Partners for Broadband Connectivity in South Monterey County

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MBEP Collaborates with Regional Partners for Broadband Connectivity in South Monterey County

(Marina, CA) –

A signing ceremony formalizing the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement (JPA) between the cities of King, Greenfield, Soledad, and Gonzales and the County of Monterey to create the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority took place Friday, May 27 at Gonzales City Hall. 

The JPA brings the South County cities and the County together and allows them to pool resources needed to develop and implement a Community Broadband Network that will provide the necessary and affordable internet and broadband needed in these cities and permanently end the digital divide. This network will cover the entirety of the South Salinas Valley region, within city limits and in unincorporated areas, to provide access for all communities at a reasonable price.

The formation of this JPA is one of the initiatives of Salinas Valley Five Cities (SVFC), which includes Salinas, King City, Greenfield, Soledad and Gonzales and is focused on the well-being of the Salinas Valley and the lives of students, families, and the valley’s workforce. Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez worked closely with the SVFC and has been the driving force behind creating the JPA. Key partners and collaborators include Hartnell College, the Monterey County Office of Education, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), and Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA).  Supervisor Lopez’s leadership within RCRC and GSCA was instrumental in establishing partnerships with these organizations and they will work closely with the JPA to design, fund, and develop the Community Broadband Network.

The JPA establishes the governance foundation that will coordinate development of the framework, establish the geographic area, invite collaboration and economies of scale, and most importantly, apply the equity lens needed to put forward compelling and competitive funding applications resulting in the ability to deliver broadband for all in South County. Partnering with RCRC and GSCA will provide the JPA access to technical assistance and financing sources necessary to deploy an open-access municipal broadband network. Initial funding for administrative support of the JPA will be provided by members of the JPA. MBEP will provide consultation to the JPA.

MBEP President and CEO Tahra Goraya described the JPA’s formation as a trailblazing move built upon the efforts of many unsung advocates who have worked relentlessly to advance awareness of issues around broadband equity and infrastructure, including Gonzales City Manager René Mendez, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership Chief Operating Officer and Broadband Director Freny Cooper, and Steve Blum of Tellus Venture Associates.

“Congratulations to all of our partners who worked tirelessly on this effort; special thanks to Supervisor Lopez, and City Manager Mendez for their leadership. Monterey Bay Economic Partnership believes that high-speed broadband is an essential service in today’s society and should be accessible and affordable for all residents in the Monterey Bay region as we strive toward healthy communities and inclusive economies,” said MBEP President and CEO Tahra Goraya. “Our organization has long worked to bring solutions that can close the digital divide and we are proud to be a partner in moving this collaboration and JPA forward.”

Soledad Mayor Anna Velazquez said the JPA changes the narrative and paves the way for rural cities across California.

“It is incredibly unfortunate that it took a global pandemic to show that we can no longer wait to secure high-speed internet,” said Velasquez, “but it is incredibly fortunate that, working together at the local, county, state level, this is the beginning of a new business model for providing broadband in rural communities and the South County region. All of Monterey County will do better when all of Monterey County is connected to real, high-speed internet.” 

View a recording of the signing ceremony, which streamed live on the City of Gonzales’ Facebook page, here.

About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

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5.27.22 - MBEP Collaborates with Regional Partners for Broadband: Signing Ceremony Formalizes the Creation of the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority between the cities of King, Greenfield, Soledad, and Gonzales and Monterey County
Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MBEP Collaborates with Regional Partners for Broadband: Signing Ceremony Formalizes the Creation of the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority between the cities of King, Greenfield, Soledad, and Gonzales and Monterey County

(Marina, CA) – A signing ceremony formalizing the Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement (JPA) between the cities of King, Greenfield, Soledad, and Gonzales and the County of Monterey to create the South Salinas Valley Broadband Authority will take place Friday, May 27 in the Gonzales City Council Chambers. The signing ceremony will be available to watch via zoom (Webinar ID: 862 8681 2461, Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86286812461) and will be streamed live on the City of Gonzales’ Facebook page.

The formation of this JPA is one of the initiatives of the Salinas Valley Five Cities (SVFC) which is focused on the well-being of the Salinas Valley and the lives of students, families, and the valley’s workforce. Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez has been a driving force behind creating the JPA. Key partners and collaborators include Hartnell College, the Monterey County Office of Education, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), Rural County Representatives of California (RCRC), and Golden State Connect Authority (GSCA).  Lopez’s leadership at RCRC and GSCA was instrumental in establishing partnerships with these organizations and they will work closely with the JPA to design, fund, and develop the Community Broadband Network.

“Congratulations to all of our partners who worked tirelessly on this effort; special thanks to Supervisor Lopez, and City Manager Mendez for their leadership. Monterey Bay Economic Partnership believes that high-speed broadband is an essential service in today’s society and should be accessible and affordable for all residents in the Monterey Bay region as we strive toward healthy communities and inclusive economies,” said MBEP President and CEO Tahra Goraya. “Our organization has long worked to bring solutions that can close the digital divide and we are proud to be a partner in moving this collaboration forward.”

The JPA establishes the governance foundation that will coordinate development of the framework, establish the geographic area, invite collaboration and economies of scale, and most importantly, apply the equity lens needed to put forward compelling and competitive funding applications resulting in the ability to deliver broadband for all in South County.  Partnering with RCRC and GSCA will provide the JPA access to technical assistance and financing sources necessary to deploy an open-access municipal broadband network. Initial funding for administrative support of the JPA will be provided by members of the JPA. Each of the four cities and the county have approved annual contributions of $25,000 for three years.

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

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AVIATION PROS: 5.24.22 - Joby Aviation, Marina, Monterey County, Recognized for Partnership

https://www.aviationpros.com/aircraft/business-general-aviation/news/21268783/joby-aviation-marina-monterey-county-recognized-for-partnership

5.20.22 - Recap Available: Monterey Bay Economic Partnership’s 8th Annual Economic Outlook

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Recap Available: Monterey Bay Economic Partnership’s 8th Annual Economic Outlook

(Marina, CA) –

When it comes to the state of the American economy, there’s the public perception about the economy, and then there’s the data about the economy. Delivering a data-driven economic analysis at MBEP’s 8th Annual Economic Outlook on May 20, economist Christopher Thornberg said the gap between the public narrative and the objective analysis of actual data has many Americans believing that the U.S. economy is in far worse shape than it actually is… But ultimately, the biggest driver to economic well-being has to be housing, and particularly so here in the Monterey Bay region, said Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics and director of the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development, who titled his presentation “The Post-Covid New World Order: The Short and Long of It…What Does It Mean for Monterey Bay?” Watch the video here or access slides here. 

What’s slowing the economy comes down to supply shock, says Thornberg: As a service-producing nation, we haven’t been able to keep pace with the huge increase in demand for those goods.

That’s not to say there aren’t real issues of concern: Wealth inequality has been growing dramatically in this country, says Thornberg, and the most worrisome stressors to the economy stem from Washington, D. C. rather than the pandemic itself, in the form of an overstimulated economy, the risk of enormous government deficit and rising inflation.

Local economic development will by necessity shift from focusing on “jobs, jobs, jobs,” says Thornberg, to “workers, workers, workers.” This is particularly true in the Monterey Bay region, where the primary industries were already struggling with workforce issues. Technology and investments in workforce training can help employers meet some of that demand, as can addressing policies and structures that can keep parents, particularly women, and seniors in the workforce.  

Housing is the Achilles heel of the Monterey Bay region, an area with so much demand for its quality of life and natural beauty, and that demand will likely continue to climb as an increasing number of office jobs — by some estimates as much as 30% — shift permanently to work-from-home, opening up opportunities for people willing to face once-a-week commutes to the even-pricer Bay area and San Jose markets. Retirees don’t want to leave such a beautiful place, employers can’t meet their workforce needs, and all of it comes back down to housing, says Thornberg. The solution for a region with so many competing demands lies in embracing multifamily housing so as to meet the region’s massive housing shortfall.

“And for local policymakers who want to see the Central Coast continue to thrive? It’s all in that multifamily space,” says Thornberg. “Build it and your economy can thrive.”

President and CEO Tahra Goraya said, “We appreciate Dr. Thornberg’s presentation of the data which illustrated and further confirmed what MBEP has long known, which is that housing production of all kinds across all income levels is critical to the economic success of the region. Regardless of one’s political persuasion, until all of us — including policymakers and employers — focus on the needs of the workers, basic needs like safe, fair, affordable and equitable housing, we will be unable to meet the demands of our various industry sectors desperate for labor. It is our reality in the Monterey Bay region and we need to be creative, thoughtful and intentional about housing.”

Key Data Points:

  • From 2019-2021, the two-year growth in aggregate household net worth in the United States rose 28.3%, a growth spurt that Thornberg describes as the largest expansion of household net worth since the lead-up to the Great Recession.
  • The median net worth of the bottom 50% of households in the U.S. has seen larger growth than the top half of households. “We’re clearly moving in the right direction,” says Thornberg, “which again, is probably a surprise to you who are saying that you thought the economy wasn’t in recovery.”
  • The financial obligations ratio of Americans — the percent of household income spent on current debt obligations, credit cards, and mortgages— is at 14%, what Thornberg describes as historically low. “We’re not drowning in debt. Quite the opposite,” he says. “This doesn’t sound like an economy in rough shape.”
  • The job openings rate as of March was just over 7%, substantially higher than the nation’s 3.6% unemployment rate, which means that workers are in the driver’s seat — so much so that some new hires are even “ghosting” employers on their first day of work.
  • Consumer spending took a hit in the early days of the pandemic but substantially recovered by mid-2021, says Thornberg. But spending patterns shifted substantially: Instead of traveling, dining out and spending on services, consumers bought stuff, from bicycles and home decor to sofas and lawn chairs, and it was a lot of stuff. For one six-month period, spending on durable goods was 25% above normal, he says.

MBEP’s 8th Annual Regional Economic Outlook also featured the presentation of Monterey Bay Economic Partnership’s 2022 Public-Private Partnership Award, which recognizes the public-private partnerships that help our region grow and thrive. MBEP Board Chair Cynthia Larive and MBEP President and CEO Tahra Goraya presented this year’s Public-Private Partnership Award to Joby Aviation, the City of Marina, and the County of Monterey for a three-way partnership that has benefited the region in a number of ways and has tremendous potential for greater economic impact in the future. “The collaboration between the City of Marina, the County of Monterey and Joby Aviation is a wonderful example of what is possible when the public and private sectors work together,” said MBEP Board Chair and UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia Larive. Watch MBEP’s 2022 Public-Private Partnership Award Presentation video here.

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

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5.18.22 - MBEP Announces 2022 Regional Economic Outlook Public-Private Partnership Award Recipients

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MBEP Announces 2022 Regional Economic Outlook Public-Private Partnership Award Recipients

(Marina, CA) – Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) has selected Joby Aviation, the City of Marina, and the County of Monterey as the 2022 recipients of its Public-Private Partnership Award. This annual award recognizes the public-private partnerships that help our region grow and thrive. This three-way partnership has benefited the region in a number of ways and has tremendous potential for greater economic impact in the future. The award will be presented by MBEP Board Chair Cynthia Larive and MBEP President and CEO Tahra Goraya in a virtual format during MBEP’s 8th Annual Regional Economic Outlook on May 20

Joby Aviation Inc. (NYSE:JOBY) is developing all-electric aircraft for commercial passenger service. Its revolutionary electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft is designed to operate as an air taxi service in cities and communities around the United States, with a planned launch of service in 2024.

“We are extremely fortunate to have an industry leader like Joby Aviation in our own backyard,” said MBEP Board Chair and UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia Larive. “They are central to the emerging electric-vertical-takeoff-and-landing industry, which is reimagining transportation and demonstrating how aviation can be more sustainable. In doing so, they are also creating hundreds of good jobs for our region, from engineering and manufacturing to administrative positions, invigorating our regional economy, and highlighting the Monterey Bay region as a hub of tech innovation. The collaboration between the City of Marina, the County of Monterey and Joby Aviation is a wonderful example of what is possible when the public and private sectors work together.” 

Joby Aviation has been working on the future of electric flight in and around the Monterey Bay area for more than a decade, says company spokesperson Oliver Walker-Jones. With more than 1,000 employees, Joby continues to grow, with more than 200 roles currently advertised.

“We’re pleased to be developing our pilot manufacturing facility in Marina and to be working with local groups to develop opportunities and to best position the local community to take advantage of our growth,” says Walker-Jones.

Monterey County Administrative Officer Charles McKee says Joby has been an ideal partner with significant regional impact.

“Bringing Joby Aviation to Monterey County is a credit to the City of Marina and MBEP, as well as Joby’s insight,” says McKee. “However, the impact of Joby is region-wide. This partnership will help push the door further open to additional tech and manufacturing entrepreneurs into the Monterey Bay region in the future. It shows we are a region with workers, infrastructure, and technology to be attractive to employers looking for an ideal location to relocate or start up. The public-private partnerships with Joby, City of Marina, the County of Monterey and MBEP also show our willingness to be creative. We thank Joby Aviation for recognizing Monterey Bay as an ideal place to locate cutting-edge industries.”

Marina City Manager Layne Long says the city has worked with Joby Aviation for more than four years in establishing a base for a new aerospace industry operating at the Marina Municipal Airport. 

“Joby’s presence in Marina and Monterey County will have a profound impact on the creation of thousands of jobs and new high-tech businesses in our region,” says Long. “The City of Marina is grateful for the continuing support of Monterey County and MBEP in bringing this new industry and others to our area.”

“We are pleased to recognize Joby, City of Marina and County of Monterey with MBEP’s Public-Private Partnership award! Cross-sector, creative, and impactful partnerships are what MBEP aims to facilitate and convene. This is a beautiful example of what we can accomplish when we work together for the well-being of our region,” stated Tahra Goraya, President and CEO of MBEP. 

The award will be presented during MBEP’s 2022 Regional Economic Outlook, which will take place from 9- 11 a.m. on Friday, May 20 and will feature Christopher Thornberg, founding Partner of Beacon Economics, LLC. Widely considered to be one of the nation’s leading economists, Dr. Thornberg is an expert in revenue forecasting and regional economics. Registration details can be found here: https://mbep.biz/events/economicoutlook2022/

Click here for a PDF version of this press release.

5.13.22 - Uplift Central Coast to Develop Inclusive Coalition for State Economic Resilience Grant Opportunity

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Uplift Central Coast to Develop Inclusive Coalition for State Economic Resilience Grant Opportunity

(Marina, CA) – The six-county Uplift Central Coast Coalition — led by REACH, the Economic Development Collaborative (EDC) and Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) — is excited to announce its continued partnership to develop an application and secure our region’s share of California’s new $600 million Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF).

The purpose of CERF is to support new plans and strategies to diversify local economies and develop sustainable industries that create high-quality, broadly accessible jobs for all Californians.

The CERF strategy is based on triple bottom line principles and values — economy, equity and environment — and calls for input from and ultimate benefit to disadvantaged, disproportionately impacted and under-represented communities.

Moving forward, our broadened Uplift Central Coast initiative will identify, prioritize and invest in a wide range of workforce and economic development projects, while contributing to a comprehensive approach to regional economic resilience. Our efforts and partnerships will continue to cover the six-county region: Santa Cruz, San Benito, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties. Grants of up to $5 million per region will be awarded this fall to support inclusive engagement and planning efforts to inform regional investment opportunities.

“The CERF initiative is a unique opportunity to strengthen the economies of not just the Monterey Bay but of the entire six-county Central Coast region, creating a broadly based infrastructure of jobs, workforce development, research, and investment,” said Monterey Bay Economic Partnership President and CEO Tahra Goraya. “This truly collaborative approach between government, education, industry, and community partners across the Central Coast will result in innovation and diverse opportunities that will benefit our regions and our
residents in all of our communities.”

If you would like to stay engaged, track progress, or participate with this coalition, join us!

Click here for a PDF version of this press release.

SANTA CRUZ WORKS: 5.12.22 - Uplift Central Coast To Develop Inclusive Coalition For State Economic Resilience Grant Opportunity

https://www.santacruzworks.org/news/uplift-central-coast-to-develop-inclusive-coalition-for-state-economic-resilience-grant-opportunity

5.11.22 - Monterey Bay Economic Partnership to Host 8th Annual Regional Economic Outlook

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership to Host 8th Annual Regional Economic Outlook 

(Marina, CA) –  Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) will host its 8th Annual Regional Economic Outlook in a virtual format from 9 to 11 a.m. on Friday, May 20. This year’s Economic Outlook will feature Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics, LLC.  Widely considered to be one of the nation’s leading economists, Dr. Thornberg is an expert in revenue forecasting, regional economics, economic policy, and labor and real estate markets.

In addition to an up-to-date analysis of leading indicators driving the state and national economies, Thornberg will deliver a focused look closer to home, as he talks about how the impacts of COVID-19 and housing challenges are particularly impacting the Monterey Bay region.

“As the pandemic-driven recession falls further into our collective rearview mirror, one of the biggest future challenges along the Central Coast, and particularly in the Monterey Bay region, is the sharp decline that’s occurred in the region’s labor force. The ‘Great Retirement’ that has happened nationwide is having a decided impact on the Central Coast because of the area’s lack of housing supply,” says Thornberg. “The demand for local housing is not going to decline any time soon, making it difficult for businesses in the region to meet their workforce needs. Like other parts of coastal California, in order to grow the economy, the region needs to create entry-level housing that attracts and retains working-age families.”

“The issues facing our region have not changed but magnified the depth of work we all have to do,” says MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya. “The pandemic shed light on the historical institutional challenges facing our tri-county region, especially communities of color. MBEP’s work is ever more critical in advocating for housing for all across all income levels, reducing the digital divide through broadband access, economic and workforce development that is inclusive across gender, age, race, and skill levels, as well as the critical need for collaborative and innovative approaches to policymaking at the local, regional, state and federal levels. I am hopeful that in partnership with public, private, philanthropic, and community-based organizations, we can partner to create an ecosystem that looks out for the planet and its people while being successful. Just as we are unique in our geographic beauty, industries, and people, we are also unique in creating innovative solutions.”

The event will also feature the presentation of MBEP’s 2022 Public-Private Partnership Award. This year’s award will be presented to Joby Aviation, the City of Marina, and the County of Monterey. This annual award recognizes the public-private partnerships that help our region grow and thrive. 

MBEP’s 8th Annual Regional Economic Outlook is free for MBEP members and $29 for non-members. Registration details can be found here: https://mbep.biz/events/economicoutlook2022/

Reporters interested in attending may contact MBEP Marketing and Communication Specialist Jessica Gilden at [email protected] or call (831) 295-2879 for a registration code.

About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

Click here for a PDF version of this press release.

KSBW ACTION NEWS: 5.11.22 - Here's how much you'd need to make to afford to live on the Central Coast

https://www.ksbw.com/article/monterey-santa-cruz-rent-housing-cost-of-living/39957915#

5.10.22 - New Housing Need Report for the Monterey Bay Region Highlights Housing Affordability Challenges for Low-Income Families: What Can Local Leaders Do to Help?

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Housing Need Report for the Monterey Bay Region Highlights Housing Affordability Challenges for Low-Income Families: What Can Local Leaders Do to Help?

(MARINA) – Newly released today, the California Housing Partnership’s 2022 Affordable Housing Needs Report shows that increases in the cost of living continue to push housing affordability out of reach for many low-income families in the Monterey Bay region. 

Key Findings for Santa Cruz County

  • In Santa Cruz County, renters need to earn $48.08 per hour — 3.2 times the state minimum wage — to afford the average monthly asking rent of $2,500. 

  • Asking rents in Santa Cruz County increased by 15% between Q4 2020 and Q4 2021. 

  • State and federal funding for housing production and preservation in Santa Cruz County is $19 million, a $48% decrease from the year prior. 

Key Findings for Santa Benito County:

● Renters in San Benito County need to earn $27.77 per hour — 1.9 times the state minimum wage — to afford the average monthly asking rent of $1,192.

● Asking rents in San Benito County increased by 1.1% between Q4 2020 and Q4 2021.

● State and federal funding for housing production and preservation in San Benito County is $2 million, a 33% decrease from the year prior.

Key Findings for Monterey County:

● Renters in Monterey County need to earn $36.5 per hour — 2.4 times the state minimum wage — to afford the average monthly asking rent of $1,899.

● Asking rents in Monterey County increased by 8.6 percent between Q4 2020 and Q4 2021.

● State and federal funding for housing production and preservation in Monterey County is $103 million, a 17% increase from the year prior.

“The lack of housing affordability is the leading issue in the Monterey Bay and Central Coast region,” said MBEP President and CEO Tahra Goraya. “Our housing team is working collaboratively across sectors to address Monterey Bay’s 6th Cycle Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) goals through leveraging regional Housing Element workshops and other efforts. The Housing Element process is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to engage the community as we work to ensure plans adequately address the dramatic increase of the over 33,000 additional units that our region is charged with accommodating by 2030 across income levels throughout Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz counties.” 

More

In 2018, MBEP published a Housing White Paper that is cited widely in crafting policies to advocate for increased housing production across all income levels. These nine policy recommendations are in line with MBEP’s overall Housing Initiative strategy advocating to reduce barriers to housing production by supporting infill development to optimize land use and housing outcomes, reduce urban sprawl, and meet climate action goals. MBEP’s recommendations: 

  • Scale All Fees by Square Foot, Not Per Unit 

  • Defer Development Impact Fees

  • Enhanced Bonus Density Ordinance

  • Reduce Parking Requirements 

  • Reduce Commercial Space Requirements

  • Local Funding Sources Available for Affordable Housing

  • Comprehensive Pro-ADU Production Policies 

  • Update Traffic Analysis

  • Zoning for Density 

 While much remains to be done to meet the demand for affordable housing, progress is being made: In Santa Cruz County, ground is breaking this year on several projects, including Pacific Station South and 525 Cedar Street, which will bring a combined total of more than 400 affordable units. Monterey County is seeing growing momentum around employer-sponsored housing efforts across sectors. From Soledad Unified School District’s November 2020 bond measure to various farmworker and H2A housing projects like Harvest Moon, to the City of Salinas moving to make zoning code amendments for educator housing, employers are actively looking at ways to combat the housing affordability crisis. In San Benito County, the Epicenter mixed-use project in downtown Hollister is well underway, with its space housing local nonprofit organizations now open and a neighboring affordable housing component under construction.

Housing Santa Cruz County (HSCC), a broadly based coalition working to increase affordability, advocates for the following policy recommendations to address the county’s housing crisis: 

  • Create new local funding streams dedicated to affordable homes for lower-income residents, with special attention to filling gaps in pre-development funds to initiate new projects.

  • Support Housing Elements in each jurisdiction that get serious about designating specific viable sites and workable policies to expedite the creation of new affordable housing.

  • Encourage each jurisdiction to participate in the state of California Prohousing Designation Program to improve the chances of receiving additional affordable housing funds from the state.

  • Support specific affordable projects in key opportunity areas, including Downtown Santa Cruz, Downtown Watsonville, the Capitola Mall, the Scotts Valley Town Center, and major transportation corridors in the unincorporated county area.

“Despite receiving federal and state funds provided as part of larger fire and COVID relief efforts, Santa Cruz County remains an unaffordable community for its essential workers,” said Diana Alfaro, project manager with MidPen Housing Corp. and Vice Chair of Housing Santa Cruz County. “We look forward to breaking ground on nearly 400 new affordable homes throughout the county in 2022, but it’s crucial that we continue to advocate in coalition for expanded local, state and federal resources to meet the need for critical affordable housing infrastructure in the region.”

View the reports for Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, and San Benito County

### 

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region. |  mbep.biz

The California Housing Partnership creates and preserves affordable and sustainable homes for Californians with low incomes by providing expert financial and policy solutions to nonprofit and public partners. Since 1988, the Partnership’s on-the-ground technical assistance, applied research, and legislative leadership has leveraged $30 billion in private and public financing to preserve and create more than 85,000 affordable homes. In addition, the Partnership provides statewide publications and data tools for housing research and outcomes tracking. | chpc.net

Click here for a PDF version of this press release.

UMASS BOSTON NEWS: 4.29.22 - UMB Alumna Tahra Goraya Prioritizes Equity in New Position

https://www.umb.edu/news/detail/umb_alumna_tahra_goraya_prioritizes_equity_in_new_position

CA FORWARD: 4.28.22 - Fwd Thinker: Making Sure The Table Is Large Is Key To Solving Our Challenges
4.18.22 - MBEP Announces the Appointment of UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia K. Larive as New Board Chair

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬ 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MBEP Announces the Appointment of UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia K. Larive as New Board Chair

(Marina, CA) – University of California, Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia K. Larive will assume the role of incoming board chair for the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership. A collaborative leader known widely for her commitment to student success, inclusion, and equity, Larive has promoted innovation and regional prosperity through the advancement of cutting-edge research and wider educational access.

Larive is an accomplished bioanalytical chemist who has published more than 150 scientific papers, led numerous programs for undergraduate research and curricular innovation, and written more than two dozen articles on active learning, mentoring and experiential learning. Since arriving at UCSC in 2019, Larive has prioritized improving graduation rates and eliminating graduation gaps for low-income and first-generation students, and for those from groups traditionally underrepresented in higher education. 

She also has been a booster of regional economic development, fostering the university’s relationship with Startup Sandbox, the premier local technology incubator, and launching the UCSC Innovation and Business Engagement Hub to give potential industry partners and supporters a clear point of entry to the campus innovation ecosystem. 

Larive is a first-generation college graduate, having earned her bachelor’s from South Dakota State and master’s from Purdue, both in chemistry. She received a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from UC Riverside.

“MBEP’s goals — equitable economic development, high-quality educational and health-care systems, and environmental preservation — align with what many of us in this region are working toward,” Chancellor Cynthia Larive said. “Convening local leaders and working together is how we can advance this vision and ensure our communities thrive.”

MBEP President and CEO Tahra Goraya welcomed Larive’s leadership: “The board and I are delighted that Chancellor Larive will be serving as board president. She is a wonderful collaborative leader and I look forward to not only working with her in this new capacity but also her mentorship and guidance on our key initiatives through the triple bottom line of equity, environment, and a thriving economy.”

Goraya added that she appreciates the growth and evolution of MBEP under outgoing board President Eduardo Ochoa: “We are grateful for his leadership and vision.”

“The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership serves an essential role in furthering a thriving future for the region,” said Dr. Ochoa. “Chancellor Larive’s focus on the technology sector at UC Santa Cruz is a strong indicator of the outstanding leadership and advocacy she will bring to her tenure as chair of the board of MBEP. The board will benefit from her spirit of collaboration as she continues the work of strengthening our regional economy. I congratulate Dr. Larive on her new role and I trust that she will find it as enriching and rewarding as I did over these past years.”

 About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP): Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

About UC Santa Cruz: A global research university with an uncommon emphasis on undergraduate research and education, UC Santa Cruz is part of the world’s most celebrated system of public higher education, and stands among the most renowned institutions of higher learning. It leads at the intersection of innovation and social justice. 

3.30.22 - MBEP Celebrates Women's History Month: “Celebrating Women’s History Month: Today and Tomorrow” Recap Now Available

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬ 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MBEP Celebrates Women’s History Month: “Celebrating Women’s History Month: Today and Tomorrow” Recap Now Available

(Marina, CA) – Employers across the Monterey Bay region are working to create stronger, more diverse organizations, but the struggles women still face when it comes to work-life balance, access to affordable childcare, and advancing in their careers show there’s much work yet to be done.

On March 24, Monterey Bay Economic Partnership hosted “Celebrating Women’s History Month: Today and Tomorrow,” featuring a cross-sector of seven accomplished female leaders who currently serve on MBEP’s Board of Directors. Moderated by MBEP President & CEO Tahra Goraya and incoming MBEP Board Chair UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Cynthia Larive, the panel discussion looked at various aspects of female leadership: why it matters from a social and economic standpoint, how role models and mentors influence success, how female leaders strive (and sometimes struggle) to integrate their career and personal lives, and how much we all need to build up support systems that allow women to advance and thrive in the workplace.

Panelists included Katy Castagna, President & CEO, United Way Monterey County; Sandi Eason, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Pacific Valley Bank; Rosa Vivian Fernández, President and CEO, San Benito Health Foundation; Nanette Mickiewicz, M.D., President, Dominican Hospital; Francine Rodd, Executive Director, First 5 Monterey County (F5MC); Krista Snelling, President & CEO, Santa Cruz County Bank; and  Susan True, CEO, Community Foundation Santa Cruz County.

At MBEP,  nearly half of the board of directors are female, and women make up 75 percent of a team that closely reflects the region’s diversity. Nonetheless, the challenge of creating an equitable and diverse team is an ongoing one, not just for MBEP but for organizations across the region, said Goraya. “MBEP strives to have gender representation and equity to the extent possible. We are constantly learning and evolving as we try to exercise those values and principles.”

It’s those ongoing challenges that make MBEP’s women in leadership conversation — a first-of-its-kind event — so significant, said Larive.

Child care policy has to be at the forefront of the conversation: Only 19 percent of parents can afford full-time child care with one child, according to a Central Coast Early Childhood Advocacy Network survey, and that drops to 10 percent of households with two children, said Rodd. 

To help women move into leadership roles, it’s crucial to create systems that support their advancement and professional growth, from networking and mentoring opportunities to lifting up female colleagues by recognizing their strengths and accomplishments. Those investments in women ultimately strengthen the region as a whole.

“Representation matters because role models are important, but also because diverse voices and perspectives lead to better decisions, to better outcomes, and to an inclusive vision of the future,” said Larive. “That’s true for the future of my university and it’s true for the future of our greater Monterey Bay region.”

See a more detailed recap on MBEP’s website and the full recording of MBEP’s panel discussion, “Celebrating Women’s History Month: Today and Tomorrow”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8jEv0YpsEQ

About Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP)

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit organization consisting of public, private, and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. Founded in 2015, our mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

OPERA NEWS: 1.3.22 - Monterey Bay Economic Partnership announces new president, CEO

https://www.dailyadvent.com/news/8f7e0871b2840bc49e83639397a3f5ea-Monterey-Bay-Economic-Partnership-announces-new-president-CEO

MONTEREY HERALD: 11.26.21 - Monterey Bay Economic Partnership names new chief executive
APTOS TIMES: 11.15.21 - Goraya to Head Monterey Bay Economic Partnership

BENITO LINK: 11.9.21 - Monterey Bay Economic Partnership announces new president, CEO
SANTA CUZ WORKS: 11.8.21 - MBEP Announces New President & CEO, Tahra Goraya

https://www.santacruzworks.org/news/mbep-announces-new-president-amp-ceo-tahra-goraya

9.23.21 - JoeBen Bevirt to Speak at MBEP State of the Region on How Joby Aviation is Reinventing Transportation

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬ 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(September 23, 2021) – Marina, CA – Founder and CEO of Joby Aviation (Joby), JoeBen Bevirt will be the keynote speaker at the Monterey Economic Partnership (MBEP) 7th annual State of the Region on October 29, 2021 to share insights on how his company is changing the way we think about transportation. Joby is building a fully electric vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) passenger aircraft optimized to deliver an air taxi service beginning in 2024. Founded in 2009, Joby employs more than 700 people, with offices in Santa Cruz, San Carlos, and Marina, California, as well as Washington D.C. and Munich, Germany.

MBEP’s annual State of the Region includes cross-sector conversations covering a range of topics from childcare to housing, systemic racial bias in our education system, how state surplus and federal funds are being deployed to benefit our region, and more.

“We are pleased that JoeBen Bevirt will be joining us as our keynote to speak about the need for sustainable mobility in today’s congested cities,” said Kate Roberts, President and CEO of MBEP.  “The need for timesaving, environmentally-friendly transportation is becoming more critical every day.” 

Program Highlights:

Keynote: JoeBen Bevirt, founder and CEO, Joby Aviation

Panel Discussion: Paul Farmer, CEO of the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce, will facilitate a panel discussion on how the lack of access to quality affordable childcare has led to ripple effects that have impacted all industries. 

“Lightning Rounds”: Short inspiring talks will address issues pertinent to our region, propose a solution, and offer ways for attendees to get involved. Topics include creating equitable economic opportunities, new ideas on affordable housing, increasing degree attainment, systemic racial bias in our education system and how best to navigate life with COVID-19 variants.

Fireside Chat: Senator John Laird and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (invited) will share how and where the millions of dollars of federal and state recovery funds are being allocated in our region. 

Community Impact Award: Each year at the State of the Region, this award is given in recognition of an individual who demonstrates significant community impact and leadership that inspires others. This year’s award recipient will be announced during the event.

Virtual Platform. Due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19 and variants, this event will be held on Zoom. 

Tickets and Sponsors: The complete program can be found below and on our website where tickets may be purchased. MBEP would like to thank our generous sponsors: San Benito Health Foundation, Ow Family Properties, South Swell Ventures, UC Santa Cruz, Dignity Health, Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System, CSU Monterey Bay, Bay Federal Credit Union, Goodwill Central Coast, Graniterock, Monterey County Weekly, Santa Cruz Works and KAZU Radio.

About MBEP 

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional, member-supported nonprofit consisting of public, private and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz. MBEP’s mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

 

7.14.21 - Monterey Bay Housing Trust Funds 40 Affordable Homes for CHISPA King City Development

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬ 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(July 14, 2021) -King City, CA-Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and Housing Trust Silicon Valley announced today a $680,000 acquisition loan to Community Housing Improvement Systems & Planning Association Inc. (CHISPA) to purchase property in King City and create 40 affordable homes aimed toward farmworkers in the region.

The property is currently made up of five vacant parcels. On each CHISPA plans to build an eight-unit, two-story apartment building, which will create 97 bedrooms among 40 affordable homes. The units will consist of two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments and will be reserved for households earning up to 70% area median income (AMI) with average affordability of 50% AMI.

The project was originally planned in 2007, but the developer who owned the property walked away during the Great Recession. CHISPA bought the property from the new owner, who had acquired it out of foreclosure. The location is close to parks, a medical clinic, transit, several schools, a library, and groceries.

“We are very excited to help bring more investment to King City and South Monterey County that will help serve farmworker families who are the backbone of our region’s workforce,” said Kate Roberts, President and CEO of Monterey Bay Economic Partnership. CHISPA’s future permanently affordable rental housing at Mills Ranch is part of fulfilling the Salinas Valley Farmworker Housing Action Plan’s goal of creating 3,500 new homes over five years.”

“We’re proud to once again be part of an exciting development in Monterey County – four years after this partnership made its first loan to CHISPA,” said Noni Ramos, Chief Executive Officer of Housing Trust Silicon Valley. “There is a great need for affordable homes in Monterey County and we’re thankful for the opportunity to work with CHISPA, MBEP, and other partners to move projects forward quickly.”

About Monterey Bay Housing Trust

Monterey Bay Housing Trust (MBHT) is designed to promote the development of affordable housing throughout Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties. The MBHT provides early bridge financing for land acquisition, predevelopment construction or preservation of affordable homes.

About MBEP

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional nonprofit, membership organization consisting of public, private and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. MBEP’s mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region. www.mbep.biz.

About Housing Trust Silicon Valley

Housing Trust Silicon Valley is a nonprofit community loan fund based in San Jose that works to improve the quality of life of low-income people in the greater Bay Area by increasing affordable housing opportunities. Since 2000, Housing Trust has invested over $335 million in programs that help everyone from those experiencing homelessness to renters to first-time homebuyers – creating over 20,000 affordable housing opportunities serving over 36,700 of our neighbors. It is the first nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to receive a Standard & Poor’s rating, AA– because of its strong capacity to meet financial commitments. For more information visit www.housingtrustsv.org

About CHISPA

CHISPA develops affordable apartments and single-family homes in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties. The organization manages affordable apartments and develops affordable homes for sale and lease. CHISPA is a 501(c)(3) California Not for Profit Corporation. For more information visit www.chispahousing.org

### 

11.17.20 - Tom Steyer to Speak at MBEP State of the Region on Intersection of Environmental and Economic Policy

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬ 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(November 17, 2020) – Marina, CA – Tom Steyer, business and climate leader and former 2020 presidential candidate will join the Monterey Economic Partnership (MBEP) 6th annual State of the Region on December 2, 2020. Steyer will share updates on how California is building an equitable, resilient and sustainable economic recovery and talk about his experience as co-chair of Governor Newsom’s Economic Recovery Taskforce. 

“We are pleased that Tom Steyer can join us to provide an update on the plans of Governor Newsom’s Economic Recovery Taskforce and share with our region his insights on the intersection of environmental and economic policy,” said Kate Roberts, President and CEO of MBEP.  “The topics Tom will address couldn’t be more timely and urgent.”

Tom Steyer left his successful investing business to give his own money, time, and energy to fight for progressive causes. He has mobilized grassroots efforts to win clean air laws, forced tobacco companies to pay their share of healthcare costs, and closed a billion-dollar corporate tax loophole to fund public schools. He co-chaired Vice President Biden’s Climate Engagement Advisory Council to help mobilize climate voters.  

“Every day we are all living the impacts of our current, overlapping crises,” said Steyer. “Our communities look different because of devastating wildfires, record unemployment, and uncertainty of what the future holds. One thing we are certain of is that we must come out of this moment better, more resilient than before. This is going to require bold, urgent leadership from across sectors who know that we must meet this moment together.”

Full Program. Mr. Steyer is part of a robust program, covering a range of topics, from getting an effective COVID-19 vaccine to wildfire mitigation, to investing locally in our economic recovery, and more. We will explore some bold ideas about how we can rebound from our multiple current crises to create a more inclusive, resilient and vibrant economy for all.  

Virtual Platform. MBEP’s fully interactive, online format for the State of the Region offers so much more than a standard webinar or streamed event, facilitating high-value connections through easy search filters, direct messaging and more. Once registered, participants can build their profile to interact with colleagues, reconnect with old friends, and make new connections.

About MBEP 

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional, member-supported nonprofit consisting of public, private and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz. MBEP’s mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region. 

7.1.20 - Regions Rise Together Salinas Initiative Receives Grant from The James Irvine Foundation

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬ 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(July 1, 2020) – Marina, CA- The James Irvine Foundation has awarded $250,000 in support of the Regions Rise Together Salinas initiative spearheaded by the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) and California Forward (CA Fwd). The Regions Rise Together Initiative, in collaboration with the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), focuses on identifying needs and opportunities in distinct regions that can lift communities up and can be taken to scale across the state. In 2019, CA Fwd led strategy sessions encompassing 10 counties in Ontario, Bakersfield, Merced and Redding.  

In February, MBEP and CA Fwd convened a meeting of a broad spectrum of key leaders and stakeholders in Salinas, from grassroots community-based organizations and established philanthropic to civic institutions. It was clear from this first meeting that in order to create an inclusive and equitable economic planning process, racial equity would need to be at the center.

As a “triple bottom line” steward of our region, equity has always been a part of everything MBEP does. This initiative seeks to develop a comprehensive inclusive economic development plan for the Salinas Valley with diverse stakeholders and local community-based organizations leading this work. The award from The James Irvine Foundation of $250,000 will fund the first phase: creating an economically inclusive plan to execute during 2021-2023. Objectives include integrating and aligning existing community and economic development assets; identifying specific systems changes, new patterns, investments and actions needed; and mobilizing broad and equitable community input, support, and ownership needed for implementation of the plan.

“Through this process, we’ve learned that racial equity needs to be addressed in meaningful and actionable ways in our region. We are building power in communities through inclusive economic development planning, that sets the stage for the necessary and heavy conversations that must take place if we are to address racial disparities,” said Kate Roberts, President and CEO of MBEP. “We are so grateful for The James Irvine Foundation’s support of this important work.”

This type of regional inclusive economic planning with an equity lens has been modeled by Fresno DRIVE Initiative, which recently received a $15 million grant from The James Irvine Foundation and was first announced at the 2019 California Economic Summit last fall in Fresno.  

“We are excited to see a diverse and representative group of community leaders come together to envision a local economy that works for all,” said Jessica Kaczmarek, Initiative Director at the Irvine Foundation. “In this time of incredible challenge, it is imperative that solutions to economic inequality center racial equity in their approach and include the voices of those most impacted.”

Micah Weinberg, CEO of CA Fwd, said “Now more than ever we must listen and lift up voices in our communities and diverse regions across the state if we are to rebuild a more inclusive and sustainable California where all communities can prosper. We are thankful for the support of The James Irvine Foundation in this critical mission.” 

“There have been efforts to invest in economic development in Salinas, but it has not been until now that collective energy has brought together a group representative of all the voices that make this our beloved community,” said Dr. Carissa A. Purnell, Director, Alisal Family Resource Centers, a member of the initiative’s Core Team.Change cannot occur in isolation. The economic prosperity of our neighborhoods does not lie solely in our businesses, but the residents who frequent, invest, and lead those spaces that send their children to our schools, live in our homes, and still struggle to thrive. This is a unique opportunity to build power and create authentic systemic change.” 

About MBEP 

www.mbep.biz

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional member-supported nonprofit consisting of public, private and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz. MBEP’s mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

About CA Fwd

California Forward (CA Fwd) leads a statewide movement, bringing people together across communities, regions and interests to improve government and create inclusive, sustainable growth for everyone. A 501(c)(3) organization, CA Fwd drives collective action to identify solutions that can be taken to scale to meet the challenges the state is facing. The organization is driven by the belief that the collective impact of regional solutions across the state will help ensure the economic, environmental and equitable prosperity of all people. 

3.14.17 - MBEP Awarded Grant from Morgan Family Foundation

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬ 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Marina, CA (March 14, 2017) The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) announced today that it has been awarded a $60,000 grant to further its workforce development efforts and improve connections between students and employers. The monies will be used to expand the successful regional Monterey Bay Internships resource and the newly launched Monterey Bay Career Coach, an online tool that provides career and academic options for students. A portion of the funds will also be invested in the creation of a Regional Masterplan for Career Pathways, being spearheaded by MBEP and Bright Futures.

The Morgan Family Foundation is the primary funder behind the California Stewardship Network (CSN), an alliance of 15 regional organizations committed to the economic, environmental and social well-being of California. MBEP was invited to join CSN in 2015 and represents the Monterey Bay region at the state level. Becky Morgan, CSN founder and former California State Senator, has been the primary driver of the vision of CSN, and her long-standing passion for this work and leadership continues to inspire leaders across the state.

“In its short history, the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership has proven to be an organization that takes action. The Morgan Family Foundation is delighted to continue its partnership with MBEP and the other 14 regions of the statewide California Stewardship Network, as they make connections that will keep our state innovative and its people thriving. This year, we look to MBEP to play an important role in strengthening the connection between community colleges and the business sector. This is a win-win for expanding our state’s workforce pipeline.”

About the Morgan Family Foundation:  The Morgan Family Foundation is a private, family foundation that was established in 1993. The Foundation focuses its giving on youth, education, the environment, and stewardship. 

About the California Stewardship Network:  The California Stewardship Network unites California’s regions to address the state’s economic, environmental, and social challenges and opportunities.

About MBEP: The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional nonprofit, membership organization consisting of public, private and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz. MBEP’s mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.  

3.9.17 - Career Coach Website Launches to Help Local Students Find Local Answers

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬ 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Marina, CA (March 9, 2017) The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP), in collaboration with the Bright Futures Education Partnership, is pleased to announce the launch of Monterey Bay Career Coach. Monterey Bay Career Coach is a powerful online tool designed to help guide local students enter into promising careers here in the Monterey Bay region.  

With Monterey Bay Career Coach students are able to choose appropriate educational options aligned to promising local careers, counselors are able to access a user-friendly website to efficiently support student program and career planning, and college faculty can easily align curricula, certificates and degrees with up-to-date employer needs. “This tool will help our students find in-demand, quality jobs in the region,” said Ed Durkee, President/CEO, Goodwill Central Coast and MBEP Board Member.

Local students and academic counselors alike will benefit from this new regional tool. “Monterey Bay Career Coach is an excellent platform that provides an opportunity for students to take a career assessment and match their skills and interests to a career pathway. The student can then look at career options locally and local colleges that offer programs in those areas. We are excited to use Career Coach to help students reach for their dreams,” said Kim McGinnis, Vice President of Student Services, Monterey Peninsula College.

Monterey Bay Career Coach can be found on Monterey Bay Career Connect, a regional workforce development hub website which offers a breadth of services such as Monterey Bay Internships, scholarship and financial aid information, as well as other tri-county career pathway resources. Initial sponsors of Monterey Bay Career Coach include CSU Monterey Bay, Hartnell College, Monterey Peninsula College, Brandman University, and Central Coast College.  

About MBEP: About MBEP: The Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP) is a regional nonprofit, membership organization consisting of public, private and civic entities located throughout the counties of Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz. MBEP’s mission is to improve the economic health and quality of life in the region.

About Bright Futures: The Bright Futures Education Partnership is a community partnership of diverse members fostering progress in education outcomes for local students. Bright Futures’ charter is to ensure that every child is prepared for school, succeeds in school and enters a promising career.

 

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1.19.17 - Regional Internship Website Builds on 2016 Successes

Contact:
Marie Vasari Hislop
Monterey Bay Economic Partnership
[email protected] / ‭(831) 224-2132‬ 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Marina, CA (January 19, 2017) The Steering Committee for the Monterey Bay Internships (MBI) website is pleased to announce the accomplishments made in 2016. MBI launched in February 2016 and now has over 1,200 total registered users, including 382 registered businesses and 821 registered students. The site was used to help 44 students find internships at local businesses in the first 10 months.  

Usage and adoption trends show that momentum for the website is growing. This is welcome news for the consortium responsible for the creation of MBI, whose long-term goals are to increase work experience for students, ease the transition from higher education to the workforce, and help employers find local talent. 

“We brought the founding partners together knowing there was something we could do collectively to create a better way for local businesses to connect with the rich talent pool at our local colleges and universities,” said Lance Linares, CEO of Community Foundation Santa Cruz County. “Our group’s investment of time, money, and expertise is already generating positive returns,” Linares added.

Students are reaping the benefits of this new free resource, “I’m really excited that MBI helped me find my new position with the Santa Cruz County Business Council because I’m using the skills I’m learning in school and I get to be a part of making a positive change, something greater than myself,” said Katerina Schreck, a student at UC Santa Cruz.

Employers are connected with high-quality interns that are contributing to the success of their organization, “We just released the behind-the-screen series of interviews edited by one of my interns, Michael Beckwith. The videos are excellent and there are over 20 of them. I owe Monterey Bay Internships a big thank you for bringing Michael to my business. I couldn’t have done it without him. Now he’s moving on to a paid position editing a mini-documentary for me,” said Michael Buffo, Director at House of 8 Media in Monterey, CA.

To find out more about how your organization can participate, please contact Kyle McWilliam-Lopez at [email protected].

About MBI: MBI (www.mbinterns.org) is a resource for both employers and students that consolidates internship opportunities from businesses throughout the Monterey Bay Region. Students from all educational institutions in the area are able to access the listings, post their profiles and apply to internship positions of their choice. The site was developed through a collaborative partnership. The coalition includes Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, UC Santa Cruz, Cabrillo College, the Santa Cruz County Business Council, the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership, California State University Monterey Bay, Hartnell College, and the Community Foundation for Monterey County.

 

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