Five years ago, MBEP brought together a group of regional leaders from all sectors and industries to work together toward regional solutions. Targeted initiatives and a data-driven approach bring results, and MBEP’s collaboration with its member organizations and partners are making positive changes for the region.
Workforce Development, one of the first two initiatives launched by MBEP, continues to reap positive results in preparing students for future employment and keeping well-paying jobs in the region. Employers and students across the region reap the benefits of the Monterey Bay Internships website, a resource that aggregates internship opportunities. Since its launch in 2016, the site has garnered over 4,700 registered users. Monterey Bay Career Connect, supported by many of the region’s colleges, county offices of education and workforce development boards, is a one-stop hub for students seeking guidance toward educational programs and career opportunities. Last year we hosted our first Industry Education Summit and introduced a Student Ambassador Program.
In 2016, MBEP took on its Housing Initiative, which provides advocacy efforts for affordable housing projects, supports employer housing projects, and provides a loan pool of up to $12 million through the Monterey Bay Housing Trust. Thanks to a partnership with Housing Trust Silicon Valley which matches funs 4-to-1, the housing trust has funded four low to moderate incoming housing projects since its establishment in 2017.
MBEP worked with various entities throughout the region to strengthen opportunities for tech start-ups and methods for entrepreneurs to meet and collaborate, as part of its Tech Ecosystem initiative. MBEP’s efforts are now focused on partnering with the Central Coast Broadband Consortium and the California Broadband Council to enable high-speed broadband projects to serve the region.
MBEP’s fourth initiative, focusing on Transportation, was announced during its November 2017 State of the Region conference. For the next two years, MBEP laid the groundwork to help employers create smart commuting plans and reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and 2019 saw the launch of our clickable mobility platform toolkit.
From the inception, MBEP’s annual State of the Region and Regional Economic Summit conferences have brought together leaders and influencers to hear about and provide input on the region’s most pressing issues. MBEP’s community presence continues to increase, with more housing events, workforce events serving both students and employers, leadership luncheons and other networking opportunities to bring people together in a way that matters.
We’re growing: We’re now 87 member organizations strong, up from 48 at the end of our first year, representing health care, ag, technology, the nonprofit sector, city and county governments, and education. We’ve also grown internally, from a staff of two employees to 11, and over time, MBEP has increased its reliance on grants to support its expanded efforts in workforce development, housing and broadband expansion.
So much has happened in five years, and MBEP continues to evolve to serve our mission. To mark this milestone, we’re introducing a new logo celebrating those first five years. And we’re looking forward to many more years of progress for the Monterey Bay region.