OUR CORE STRATEGIES


The detailed work for Our Path Forward: The Prosperity Strategy – the ways in which we will make progress on the underlying principles – is captured in six core strategies. These strategies are the focal point of the work to come in the next five years.

The first three of these strategies seek to establish global leadership in three economic clusters in which the region already has strength, prominence and opportunity and which also speak directly to two of Brookings’ five factors: tradable industries, innovation and entrepreneurship. The second three of these strategies prioritize critical supporting components of infrastructure, workforce and the business environment. These last three strategies also connect back to the Brookings’ five factors, specifically human capital, infrastructure and governance.

The following identifies each strategy its interrelated initiatives, both long term (up to five years) and short-term (six to eighteen months), along with the ways in which each strategy contributes to regional innovation and inclusion, and its developing COVID-19 context. 

Detailed analysis may be found on the underlying economic profile of the three tradable clusters – Food and Agriculture, Life Sciences and Future Mobility in the Greater Sacramento Region’s Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) and the Brookings Institution report.


Be the global leader for entrepreneurs, firms and workforce in Food, Agriculture and Health Innovation.

LONG TERM INITIATIVE: Develop the California Institute for Agriculture, Food and Health Innovation (Institute) to bridge the innovation gap between research, development and commercialization.  The Institute would include industry-led research, prototyping, testing, manufacturing and training coupled with robust investment and a support ecosystem to accelerate speed-to-market. 

The facility would focus on precision nutrition, food science and nutraceuticals, digital agriculture, agricultural science, smart ingredients and food processing. Location consideration for the Institute is already underway with a commitment to locate it in a rural/agricultural community. Institute planning will be led by UC California Agriculture and Natural Resources in partnership with key industry leaders, UC Davis, Valley Vision, Greater Sacramento Economic Council  and numerous other entities across the region. 

SHORT TERM INITIATIVES:

  • Expand wet lab space across the region, including rural and suburban locations.
  • Support scale-up for food manufacturing companies, including co-packing and co-production facilities, shared logistics, support services and equipment testing.
  • Support food system infrastructure projects such as technology parks, food hubs, incubators and accelerators including to leverage the buying power of institutional procurement and support “next gen” food entrepreneurs.
  • Develop a capital formation strategy for funding mechanisms for the Institute that can be modeled and scaled for similar innovation centers across the region. 

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INNOVATION: 

This Institute promotes the creation of new technologies and processes for food, agriculture and health. It aims to harness UC Davis’s research ecosystem and talent, combined with the region’s industry strength, resulting in the spinout of new companies that will be rooted in the region. The Sacramento Region has additional key assets in AgBiotechnology that include strong agriculture research assets, more than 30 AgBiotechnology startups and R&D facilities for global companies such as Bayer, Syngenta, Marrone Bio Innovations and HM.CLAUSE. As AgBiotechnology grows to a $39.5 billion industry globally, the region can seize its piece of this pie through technology and environmental sciences.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INCLUSION: 

Food and Ag has long represented a diverse workforce in production, technology and manufacturing. Retaining our region’s collegiate graduates, especially those enrolled at UC Davis, will only grow this ready workforce for our agricultural and health tech industries. This Institute will create high-paying jobs for our regional graduates tied to the very core subjects that attracted them to UC Davis for pursuit of their degrees, as well as pathways in a wide range of occupations.

COVID-19 IMPACT:

In a matter of days, stay-at-home health orders impacted our food system shuttering many restaurants, scaling up grocery delivery and pushing producers to shift with changing demand. Locally, food insecurity has become a critical issue as those most in need – seniors, disabled, homeless and lower-income families – were cut off from their food supplies. A series of organic efforts led by restaurants transformed kitchens into production sites for boxed meals that are delivered to seniors and school districts. As these shifts continue, we anticipate seeing a broader reliance on our local growers, manufacturers and suppliers as global trade continues to be impacted and the increased use of technology, such as the digital platform CropMobster, is used to share and trade food supplies and resources.     


Be the global leader for entrepreneurs, firms and workforce in Life Sciences.

LONG TERM INITIATIVE: Establish an industry-led Life Sciences cluster partnership across the Sacramento Region to enable strategic collaboration amongst industry stakeholders, including workforce, supply chain and market development. 

The Life Sciences cluster opportunity in the Sacramento Region is focused on four key areas – Cell and Gene Therapy, Digital Health, Bioengineering and Neuroscience. Future growth in these areas will be built upon an already robust and established industry that includes the UC Davis Medical School and hospital, the substantial research funding via UC Davis and at other Life Science’s research and development institutions in the region, and a robust health care delivery system. 

SHORT TERM INITIATIVES:

  • Support the development of Aggie Square as a regional innovation hub focused on research and development, especially in the development of technology specializing in Cell and Gene Therapy, Genomics and Imaging Diagnostics. 
  • Launch a workforce initiative focused on Life Sciences and support occupations that leverages the 24 higher education institutions across the six-counties.
  • Detailed analysis of regional supply chains to map existing manufacturing capabilities and opportunities for Life Sciences.  

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INNOVATION: 

In addition to the enormous benefits to human health, Life Sciences creates tremendous economic impact for a region. California leads all states with more than $4.2 billion in research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2018.  With the development and advancement of Aggie Square, the Sacramento Region will develop a stronger foundation with which  to attract the funding, talent and spinout companies needed to complement the Life Science sectors in San Diego, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. 

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INCLUSION: 

The Life Sciences sector offers higher than average wages in a range of positions that do not all require a four-year college degree, such as production and technical roles. 

The impact to both workforce and community will be felt across all six- counties. All of the region’s 24 higher education institutions currently offer sector-specific training programs in Health Services and Life Sciences, in addition to adult education centers and Career Technical Education (CTE) programs for health sciences. Affordable, accessible career education programs, well-supported by outreach and recruiting, can create a pathway to these well-paying, middle-skill jobs and directly improve inclusiveness and equity.     

COVID-19 IMPACT:

UC Davis Health and UC Davis were at the forefront of the pandemic, creating their own testing kits, tracking applications and case mapping before most of the nation. Combined with the efforts of the region’s other healthcare partners including Dignity Healthy, Kaiser Permanente and Sutter Health, the region has been a leader in the state and across the country in flattening the curve. With billions of stimulus funds from the federal government towards research, testing, vaccines, equipment and personnel, the investment in our local Life Sciences already has accelerated the growth for this cluster.   


Be the global leader for entrepreneurs, firms and workforce in Future Mobility.

LONG TERM INITIATIVE: Establish the California Mobility Center (CMC), as an international industry-led future mobility partnership across the Sacramento Region to enable strategic collaboration amongst industry stakeholders including in market development, supply chain, workforce and policy innovation. 

The region has the opportunity to seize leadership in the emerging field of Future Mobility, or disruptive mobility innovations, including autonomous mobility, connectivity, the electrification of transportation and shared mobility options. Already a hub for electric car and zero-emission vehicle technology because of its proximity to the California Air Resource Board and California Fuel Cell Partnership, the region’s leadership position will only be enhanced with the CMC.

SHORT TERM INITIATIVES:

  • Develop a workforce initiative focused on future mobility that includes both primary and secondary institutions and workforce training centers.
  • Pass legislation and secure state funding for Green Means Go – a multi-year pilot program to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the Sacramento Region by accelerating infill development, reducing vehicle trips and electrifying remaining trips. 
  • Increase funding and expand the reach for SACOG’s “Civic Lab” program to pilot test innovative mobility solutions throughout the Sacramento Region.
  • Initiate a regional economic gardening program to scale early stage Future Mobility manufacturing companies.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INNOVATION: 

The CMC will be a catalyst towards the creation of new technologies and processes in future mobility, with a proven model from PEM in Aachen, Germany. Since there are no centers in the U.S. focused on hardware innovation in mobility and its proximity, the Sacramento Region would be positioned to become a world leader in this emerging space. 

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INCLUSION: 

As the mobility sector grows in the region, workforce training collaborations will help ensure that regional residents are able to access the work opportunities, such as those in skilled and design jobs and throughout the supply chain. Collaborations between industry, including manufacturing and education, can develop high-performance training programs that are inclusive; the existing collaboration between Los Rios Community Colleges and Siemens, in which training programs on the community college campuses feed directly to the local Siemens Mobility plant, is a good example, especially because it is highly diverse and representative of the greater population. 

COVID-19 IMPACT:

One of the last times we saw a collective and massive commitment by local, state and federal governments to invest in emerging technologies was the efforts to bring electricity to all households – rural and urban – through the New Deal. With the Federal Communications Commission already committing to a $9 billion 5G fund for rural America and anticipated stimulus funds for a COVID-19 recovery, the Sacramento Region is posed to create the digital and manufacturing infrastructure that is needed to accelerate our future mobility capabilities.   


Target infrastructure investment to support economic clusters and market drivers.

LONG TERM INITIATIVE: Prioritize expansion projects that align with the Prosperity Strategy principles, including linking broadband and transportation investments in key corridors and access to job centers. 

This strategy is aligned with the Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (MTP/SCS) – the 20 year transportation and land use strategy to support an economically prosperous region, as adopted by SACOG in November 2019. 

SHORT TERM INITIATIVES:

  • Advance a “fix-it-first” approach to preserve and better maintain our transportation system in a state of good repair. The region’s backlog of roadways in poor and declining condition, and aging transit rolling stock, will be more expensive to fix later than they will now.Expand wet lab space across the region, including rural and suburban locations.
  • Advance innovative transportation system management and operations, including travel demand management and new mobility models that support emerging economic clusters.
  • Create a six-county region plan to accelerate broadband infrastructure deployment, including a neutral shared infrastructure platform, 5G and next generation high speed Internet.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INNOVATION: 

Investment in digital infrastructure, including broadband and 5G wireless network expansions, can help overcome an existing digital divide and be a catalyst for innovation in the region, for businesses, educational institutions, the workforce and government. Greater broadband deployment will increase the ability to telecommute, which in turn also reduces the demand, capacity, climate impact and expenses of our transportation systems.

Early work to identify strategic broadband corridors has already identified transportation corridors that could also benefit from greater broadband infrastructure, such as US 50 in rural El Dorado County or CA 113 in Yolo County, connecting to Sutter County and areas in Yuba County.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INCLUSION: 

Infrastructure underpins the primary drivers of economic prosperity, by increasing access to opportunity, improving connectivity between firms and workers, fostering broader mobility and supporting overall quality of life. Investment in multiple forms of regional infrastructure – housing, broadband and transportation including transit – will mitigate the Sacramento Region’s disparities in accessibility and mobility options by closing the gap to access for marginalized populations to jobs, information and housing. 

COVID-19 IMPACT:

Following both the Great Depression and Great Recession was the investment in infrastructure and emerging technologies. Once again, indications from the U.S. Congress is they will put America back to work through projects that build our cities, transportation and information infrastructure. Where and how this investment is made may look very different from the past as millions learn to work and learn from home and a reliance on broadband becomes more vital than their commutes to a job center.       


Expand demand-driven, sector-based workforce development, aligned to key opportunity clusters and a more inclusive workforce, prepared for the future of work.

LONG TERM INITIATIVE: Strengthen the regional workforce development system through an employer-led and demand-driven eco-system, including employer, community college, workforce system partnership models and regional industry advisories.

The Brookings Institution report stated “perhaps the most important factor that will determine long-run economic prosperity in the Sacramento Region is its ability to grow, retain and attract a strong workforce.” Currently, education and workforce development partners are working with employers to identify skill gaps in high demand occupations, and align resources accordingly. Yet there remains a need for a next level of systems change from the private sector to respond to the rapidly changing labor market. For example, employers could adopt a “life cycle” approach to developing the entire workforce pipeline, similar to a company’s proactive supply chain development. An example of this industry-led effort is embodied by an initiative at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Talent Pipeline Initiative enabling employers to build scalable and sustainable pipelines through data and partnerships.

SHORT TERM INITIATIVES:

  • Formalize success models for demand-driven training programs, including the strengthening of CTE, to fill high demand middle skills job gaps across all school districts, expand bridge programs that prepare those with lower skills for the world of work, increase apprenticeship opportunities with labor partners and strengthen regional industry sector initiatives. 
  • Launch the Sacramento Region’s Digital Skills Initiative to increase digital literacy, access and adoption.
  • Initiate a Sacramento Region campaign via Project Attain! in order to close the near-term completion gap for individuals seeking to obtain their college degree. 

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INNOVATION: 

Tailoring workforce programs to sectors projected to grow will assist the Sacramento Region in becoming a talent hub for specific industries including but not limited to Food and Agriculture, Life Sciences and Future Mobility. When these talent pools reach a sufficient scale, they will become a valuable regional asset that will help offset California’s higher cost of labor compared to other states. This will dissuade firms from looking elsewhere for talent and serve instead to attract high-growth companies to the region, including tech, manufacturing and professional services.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INCLUSION: 

Project Attain! is a program to specifically address the broad group of “near-completers” – those not currently enrolled in post-secondary education, but with only 15 units or less needed to complete their degree. Because a disproportionate portion of “near-completers” are people of color and women, Project Attain! aims to overcome the situational and institutional barriers that hinder near-completers from graduating, and which research shows exacerbates the equity and inclusion gap of the region. 

COVID-19 IMPACT:

The pandemic has also provided an opportunity for institutions, industries and employees to pivot in how they learn, train and work. To ensure students and employees do not get left behind, investment in digital infrastructure, hardware and skills will be required. In addition, as we try to close the number of near-completers, we need to ensure that number does not skyrocket with thousands of students attempting to complete their education remotely complicated by staggering budget cutbacks at higher education institutions.     


Create an environment to be the most business-friendly region in which to operate in the state of California.

Implement regional policies that strengthen our innovation ecosystem including financing, facilities and business development resources to support start-ups, scale ups and spinouts in our highest performing sectors. 

The Sacramento Region can become the California option for business – based on a value-added proposition rather than a low-cost pitch, and one that positions the region as the place business and workers want to locate and stay because they will be more productive. 

The region has the unique opportunity to be a destination in which culture, networks, finance and talent overlap and connect, and to do so by leveraging its position as the capital of the fifth largest economy in the world. Its proximity to policy makers and its geographic location near education, industry and agriculture provides a competitive advantage over other California cities. The region already leads with pioneering solutions to water, energy and forest management.

SHORT TERM INITIATIVES:

  • Develop a cohesive messaging strategy for communicating the Sacramento Region as a destination for innovation, testing, piloting and scaling for business in California.
  • Attract and support contract manufacturers to support all three clusters.
  • Encourage and support local governments to create “sandboxes” to allow real world urban testing of mobility solutions. 
  • Assess, identify and address the biggest barriers to Sacramento Region’s most promising start-ups with the region’s civic and business leadership.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INNOVATION: 

During the Gold Rush, the Sacramento Region was a destination for entrepreneurs and startups. Once again, the region is becoming that place for innovators and disruptors thanks to the work of multiple entities such as AgStart, Urban Hive, Start-up Sacramento, UC Venture Catalyst, Hacker Lab, Clean Start and the Sacramento Urban Technology Lab. Capital investment, business counseling and support services will drive existing businesses to scale up, especially stage two companies, or those that have grown past startup but not yet grown to maturity. With a robust and supportive ecosystem and environment for these scaleups and spinouts, the region will attract, as well as retain, the talent and businesses leading in this innovative space.

CONTRIBUTIONS TO INCLUSION: 

Women-owned businesses are one of the greatest growth indicators in our economy with a 21 percent increase in women-owned companies in the U.S.  In addition, in the Sacramento DMA, nearly 40 percent of all business firms are owned by minorities.   Although these numbers are encouraging, a lot of intentional work remains to position women and minorities in positions of leadership across all sectors – business, government, nonprofit and education. These systematic changes will only happen through the increased access to capital, mentoring programs and inclusion on regional boards.   

COVID-19 IMPACT:

A series of organic networks and collectives surrounding business have emerged as the region’s leaders needed to address critical decisions in these dynamic times. The Business and Economic Task Force, led by the Metro Chamber, is one example of a collective government and business group that is making real-time decisions to secure funding for the local economy and influence policy. Similar alliances have formed across the six-county region as leaders and influencers look to secure stimulus funding for projects such as broadband, Life Sciences and workforce development.


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