Santa Cruz Tech Beat


MBEP Reviews Productive First Year


(Image above: MBEP provides a variety of regional data on their website, including this map about Higher Education, Labs, Institutes and Military education and research facilities.)

December 17, 2015 — Marina, CA

It’s been an exciting and productive first year for the Monterey Bay Economic Partnership (MBEP).

As 2015 comes to a MBEP_WL_Red_Hclose, we want to thank our supporters for your belief and investment in a regional partnership dedicated to a vibrant economy and good jobs, excellent education and health care, and a wholesome quality of life and environment for all the residents of the region. The end of year gives us an opportunity to look back at our progress in 2015 and look forward to 2016.

In 2015 …

  • We held our first Economic Summit in Seaside in January, where we brought together 250 regional leaders from education, business, government and the non-profit sector to examine our regional economy and strategize about ways to foster more living wage jobs and sustainable economic development. The Economic Summit informed the development of our 2015 focused initiatives.
  • We recruited an outstanding Board of Directors of 16 leaders from a diverse cross-section of the region, including representation from many sectors: marine science, education, technology, real estate, government, non-profit, agriculture, finance and banking, health care and food processing.
  • The Board of Directors established two focused initiatives: Building a Technology Ecosystem and Workforce Development. These initiatives have already resulted in substantial progress …
  • Building the Technology Ecosystem
    • Partnered with the Central Coast Broadband Coalition to map out the region’s broadband infrastructure and promote efforts to bring high speed internet access to all stakeholders
    • Engaged with cities and counties to ensure “dig once” policies are adopted in every municipality and county
    • Worked together with Jacob Martinez and many regional stakeholders to catalyze the creation of Digital NEST, a digital arts and science education and mentoring program for teens and young adults
    • Evangelized the creation of new tech meetups, coworking spaces, business accelerators and seed financing throughout the region
  • Workforce Development
    • Aggregated key workforce, employment and talent data on the MBEP website to provide companies, education, and government with critical decision making information
    • Became one of the charter Work Ready Communities and began establishing the centers for National Career Readiness Certificate testing
    • Collaborated with the Santa Cruz County Business Council, Santa Cruz County Community Foundation, UC Santa Cruz and Cabrillo College to develop and roll out the Monterey Bay Internship Portal (coming in Q1 2016)
  • MBEP was accepted into the two statewide organizations dedicated to the stewardship of California’s well being through the economy, environment and equity: CA Forward and the California Stewardship Network. Now the region has a strong nonpartisan voice on statewide policy issues, where we advocate for triple bottom line solutions on behalf of our region.
  • We hosted our first State of the Region conference in Santa Cruz in November, bringing together leading minds on issues from health care, housing, and workforce development to the economy, public safety infrastructure and the environment. You can see a full recap here.
  • We continued to create, aggregate and populate our website with deep data on the region, so policymakers and stakeholders will have access to the highest quality information.
  • Most importantly, we built an excellent high energy and competent staff, headed by our new President Kate Roberts, who joined us in September, and we opened a second office in downtown Santa Cruz to complement our office presence in Marina.

Looking forward to 2016…

  • We will complete our objectives for each of our two initial initiatives: Building the Tech Ecosystem and Workforce Development. Watch our progress on the MBEP website! And we’ll tackle some new issues in 2016, starting with affordable housing. The cost of housing is now the biggest contributor statewide to an increase in poverty among families.
  • We will be hosting the MBEP Economic Summit and State of the Region conferences again, starting with our second Economic Summit on April 26, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey. Save the date and look for registration information in the New Year!
  • We will continue to build our staff, and expect to bring on two new professionals in Q1.
  • We will partner with other like-minded organizations, companies and civic groups to inform and educate our membership and the broader community on critical issues around transportation, broadband, water, housing, public safety, economic development, living wage jobs, the environment, health care and workforce in our region.
  • We will organize issue-oriented groups of all stakeholders and bring people together to get to “yes” on important issues that move the region forward.
  • We will use our regional convener role to spread best practices across the region and catalyze new initiatives. We are excited about the prospect of supporting the opening of Digital NEST’s second center in Salinas in 2016!


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