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Emily Breslin, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, (916) 601-3236
SACRAMENTO – As California continues to recover from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and rising inflation, State leaders today announced $65 million in grants through the Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF) to support communities in planning for an equitable economic recovery. California Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 Budget included $600 million in General Fund for CERF to ensure that California’s economic recovery creates high-quality, accessible jobs and helps build resilience to the effects of climate change and other global disruptions impacting the state’s diverse regional economies.
“As we address the central challenges of our time - a warming planet, significant wealth and health inequality, and racial injustice, we must work towards equitable and multi-benefit strategies,” said Samuel Assefa, Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, “a critical strategy for California is building a zero-carbon economy that provides family-supporting jobs and healthy communities. The initial planning phase we’re kicking off today ensures that this strategy is created in partnership with impacted workers and communities.”
In the initial planning phase, CERF will fund 13 regional High Road Transition Collaboratives (HRTC) that bring together partners representing community, labor, industry, business, philanthropy, and more. Each HRTC will be awarded $5 million to develop a regional economic plan prioritizing the creation of sustainable businesses and industries, family-supporting jobs, and other resilience outcomes.
“Innovation is foundational to California’s economy, and it is what has kept us strong,” said Dee Dee Myers, Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO-Biz). “This $65 million investment is a first-of-its kind opportunity for 13 regions to create their own processes, born out of their respective regional economic development plans, that meet their own vision and their own needs -- all of which will further accelerate innovation and help us collectively build a more equitable economy.”
“Through CERF, California is listening to communities—especially to those that have been excluded from decision making for generations—and empowering regions to create their future economies,” said California Labor Secretary Natalie Palugyai. “The State’s role in this economic transformation will be to support that self-determination to the extent that it is developed, designed, and implemented in a manner that is inclusive, equitable, and environmentally sustainable.”
The Community Economic Resilience Fund is part of the State’s overall approach to building resilient communities in the transition to a zero-carbon economy, with this year’s proposed budget including $450 million for the Local Government Budget Sustainability Fund to help communities sustain revenues as they transition their economies. As regions work to implement the Community Economic Resilience Fund, Governor Newsom has proposed funding to complement these efforts. His proposed budget investments include $200 million to plug idle and orphan oil and gas wells, and $15 million for a pilot project aimed at training displaced oil and gas workers. His proposals also include $60 million in investments to support high road training partnerships in low-carbon industries, $83 million to support energy innovation in Kern County through CSU Bakersfield, and $80 million to expand the San Diego State University, Brawley Center in Imperial Valley to support a local workforce pipeline to aid the state's goals for development of the Lithium Valley vision. Following the Planning Phase of the Community Economic Resilience Fund, $500 million will become available as part of the program’s Implementation Phase beginning in 2023, which will fund projects and infrastructure identified by the High Road Transition Collaboratives.
In September 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 162, which established the Community Economic Resilience Fund to support regionally centered plans to respond to the diverse needs across California and to build sustainable and resilient regional economies. CERF is administered by an Interagency leadership team which includes the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR), the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GoBiz), and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency.