As the world grows increasingly smaller, Orange County is finding itself no longer competing just with other metro areas in California, but also with regions across the country and even across the world. Contemporary analysts describe this as the “flattening” of the world such that every person everywhere is increasingly on a level playing field with every other person in the world.
While originally the suburban bedroom community to Los Angeles, Orange County has emerged over the last fifty years as an urbanized hub of global importance. From Disneyland to business service venues, from high-tech conglomerates to unparalleled real estate opportunities, Orange County is on the forefront of economic opportunity for over three million people. However, as we approach the end of the first decade of the 21st Century, Orange County is in a much different place in its economic development life cycle than it was fifty, twenty or ten years ago. Orange County is no longer about attracting population and businesses from outside the County to move into a new territory, but is instead becoming a place where success is dependent on retaining and growing existing businesses and economic clusters. Growing our own companies, jobs, and future workforce is how Orange County will succeed, rather than working to attract the resources from outside the county. Because of this, the action strategies of workforce development for Orange County should be focused on the tangible drivers of economic growth and the reduction of risk factors in the local economy.
The Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Committee, in partnership with the Orange County Workforce Investment Board (OCWIB) and on behalf of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, provides an accurate and continuous economic development and management program. Attainable but ambitious short-term goals must be paired with a vision and an understanding of the County’s long-term prospects. The CEDS provides a strategy for qualified “Red-Zone” location in Orange County to diminish poverty and chronic economic issues. Though the Board of Supervisors is responsible for the well-being of all Orange County residents and businesses, the CEDS Committee is especially committed to focusing change on areas identified as either distressed or vulnerable to distress; to improve communities identified as “Red Zones”.
The Orange County CEDS Committee is pleased to present the Orange County 2008-2013 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. This new strategy will be oriented to sustain growth in educational test scores, provide incremental improvements to local infrastructure and nurture the small businesses to become tomorrow’s powerhouse firms, especially in communities that the CEDS Committee has determined to be distressed, or vulnerable to future distress. New action strategies should include support for a true region-wide wireless internet network; promotion of an educational curriculum for proficiencies in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects); and expansion of nursing and allied health occupational training programs, enhanced with cultural competency, thereby enabling professionals to work effectively in cross–cultural situations The CEDS is one part of the steps necessary to build Orange County to respond properly to the future. Through these actions, Orange County will maintain the economic advantages that have made it a high quality place to live. Download the executive summary (PDF ) or contact the OCWIB office for the complete strategy on a CD.