Most people involved in the K3 County B3K Prosperity project want to remain engaged in economic cooperation, but are not sure that enough has been done to bring them all to the table, according to survey results.
The data released on Wednesday is seen as a mixed review of participation so far in the 2-year effort to create 100,000 good jobs in the region over the next 10 years. Leaders interpreted the findings as doing a good job of validating the findings, although more needs to be done in terms of inclusion.
The results have come at an important time of transition. After intensive economic evaluation and strategy development, and a recent organizational restructuring, the plan is now to launch what CEO JP Lake calls the “implementation phase,” which is expected to expand tactics such as aligning industry efforts and applying for grants.
Lake told email respondents in an email that the good news on Wednesday was that most want to get closely involved because their support is important and necessary. But he pushed for a renewed commitment to inclusivity, with about 12 percent saying they were “displeased” or “very unhappy” with that aspect of the effort.
“It is imperative that all voices in our community be included, which strengthens our core role,” Lake wrote.
Inclusion is not a new challenge for B3K. Efforts were delayed by at least two months in December 2020 by 8 months. The leadership at the time said that the delay was partly due to the fact that groups that were usually left out of the economic development debate had the opportunity to express their priorities.
The irony of some of the survey data is that B3K has made a point of expanding economic inclusion. B3K research has shown that white men are more likely than women or colored women to have a good job or have a business in the region.
B3K has done additional work for more than 100 local industry, schools, government, community organizations, and nonprofits.
They have contributed to the research, gone through the data and come up with a lot of ideas. The main achievement so far has been to create consensus on the five axes that have the greatest potential to improve local access to quality employment. They are aerospace, business services, energy, entrepreneurship and manufacturing.
Traco Matthews, who represents B3K’s Kern’s Community Action Partnership, said in an email that he has the honor of being part of the organization’s work team because it helps them achieve the same economic opportunity.
“My hope is that these collaborative efforts will create new opportunities for communities of color and provide a strong sense of belonging,” he wrote. “I’m always supportive of ideas that can enhance inclusion and results for historically excluded groups, and B3K represents that opportunity.”
None of the results of the survey related to participation in B3K were conclusive at all.
Of the 78 respondents in the survey, about 54 percent said they would like to participate at the closest level with B3K, “with a seat at the table.”
About 32 percent chose to “consult” at a slightly lower level, including receiving invitations to meetings, and about 14 percent asked only to be informed of B3K’s progress, as the survey had the lowest chance of participating.
A separate question asked project participants how satisfied they were with the inclusiveness of B3K. More than a third, about 36 percent, said they were “very happy,” and a slightly larger portion, about 37 percent, said they were just “happy.”
About 15 percent said they were “delighted with the measure” with their efforts. 10 percent said they were “displeased” with B3K’s inclusiveness; only one person chose “very happy”.
“In terms of inclusivity,” Lake told participants, “even though the numbers are strong, there is always room for improvement.”
Nick Ortiz, president and CEO of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement that the new results of the survey confirm that B3K’s vision is to bring together diverse perspectives and attract the community to “push our region into collective action.”
“The community recognizes that this is not just a job for business or government, drawing the path for Kern’s future requires special coalitions,” Ortiz wrote. “That said, there is still a lot of work to be done in the commitment of the community and stakeholders.”
Bakersfield real estate developer Bruce Davis, a volunteer member of B3K’s leadership committee, stressed that he was not in favor of the group, saying the goal of creating 100,000 good jobs in 10 years would surely require cooperation and commitment.
Davis said the company, which works as executive vice president of Bolthouse Properties, sees the effort as part of what it does for the local community.
B3K is very inclusive – “it’s for the right reasons,” he said, and he’s happy to see people working together to “do something better for everyone.”
Volunteer support has been strong from the start, with people spending an hour or four hours per job, on average, depending on their position in the organization, B3K spokesman Justin Salters said. He noted that B3K had started with a major group and had sustained commitment and low growth.
However, he added that more volunteers are needed, especially for the four implementation groups in the industry.
“We need input from industry leaders to help identify barriers to growth and help them grow their businesses and industries and plan strategies to provide additional quality jobs to Kern County residents,” he wrote. “People interested in joining an Implementation Team can register online https://b3kprosperity.org/implementation-sign-up/. “
B3K reenlists participants, pushes for wider inclusion | News Source link B3K reenlists participants, pushes for wider inclusion | News