NORWALK – Cerritos College hosted its first Economic Development Summit on Sept 22, bringing businesses and community members together to discuss challenges and opportunities that face Gateway cities in order to improve the economic development and social services infrastructure across the region.
The one-day conference featured presentations and panel discussions on economic trends and the area's labor force data.
Keynote Speaker Rafael De Anda, an economist with the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, provided an overview of the economic status and employment sectors of the Gateway Cities area. According to De Anda, the Southeast Los Angeles has a 10-15 percent share of Los Angeles’ manufacturing, healthcare, and education sectors.
Three panel discussions explored critical skills the future workforce will need such as healthcare and engineering, the importance of preparing students with STEM education, how to expose the region’s future workforce to hidden career options, and innovative collaboration needed among businesses, community, and education.
"Cerritos College must continue to align its educational programs with business interests throughout the communities we serve, especially as it relates to raising the income level of our residents,” said Cerritos College President/Superintendent Dr. Jose Fierro. “With this successful summit, we took the first step toward our goal of helping residents across the region apply their education as a means to break in the cycle of poverty and financial inequality to improve their lives.
"Education is the most viable way for many of our residents to enter the middle-class.”
The outcome of the summit will be outlined in an official white paper produced by the College that describes the state of the economy and recommendations for potential growth.