Charting the Course for San Joaquin Valley’s Economic Future
In August 2011, the Office of Community and Economic Development (OCED) and California State University, Fresno received an Economic Adjustment grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA), U.S. Department of Commerce, to prepare a Valley-wide industry cluster analysis and a regional strategy-Cluster Action Plan-to catalyze the growth of priority clusters. (San Joaquin Valley Regional Industry Cluster Analysis and Action Plan)
The Regional Industry Clusters Initiative (RICI) is the result of the analysis of the Valley’s industry clusters, directed by OCED, on behalf of the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley. The goal of the project is to support improved regional economic performance, sustainability, and shared opportunity for Valley residents, businesses and communities.
RICI got its official start in February 2013, with team members engaging champions for the five identified clusters: Agriculture, Clean Energy, Health & Wellness, Manufacturing, and Water Technology.
The economic and cluster analysis and the partner/stakeholder engagement process provides a platform for the evolution of the Valley’s cluster initiatives; a framework to align initiatives and resources to capture value chain opportunities; and articulation of the role for OCED, including the organization of the Partnership’s New Valley Work Groups to lead or support the clusters.
The Manufacturing Cluster co-partnered on the 3rd Annual University Center to Advance Manufacturing Conference in October 2013, which focused on the facets of a sustainable business and included as keynote speaker Dr. Joseph I. Castro, president of Fresno State. RICI staff partnered with the International Center for Water Technology on the Water Cluster Conference in May 2014.
The Clean Energy Cluster hosted its On-site Energy Generation and Sustainability Conference in February 2014. Event sponsorship raised more than $17,000 which was designated as four scholarships to outstanding Valley high school students who have shown interest in pursuing a career in clean energy and alternative fuels.