California Jobs First: State Launches First-of-its-Kind Council to Create Thousands of More Jobs Across All Regions

Mar 11, 2024 | Press Release

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Governor Newsom today announced the creation of a new state council focused on creating jobs and the awarding of $182 million in grants to jumpstart the Governor’s Regional Investment Initiative to accelerate economic and workforce projects throughout the state.

SACRAMENTO – Governor Gavin Newsom today announced the creation of the California Jobs First Council and operational plan focused on streamlining the state’s economic and workforce development programs to create more jobs, faster. The Council and operational plan will guide the state’s investments in economic and workforce development to create more family-supporting jobs and prioritize industry sectors for future growth.

WHAT GOVERNOR NEWSOM SAID: “California has created more opportunities, more jobs, and more businesses than any other state, but we need to ensure that we’re all moving forward together. Through this new council and these investments, we’re aligning all of our economic resources to create more jobs, faster for Californians in every community.”


Co-chaired by Dee Dee Myers, Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development, and Stewart Knox, Secretary of Labor & Workforce Development, the California Jobs First Council will bring together various state entities, including:

  • Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning & Research: promoting alignment with General Plan guidelines and land use policies
  • Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency: representing nature-based solutions and clean energy industries
  • Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture: representing the agriculture industry
  • Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency: representing the circular economy
  • Secretary of the California Health & Human Services Agency: representing the healthcare industry and promoting jobs for disabled and disadvantaged workers
  • Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs: representing the more than 1.6 million former service members that reside in the state
  • President of the Public Utilities Commission: representing opportunities to advance California’s clean energy workforce of the future and economic opportunities for communities

“The California Jobs First Council is another piece of the puzzle in the Governor’s pursuit of creating a California For All,” said Dee Dee Myers, Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to align strategic investments that further economic growth and job creation in every region of California.”

California Jobs First

The Council will coordinate the development of a statewide industrial strategy that includes a statewide economic snapshot and identification of priority sectors, a statewide projects portfolio, a business expansion, attraction, and retention strategy, and a workforce development strategy. The California Jobs First Council will also support the regional Jobs First Collaboratives to expand industry and create jobs locally.

The California Jobs First Council is an integral component of California’s broader strategy to prepare students and workers for high-paying careers. The Council will work alongside the Council for Career Education and in line with the Governor’s 2023 Executive Order that directed the creation of a Master Plan for Career Education to ensure that Californians have career pathways, develop the skills and find even more opportunities to be full beneficiaries of our state’s economy.

The Master Plan is largely aimed at aligning and simplifying the K-12, university, and workforce systems in California to support greater access to career education and jobs for all Californians. In connection with the Master Plan for Career Education, the Jobs First Operational Plan will highlight the ways in which workforce development can and should be a tool used by the State and the regional Jobs First Collaboratives to help Californians, particularly the most disinvested communities, in meeting the specific skillset needs of the State’s and our regions’ priority industry sectors.


In 2021, Governor Newsom launched the $600 million Regional Investment Initiative (formerly the Community Economic Resilience Fund, or CERF) to create high-quality, accessible jobs and help build resilience to the effects of climate change and other global disruptions impacting the state’s diverse regional economies. This investment has supported the creation of Jobs First Collaboratives in each of the state’s 13 economic regions, with representation from a wide variety of community partners including labor, business, local government, education, environmental justice, community organizations and more. These Collaboratives are in the process of developing roadmaps, including a strategy and recommended series of investments, for their respective regions.

Today, Governor Newsom announced that the state has awarded $14 million to each of the 13 Jobs First Collaboratives – $182 million total – to invest in sector-specific pre-development activities, enabling regions to take projects from exploratory and last-mile to ready-to-go projects that can access local, state, and federal funds, as well as private and philanthropic investments. The 13 Jobs First Collaboratives cover every region of the state: North State, Capitol, Redwood Region, Bay Area, North San Joaquin Valley, Eastern Sierra, Central San Joaquin Valley, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Kern County, Central Coast, Inland Southern California, and the Southern Border.

“California Jobs First represents a very intentional, inclusive approach to economic and workforce development,” said Stewart Knox, Secretary of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency. “By maximizing state resources and investments, the state is empowering communities to chart their own futures in a manner that is inclusive and equitable.”


Matthew Mena, Executive Director, IEGO (Inland Empire): “The Inland Empire region is one of the fastest growing regions in the State, and we need an all of government approach to helping our partners create quality jobs and a more accessible economy. The Governor has been a partner with us on this endeavor, and we look forward to working with the Council to make that happen.”

Evan Schmidt, President & CEO, Valley Vision (Capitol): “We are at a pivotal moment in the Capitol region, and we are grateful that the Governor is bringing his team together to collaborate with our regions to make strategic investments in projects that will create the types of jobs and opportunities we want and need.”

Ashley Swearengin, President & CEO, Central Valley Community Foundation (Central San Joaquin): “Governor Newsom and his administration have been proven partners with the Central San Joaquin Valley.  This new Council and the Operation Plan proves his commitment to our communities is not letting up.”

Stephen Cheung, President & CEO, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (Los Angeles County): “The Governor’s commitment to the Los Angeles County region is clear. As we continue to work through the development of our regional Jobs First Strategy, it is exciting to know that this new Council will come alongside with us to implement our vision to create a more inclusive economy with quality jobs.”

About GO-Biz
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) serves as the State of California’s leader for job growth and economic development efforts. GO-Biz offers a range of services to business owners including: attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit streamlining, clearing of regulatory hurdles, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with state government, and much more. For more information visit the GO-Biz website.

Willie Rudman
Assistant Deputy Director of Communications
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