February 14, 2018

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the Gateway Cities Region

The 2015 Gateway Cities Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy was developed with a vision to diversify, expand, and strengthen the region’s economic base and improve the quality of life of its residents.

Background
The Gateway Cities Region, comprised of 27 cities and 9 unincorporated areas, accounts for approximately 20% of the LA County population and 5% of California’s overall population. Cities in this region typically have fewer than 100,000 permanents residents, with the glaring exception of Long Beach, which is home to over 450,000 people. The average household size is well above LA County’s average at roughly 3.6 persons and the majority of the population is Latino. Educational attainment is one of the most reliable indicators of employment success and lifetime earning potential; overall, Gateway Cities residents have relatively low levels of educational attainment, with nearly a third of the population having attained less than high school education. The region displays a range of household incomes from a little over $30,000 in Vernon to a high of almost $120,000 in La Habra Heights. 

Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threats (SWOT) Analysis
Many of the region’s strengths stem from its prime location in Southern California which, among other things, allows for unparalleled market access as well as a variety of established resources, including three Workforce Development Boards: LA County, SELACO, and Pacific Gateway. The area also boasts a high-density, ethnically diverse, relatively young population with connections to existing infrastructure and historic industries. The region’s weaknesses include political fragmentation, low educational attainment, proportionally fewer white color jobs, generally lower incomes, and limited public transit opportunities. The region has plenty of room for growth, particularly in terms of fostering entrepreneurship, developing human capital, linking land use and transit, supporting emerging industries, maximizing international trade, and creating a strong economic development network. Finally, threats include growing economic inequality, health risks and homelessness.

Strategic Plan of Action
Gateway Cities leaders are collaborating in an effort to create jobs, develop new and existing businesses, diversify the local economy, and ultimately improve the quality of life of its residents. The plan outlines a number of goals to achieve this end, from reducing unemployment and underemployment to developing and pursuing action plans for infrastructure. With regard to unemployment, there will be an effort to encourage industry cluster development by attracting new firms and investment as well as creating an environment that promotes access to capital and encourages entrepreneurship. As far as infrastructure, the region plans to advocate for public infrastructure funding, explore public-private partnership options for infrastructure implementation, and increase public transit investments.

For more information please visit: https://ced.usc.edu/files/2014/07/GatewayCities_111715_web.pdf