SACRAMENTO – Culminating months of work to put California on the path forward amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Gavin Newsom today released “Recovery for All,” the final report by the Co-Chairs of his Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. The report outlines key priorities and challenges in the state’s fight against COVID-19 and ongoing work to rebuild a more equitable, sustainable and resilient economy in its wake. With cases on the rise globally, nationally and in California, the report reaffirms the importance of the state’s health-first approach as the foundation for a safe and sustainable reopening.
“Since its creation, the Task Force has been an invaluable partner in providing input on the state’s science and data-led response and recovery efforts during this unprecedented health and economic crisis,” said Governor Newsom. “Representing a diverse cross-section of Californians, Task Force members served as the eyes and ears of our communities, steering the comprehensive discussions needed to create actionable recommendations and forge innovative partnerships to address the wide-ranging impacts of the pandemic. As we continue to lead with a health-first approach to contain the virus, California is committed to building on the Task Force’s work to bring back the economy in a way that works for all. I thank the Co-Chairs and the entire Task Force for committing their time and talent to help the state meet the immense challenges of this moment.”
“This report reflects the diverse expertise and experience of the Task Force members who came from across various sectors, communities, and regions of the state with a shared commitment to ensuring California’s economy rebuilds even stronger and remains a model for the rest of our country,” said Co-Chair Steyer. “I want to thank Governor Newsom for his bold leadership, my co-chair Ann O’Leary and all the members of the Task Force for their work in helping build a more just, green and equitable recovery.”
The Task Force, launched by the Governor in April, leveraged input from a diverse group of more than 100 leaders from business, unions, academia and philanthropy, as well as advocates for racial and economic justice and legislative leaders. They advised the administration on rebuilding as quickly and safely as possible from the pandemic-induced recession while working towards an equitable, clean and prosperous future. With deep insights into the economic recovery needs of various industries and communities, the Task Force has helped shape the state’s reopening guidelines; spearheaded proposals to address a host of pandemic impacts; informed the Governor’s economic development package and expanded worker protections; worked with the Legislature; lobbied for critical federal relief to state, local and tribal governments; and advocated for the urgent need to take action on climate change and the long-standing racial and economic inequities across society that undermine the resiliency of the economy.
The report outlines the following principles to guide the state’s continued progress toward a just and sustainable recovery in the months ahead:
- Preserve California’s competitive edge: Supporting the needs of businesses in the state is essential to our short- and long-term recovery and to safeguarding California’s status as the nation’s engine of innovation and growth.
- Expand efforts to create quality jobs for all Californians: A truly sustainable recovery must create quality jobs and equitable pathways to them. This is particularly important for communities most impacted by the pandemic and recession, which have been historically locked out of these opportunities.
- Focus on sectors that correlate to California’s strengths: California’s strongest and most resilient sectors should be a core focus of ongoing recovery strategies to develop quality jobs that meet the growing demand. The care economy, including childcare and elder care, is a prime example of a growth industry in California.
- Pursue inclusive regional strategies that leverage each region’s assets and mix of industries: COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on the state’s diverse regions based on the industries concentrated in each. Strategies should recognize the varied conditions on the ground and encourage cross-sector partnerships at the regional level to drive economic recovery.
- Continue to support essential workers: The state must continue to focus on protecting essential workers who bear an increased risk of exposure to the virus. The Task Force has assisted efforts to increase the production of PPE, expand access to testing and enhance workplace safety.
- Expand support and provide flexibility to small businesses: Small businesses are the cornerstone for our economic growth. California should continue to build on its supports for small businesses, especially those owned by women and people of color and operating in economically distressed areas.
- Continue efforts to close the digital divide: The pandemic has demonstrated that access to quality, affordable internet and devices is critical to success in school and in business. The work to bridge the digital divide must continue in order to support a sustainable, long-term recovery.
- Promote telemedicine: The Task Force identified telemedicine as a way to provide essential care to more Californians, building on the gains in virtual health made during the pandemic and improving access, affordability and equity of care.
- Incorporate equity and sustainability at every stage of the recovery effort: This year’s historic wildfires have underscored the critical need to bolster the state’s resilience to climate impacts and support California’s carbon-neutral economy. At the same time, the state must help create jobs and opportunities for industries that will likely decline amid the transition to a carbon neutral-economy, and for the communities that will be impacted.
These priorities are reflected in work already underway through an array of initiatives, collaborations and investments for consideration going forward. This includes the California Rebuilding Fund, a new public-private partnership to support the state’s small businesses by offering flexible, affordable capital and free advisory services through community-based lenders. This year’s state budget, approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in June, allocates $25 million for the Fund to help impacted small businesses with loans up to $100,000 to keep their doors open and local economies strong.
A number of other proposals developed by the Task Force have taken root across the state, including robust support for California’s small businesses and critical work to help close the digital divide. The Task Force also proposed steps to close the digital divide by working to identify where the need for improved connectivity was greatest, helping to secure donations for devices and hot spots to serve students and enlisting the support of internet service providers in expanding access to low-cost plans for families in need.
Task Force members offered their perspectives on the benefits of the process and outcomes, many of which are included in the report.
“It was clear from the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic that comprehensive federal relief was essential to getting people and economies back on their feet. The State of California has made remarkable progress in tackling this health and economic crisis, but it can’t do it alone – strong federal support is needed not just for governments fighting COVID, but their communities and economies. Representing diverse walks of life and perspectives, Task Force members united around the need for these critical funds from the federal government and continued to advocate for them,” said Task Force member Janet Yellen, former Chair of the Federal Reserve.
“We appreciate the leadership shown by this Task Force and the bold move to create a care solutions table comprised of state, employer and labor stakeholders that will immediately continue to refine the work needed to protect nursing home workers and residents while working on solutions for the long-term transformation and expansion of afford-able long-term care Californians need. In doing so, we begin addressing decades of inequalities and structural deficits that have created the disparate impacts COVID has had on the lives of workers, our communities of color and our immigrant brothers and sisters,” said Task Force member April Verrett, President of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 2015.
“Through this process, we have shown California’s commitment to centering equity and community-building in all our efforts. Immigrant Californians comprise more than a quarter of our state’s population and a full third of our labor force. The Task Force recognized the importance of their economic contributions, particularly by essential workers who took on risk to provide our food, health care and elder care – and it also recognized the myriad ways in which federal programs had excluded undocumented Californians and their mixed-status families. From the Governor’s Disaster Relief Assistance for immigrant families, to ensuring outreach in multiple languages, to the creation of a health equity metric aimed at reducing disparities, we are proud of California’s leadership and eager to keep collaborating on equitable solutions for our state,” said Dr. Manuel Pastor, Director of the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE).
“The Task Force’s goal was to provide representation for the underserved and communities of color throughout California. In the Central Valley, the Latino community was especially hard hit with COVID-19. Our essential labor force continued tirelessly working in the fields to produce food for the nation. Our rural communities were provided PPE, timely testing, and isolation shelter to keep themselves, their families and communities safe. The requests for assistance in the rural and agricultural regions were heard loud and clear by our Governor,” said Task Force member Don Cameron, Vice President and General Manager of Terranova Ranch.
Recognizing that the state’s long-term economic growth must be sustainable and resilient in the face of a changing climate, the Task Force helped to launch the California Climate Action Corps – the country’s first statewide corps of its kind with the mission of empowering Californians to take meaningful action to protect their homes, health and communities against the harshest impacts of climate change. The Task Force was also an essential partner in bolstering the statewide “Wear a Mask” public awareness campaign and the Calling All Californians, #ShopSafeShopLocal initiative to encourage Californians to support businesses in their neighborhoods and connect those businesses to state resources.
The Co-Chairs conclude the report with several key lessons learned to inform the state’s ongoing recovery efforts:
- Lead with science and be responsive to changing circumstances.
- Encourage and enforce compliance with public health and safety mandates.
- Make the public our allies in the fight.
- Bring together a broad range of voices to provide a clearer view of the challenges and help drive better solutions.
- Remain engaged with partners across sectors.
- Expand public-private partnerships.
- Continue to work with federal leaders on critical relief.
Recovery for All: Final Report of the Co-Chairs of the Governor’s Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery can be read in full here.