A Manufacturing Summit helped validate surprising findings about
Contra Costa County's real economic strengths.
Coming Together to Identify Problems
The WDBCCC's initial analyses suggested that despite the Bay Area's association with high-tech
industries, Contra Costa's economic health was primarily associated with advanced energy and advanced manufacturing industries.
Although the WDBCCC had confidence in its analysis, the results contradicted common perceptions of
the region. Before any action could be taken, it needed to both validate them and better understand
The WDBCCC initiated two approaches to convene local partners to collectively discuss the
results. First, the WDBCCC organized small focus groups made up of representatives from local
manufacturing and energy industries, and gave these groups the task to better understand the
nature of industry operations and to assess industry expectations for current and projected
workforce needs. Second, the WDBCCC invited local industry leaders, community college
representatives, and staff from its One-Stop Centers to a Manufacturing Summit where the
WDBCCC introduced its findings about Contra Costa County's economic structure and discussed how,
as a group, the parties present could serve the needs of these industries. The presence of key
players (i.e. industry, education, and workforce training representatives) was essential for
the development of a solution.