Thursday, December 10, 2009

Award honors Solano County teamwork

Award honors Solano County teamwork
By Reporter Staff
Posted: 12/10/2009

A series of economic summits -- and the collaborative efforts they inspired -- have earned Solano County the 2009 Cities, Counties and Schools Partnership Award.

"This award is more than an accolade of our economic partners working together on a common goal. It tells all the other California communities that we are the example they should follow," said Supervisor John Vasquez of Vacaville, chairman of the Board of Supervisors.

The award recognizes the county's efforts to develop a forum where the cities and county could come together to craft a common economic vision, define a role in economic development for the county and establish a shared commitment toward achieving that vision.

The first Economic Summit in February 2007 branded Solano County as the center of a mega-economic region stretching from the Bay Area to Sacramento and beyond. The more than 180 people at that summit identified a series of opportunities and challenges common to all Solano communities, and they committed to working together to enhance the overall economic vitality of the region.

"By the end of the first summit, we were committed to working together to make our local economy even more vibrant," said Supervisor Mike Reagan.

The summits led to the creation of the inaugural Solano Index of Economic and Community Progress in November 2008, which evaluated a series of insightful indicators that shape the local economy and community. An analysis of the life science and energy industry clusters in 2009 were follow-up reports based on the findings in the index.

The summits also inspired other collaborative efforts to address issues identified as critical to building and sustaining the local economy:

* More than 300 students came together for the first countywide Youth Summit that resulted in a commitment to form a countywide Youth Commission and increase the number of career fairs at local high schools.

* Business and education leaders began working together to develop a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) program at Solano schools.

* The cities of Benicia, Suisun, Dixon and Rio Vista partnered with the county on a Community Development Block Grant program that provides assistance to micro-enterprise businesses.

* GOSolano! was formed as a working group of representatives from nonprofits, economic development and the public sector to maximize federal stimulus grant opportunities.

"Solano County has a history of using its collaborative capital to address issues of common concern, and our communities have rallied around doing what it takes to secure our shared economic future," said Mike Ammann, president of Solano Economic Development Corporation, an agency that seeks to attract, grow and retain business and industry in the county.

Cities, Counties, Schools Partnership is a collaborative effort of the League of California Cities, California State Association of Counties, and the California School Boards Association. The officers and executives of these associations make up the Board of Directors of the CCS Partnership, and they meet regularly to examine common issues.

The CCS Partnership Awards program offers statewide recognition for the creativity and leadership demonstrated in choosing to collaborate with other jurisdictions to address community issues.