Christine Cooper, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporatio


The NELA River Collaborative project builds upon the growing momentum of efforts already underway to transform the Los Angeles River into a "riverfront district" and to create a focal point of community revitalization. For more information visit www.mylariver.org
The mission of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) is to attract, retain and grow businesses and jobs in L.A. County through business assistance programs, economic and policy analysis, and public policy leadership. The LAEDC will conduct an industry analysis/growth forecast and identify economic and workforce strategies to sustain the NELA area.



My name is Christine Cooper. I am the Vice President of the Economic and Policy Analysis at the L.A. County Economic Development Corporation. The LAEDC is an economic development agency for the L.A. region and we provide business assistance, public policy leadership and economic research to deliver programmatic benefits for the region.

Our interest is in developing vibrant and successful communities. And this is a project that is developing a region that is based around the river but is in essence a community that needs development focus. Not one area of that is using the river as a resource.

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So in this project and in most projects we have to begin with what is currently available. What the resources and assets are in the community. And to do that, we look at the makeup of the residences, the composition of the industry, the businesses that are there, the income levels, the type of residents, what their capabilities are, what their strengths are. It does require looking from a broad perspective and looking down a little deeper to see what the connections are between the residents and the businesses and see what can actually be built here.

The Northeast L.A. area is a diverse set of communities with a varying range of educational attainment and household income. It is somewhat less wealthy than the rest of the county. So these present challenges for workforce development job opportunities for the local community which you know you have to be aware of in order to build a successful community.

We look at the kind of businesses that are in the Northeast L.A. area. It's a whole industry mix from manufacturing, services, healthcare, and education. One of the things that we learned was that 95 percent of the residents here don't work here. 97 percent of the jobs that are currently here are filled by people outside the area. That to us seems like a little bit of a mismatch. It's not unusual, people in Los Angeles commute. But it would be nice to have people working a little bit closer to their homes. So when we do that, we also look at the occupational breakdown of those jobs and what's needed. And that helps inform workforce development efforts.

It's not surprising that the largest industries will add the most jobs. In L.A. County, in California, in the nation and in Northeast Los Angeles. And they will be healthcare, food services, there are some manufacturing opportunities that are still here, education, and construction. These are the sectors that will provide the most jobs, that will provide the most opportunities for local residents.

A riverfront district is in my view a vibrant, healthy community focused on the river as an attraction and as part of the community where residents are gainfully employed and businesses are successful and happy.


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