CHAMBER EXPLORES EMPLOYER SPONSORED HOUSING CONSORTIUM
Lack of local housing supply for the workforce is the longest standing challenge faced by businesses in Santa Barbara County. In response, the Chamber launched the Roadmap to Recovery: The Road Home, exploring employer-sponsored housing as a solution to our housing supply crisis. Over the last several months, meetings were held with County Supervisors Capps and Hartman, County Planning Staff, potential business investors, and developers to create an Employer Sponsored Housing Consortium to allow employers to invest in housing for their employees. The Chamber continues to work with these stakeholders to implement a plan. If you are interested in participating, contact Dustin. Read More on the Roadmap to Recovery – The Road Home.
THE SANTA BARBARA VISITOR TROLLEY
Businesses on the State Street corridor expressed frustration that a lack of a shuttle was hurting their summer business. The Chamber responded by implementing a visitor trolley as fast as possible. The Chamber gathered community partners Visit Santa Barbara, Downtown Santa Barbara, and the City of Santa Barbara to successfully launch the "Santa Barbara Visitor Trolley" pilot program to move residents and visitors between the Funk Zone and downtown Santa Barbara. The pilot program ended in September, but is temporarily resuming in November and December for the holiday shopping season, read more.
STATE STREET MASTER PLAN UPDATE
The Chamber remains committed to two major focuses regarding State Street and Downtown Santa Barbara: A long-term strategy that addresses the economic vitality of the downtown corridor through the Master Plan, and immediate policies that bolster businesses on and around State Street. Each of these efforts has been more difficult than the Chamber and local businesses would have preferred, so we continue host State Street Roundtables to keep these topics top of mind in the community and at the City.
SOUTH COAST TECH ROUNDTABLE
The South Coast Tech Roundtable recently gathered with a strong turnout of over 25 attendees. Among the topics of discussion, the progress of the employer-sponsored housing consortium was presented, showcasing advancements in the initiative. Workforce development was another focal point, with mention of collaborations with local institutions to train future high-tech workers. Discussions on energy reliability touched upon upcoming interactions with major energy players, emphasizing the challenges of our local grid. The potential for achieving a tech hub designation through the federal EDA was explored, acknowledging the stiff national competition. Yet, a spotlight on the economic state of the local tech and manufacturing sectors revealed that hiring has slowed, marking a significant shift from last year's pattern.
CARPINTERIA HIGH SCHOOL TECH TOUR
Access to a qualified local workforce has become a challenge for local technology and manufacturing companies. Local companies and schools have both expressed interest in connecting with each other on this topic. In response, the Chamber organized a tour of local tech companies for the Carpinteria High School faculty's professional development day. The tour included visits to Agilent Technologies, Curvature, and the UCSB Nanofab. The tour gave teachers insight into technology-related careers, with the purpose of bringing back valuable knowledge to inspire their students in their future career paths. The main message was that in today's dynamic job market, it's crucial to recognize that not all career opportunities require a background in computer science, mathematics, or engineering. Numerous career possibilities can be explored from entry-level positions within a company. This tour was also an important first step toward future workforce development partnerships between the Chamber, local companies, and local high schools like Carpinteria High.