Pier in Pismo Beach, California, at sunset via AdobeStock.

REACH (California Central Coast) – Resilience Roadmap


California’s Central Coast holds many advantages including a broad industry base, dynamic employers, diverse populations, and scenic landscapes. Its growing tech and innovation ecosystem is supported by two leading universities—California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara)—along with a trio of top-tier community colleges. Yet, despite these advantages, the region also faces long-standing economic challenges including a mismatch between wages and rapidly escalating housing costs. Skilled workers at all levels are needed for companies to continue to innovate and grow. To meet this need, continued investment in talent development and in the foundational systems needed to support the workforce, including an adequate housing supply, must be a priority.


To address these challenges, REACH—an economic impact organization working to increase economic prosperity in the counties of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara—led the creation of the region’s first-ever comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS). Funded by the US Economic Development Administration with financial support from the counties and Bank of America, the Resilience Roadmap, aims to build regional capacity, maximize investment opportunities, and strengthen economic resilience over a five-year horizon. The planning process was facilitated by TIP Strategies and guided by a multi-stakeholder CEDS Strategy Committee, based on extensive community input and robust data analysis. The CEDS is organized around three goals, each of which includes a key initiative designed to transform the region by deepening partnerships and fostering cross-sector collaboration. The first initiative, under the people goal, is focused on building on existing career pathways work to ensure talent is prepared for the region’s job opportunities. Under the second goal area, innovation, a focus on cross-sector partnerships that leverage the region’s existing companies, workforce, and assets will spur economic growth in target sectors. The third initiative, under the place goal, calls for the formation of a regional housing and infrastructure coalition charged with identifying and removing barriers to increasing the number of Central Coast housing units that are attainable to the workforce. Along with the CEDS, TIP provided a robust evaluation framework and a stand-alone matrix to track progress on the plan’s implementation. As part of the engagement, TIP also partnered with Lightcast to compile data on the impact of four of the region’s target sectors.

Scroll to Top