Thousands of Californians face the very real possibility of being priced out of their communities. These public forums will explore the rising cost of education and housing and the dwindling opportunity to reach, or remain within, the middle class. In the first three programs, leaders in government, business, academia and philanthropy will dissect the problems and search for solutions to California's affordability challenge. A fourth installment will be part of the 2015 Milken Institute California Summit and serve as a platform to provide expert analysis and inform potential policy recommendations.

For more information about this series, contact Matt Horton.

August 26, 2015
In California's major metro areas, a growing, mostly young workforce is priced out of the housing market and forced to dedicate greater portions of income to rent or face long commutes from less-expensive communities. Aversion to density and lack of new residential development creates a market without adequate growth where demand outstrips housing supply and will for the foreseeable future. What can state and community leaders do to overcome the aversion to high-density development and increase access to affordable housing while keeping neighborhoods whole?

September 30, 2015
As students are increasingly forced to borrow to pay ever-increasing tuition, and as housing prices continue to rise, can we expect more young people and families to be driven from the state in search of a lifestyle they can afford? In the last 20 years, California has seen an exodus of almost 4 million people to other U.S. states. What are the social effects of rising education costs on the purchasing power of graduated and — indentured — students? Are there ways to slow or reverse rising costs and stop students from spiraling into debt while building a system responsive to 21st century needs?

November 10, 2015
The recession was especially hard on small businesses, and their recovery has been slower than previous recessions. At the same time, the state has struggled both to retain skilled workers needed for growth and to train new workers to fill vacancies. These twin dilemmas stem in part to the high cost of housing, which forces many workers to leave the state, and inadequate opportunities for education and training. How do state leaders reconcile growing skills gap with key regulatory and structural barriers that are inhibiting the state's ability to attract, retain and expand businesses?

The series of forums will be followed by further discussion of the issues at the main plenary session at the Milken Institute's 2015 California Summit. Leaders from policy, business, academia and philanthropy will assemble to review key points raised during the forums and consider policy recommendations. The report of discussions at the California Summit will serve as the work plan for the Milken Institute California Center in 2016.