California's Central Valley is arguably the most productive agricultural region in the world. However, despite the region's significant advantages in agriculture and comparative advantages over coastal California in terms of real estate costs, cost of living, and wages, it has routinely been passed over by private equity and venture capital investors, as well as by policy makers who have focused instead on regions with larger populations and more industry.
This report examines the history and impact of both public investment and publicly documented private equity investment in the Central Valley. It includes recommendations for strengthening economic development by leveraging current investment and driving future investment in the region.
We focus on two areas that are essential to bolstering the region's economy. The first focus area is workforce development and human capital, which refers not only to levels of educational attainment in the region's workforce, but also to the ability to match education and training with the actual needs of both current and potential employers. The second area is public and private investment in the region that is specifically targeted to growing businesses and the regional economy.