CERF (Community Economic Resilience Fund)
Partners commit to unified effort to apply for state community investment dollars
Five local organizations have joined forces to lead an effort in the coming years to bring tens of millions of state dollars and hopefully even more in private investment into our community to create a diverse economy with high-quality jobs that are accessible to all.
The Kern Coalition consists of Kern Community College District (Kern CCD) , B3K Prosperity, Kern Inyo Mono Central Labor Council (KIM CLC), Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK), and Building Healthy Communities Kern. The coalition will serve as co-conveners and Kern CCD will serve as fiscal agent in applying for state grant opportunities from the Communities Economic Resilience Fund (CERF), a new $600 million statewide economic and workforce development initiative. CERF, authorized in Senate Bill 162, is an equity-centric, nontraditional approach to a post-pandemic economic recovery that leads to quality jobs and family-sustaining careers.
The Kern Coalition will reimagine what collaboration looks like across inter-segmental agencies as all entities come together with a common goal of bringing jobs to disinvested communities. Leveraging the expertise of each entity will help strengthen the outreach efforts, information and research needed to have a robust CERF engagement process.
This summer, the Kern Coalition submitted a letter of intent to apply for the first round of CERF funding which is a planning grant.
What is it?
SB 162, the Community Economic Resilience Fund, authorized funds for an equity-centric, nontraditional approach to a post-pandemic economic recovery that leads to quality jobs and family-sustaining careers.
Who is the targeted audience?
Disinvested communities, communities with high poverty and high unemployment rates, who before, during, and after the pandemic have been economically disproportionately impacted in income equality, those who make up the working poor (6).
What is the timeline for the grant?
Phase I - Planning Grant due July 25th
Planning starts October 1, 2022
Phase II-Plans/projects identified during the planning phase will be awarded on a rolling basis.
What’s the expectation of the CERF implementation?
Using data-informed research from labor market analysis and priority industry sectors, develop an integrated localized and/or subregional recovery and transitional plan through a collaborative process of key stakeholders that facilitates economic diversification, sustainability, and equity.
Kern Inyo Mono Central Labor Council
KIM CLC is an association of various unions representing workers in various industries and sectors. Having labors voice at the table is critical in ensuring equitable economic development is achieved in Kern County. By having labor, community, business, and education coming together we can achieve historic changes and investments in underserved communities.
In order for Kern County to continue its growth we must look at other industries outside of agriculture and fossil fuels. Through this initiative we have an opportunity to create the blueprint for future high-quality jobs for our communities. The state and federal government is looking to Kern on the template for true and equitable economic development with a worker centered approach.
Community Action Partnership of Kern
CAPK is proud to be a part of the CERF regional application and to serve as a co-convener among the many distinguished partners. Our role allows us to represent our clients and low-income communities, as well as the social service sector with many of us reaching all parts of the county through direct services and strategic access points.
This collaborative approach helps to ensure there is an inclusive method to addressing the core intent of the CERF grant in building a more sustainable and resilient economy in Kern County with equitable access to quality jobs in maintainable industries.
As Kern County’s official anti-poverty agency, we are committed to ensuring that the people we serve, and the most disadvantaged neighborhoods and communities in Kern, can participate in this process. Kern County gets stronger when we grow and innovate together.
B3K’s purpose is to pursue inclusive economic development and create 100,000 more Quality Jobs in the Bakersfield-Kern County region by 2031, so that we can halve the number of children in struggling families. Achieving that goal requires investing in all five drivers of economic development: traded sectors, talent, innovation, infrastructure and governance. Participating in the CERF grant application process is a priority for B3K, as CERF will help provide funds for investment in these five drivers.
CERF is a significant opportunity for public investment in the five drivers of economic development. Addressing these five drivers will help realize B3K’s goal of 100,000 more Quality Jobs in our region.
Kern Community College District
The twin goals of economic and workforce development identified in the CERF grant, supported by a coalition, are not new initiatives for Kern CCD. Kern CCD’s workforce development philosophy is buttressed by collaboration and a clear understanding of whom it serves—the top 100% of Kern County.
With this understanding of the deeply entrenched poverty in some of our region’s rural and urban areas, the CERF grant furthers the Kern CCD goal of partnering with others like the Kern Coalition to serve all learners.
Bringing this equitable, diverse, and inclusive coalition together is going to bring more resources to those who need it the most--that’s going to be seismic; it’s going to effect generational poverty, so it’s about impacting the community.
CERF has developed an enduring infrastructure to build upon that ensures disinvested communities have access to good quality jobs with family sustainable wages in order to thrive. CERF is about a community-wide socioeconomic uplift that begins with CERF funding but opens the door wide open to advance the vision of shared prosperity.
Building Healthy Communities (BHC) Kern County
Building Healthy Communities is a comprehensive community initiative that is creating a revolution in the way Californians think about and support health in their communities. Residents are proving that they can make health happen in their neighborhoods, schools and with prevention—and in doing so, they are creating a brighter future for their children. Over 1,200 residents, youth, businesses and organizations are leading the Building Healthy Communities (BHC) South Kern effort to positively change the health of our communities through a shared vision, goals and action plan. Residents in Arvin, Lamont, Weedpatch and the unincorporated areas of Greenfield are proving that we have the power to make health happen in our communities. BHC Kern County is promoting healthy change in the areas of:
- Education: Improving education from pre-K through adulthood
- Environment: Creating a healthy environment with clean air and water
- Health Access: Increasing access to a better health care system
- Recreation: Improving recreational activities, facilities and parks
The Kern Coalition’s mission is to unify and bolster local efforts that advocate for the equitable attainment of good, quality jobs that promote a resilient economy, and positive health, social, and environmental outcomes in disinvested communities through diverse representation and securing direct investments for economic development strategies.
To eliminate generational poverty and promote equitable, economic mobility for all in Kern County by ensuring investments dismantle systemic barriers.
- Financial Security
Below is a list our current list of partners who provided a CPAL letter for the grant application. If you and/or your organization are interested in getting involved, please complete this form.
African American Network of Kern County
City of Arvin
California City Chamber of Commerce
City of Bakersfield
Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce
California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
California State University - Bakersfield
City of Delano
Delano Chamber of Commerce
Department of the Air Force- Air Force Research Laboratory
Desert Valleys FCU
Dolores Huerta Foundation
Employers Training Resource
Greenfield Walking Group
IBEW Local 428
International Union of Operating Engineers Local NO.12
Kern County Black Chamber of Commerce
Kern County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Kern County Superintendent of Schools
Kern Community Foundation
Kern High School District
Mexican American Opportunity Foundation
City of McFarland
McFarland Chamber of Commerce
Mid State Development Corp.
Mojave Air and Space Port
Open Gate Alliance
Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce
SEIU Local 521
The Open Door Network
United Way of Kern County
Vision y Compromiso
City of Wasco
West Side Recreation & Parks District
Community Engagement and Input
More information on the CERF Planning Grant application will be forthcoming, including opportunities to participate in community meetings, stakeholder engagement and feedback sessions.
We value your input and engagement as we proceed together through the CERF Application Process. The CERF grant has tremendous potential to positively impact the future economy of our region. Please stay tuned in to our website for important updates.