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CEO Leadership Alliance Orange County | Working together to build a thriving Orange County for all.
Mark Percy, President, CLA-OC Welcome to OC Leader Wire
A bi-monthly update from CEO Leadership Alliance Orange County


CLAOC has embarked on a five-year plan to collectively train over 10,000 youth and young adults to become part of the OC Tech Talent Hub, a systems-based approach to connect underserved youth and underemployed workers to employers earlier and more effectively.

Working collaboratively with education, non-profit, and workforce partners, CLAOC efficiently connects community stakeholders with a unified coalition of some of the largest employers in the county, including Ingram Micro, Pacific Life, Skyworks, Edwards Lifesciences, Johnson & Johnson, TTM Technologies, AWS, PIMCO, CHOC, EY, UCI and Medtronic.

In 2021, CLAOC successfully launched four experiential learning pilots connecting young talent with OC employers. The Career Exploration Experiences was among these pilot efforts; we have linked a recap here with representative outcomes.

Another way we are preparing the future leaders of Orange County is through our Orange Fellows program, a two-year fellowship to mentor young talent presently working in OC companies. Designed to develop and retain talent in Orange County long-term, this program is already serving its second cohort of young professionals. Read about Orange Fellow Minh Nguyen.

As we significantly scale these programs in 2022 and beyond, the driving vision is to create new opportunities for local talent to earn a sustainable income in a tech-related occupation in Orange County and thrive near family and friends.

Education and business have committed to work together with considerable urgency, as the adoption of digital technologies and automation across all industries is rapidly accelerating. With the tightest labor market in decades, companies are aggressively seeking ways to develop talent in their own backyard; students and residents will need increasingly relevant workplace skills to meet industry's needs.
Develop. Retain. Attract.

Click Here to Download CLAOC's 2021 Accomplishments
2021 Accomplishments

In collaboration with McKinsey & Company, CLAOC recently submitted an application package for a $25M federal Good Jobs Challenge grant focused on an OC Tech workforce training coalition. For the first time in Orange County, all elements of a true employer-aligned talent development and retention ecosystem are now in place. If awarded, this funding would add to an array of notable 2021 accomplishments by CLAOC, achieved in collaboration with so many other creative and capable colleagues, aligned around our common vision of A Thriving OC for All. Each accomplishment is organized around one of our five areas of strategic focus and include:
Areas of Focus Experiential Learning

• Signed an agreement with AWS to certify 4,000 students in AWS technologies.
• Signed agreement with Intel and Google to train high school and community college students in Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Project Management and IT Support fundamentals.
• Successfully launched 4 Career Exploration Experience pilots (internships, mentorships, pre-apprenticeships) and alumni programming for over 375 underserved high school and community college students, involving over 10 major OC employers.
• Expanded the Orange Fellows program with a second cohort, serving over 50 young professionals in the two-year leadership development program.
Areas of Focus AI-Infused Talent

• Designed and completed a strategic plan for an AI Talent Center of Excellence - the portion of the OC Tech Talent Hub led by CLAOC.
• Formed strategic partnership with NVIDIA to lead a pioneering AI Community initiative with K12 and higher education institutions to democratize the acquisition of the knowledge, skills and hands on learning of artificial intelligence through access to supercomputing power.
Areas of Focus Ecosystem Branding

• Improved first-ever website ( to brand OC more effectively as a distinct region to retain and attract IT/AI talent, while also supporting an aligned SoCal regional innovation campaign.
Areas of Focus Entrepreneurial Culture

• Collaborated with Edwards Lifesciences to form a $1.5M minority entrepreneur capital access pilot in SoCal.
• Closed Fund 1 of the SC Master Fund and raised $60M in capital that has been invested in 5 SoCal VCs and 6 startups.
• Advocated for 2 years that the State of California designate funds to create a Venture Fund of Funds to invest through minority led VCs into innovation startups also led by minority founders. After working with the Governor and his business development office, GOBIZ, the state has committed $200M to fund this initiative in 2022.
Areas of Focus Policy and Infrastructure

• Serving as Lead Agency for a $25M Good Jobs Challenge proposal to grow and strengthen a sustainable talent development ecosystem for IT/AI, Healthcare and Advanced Manufacturing in OC. Win or not, we now have a blueprint to collectively deliver over 10,000 trainees by 2026 with about half receiving better paying tech jobs.
• Held bi-monthly learning events with CEO groups from many U.S. regions across the U.S., while planning for a National Coalition gathering (Feb. 2022 in OC) focused on challenges and opportunities to close the skills and talent gap across the U.S.
We are grateful to all our members and coalition partners for engaging to achieve together what none of us could accomplish alone. I hope you are as excited as we are about what is possible over the next five years!

For a thriving OC,

Mark Percy
Mark Percy
CEO Leadership Alliance Orange County
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