Grow OC into a top tier innovation region in America

The key to building vibrant communities lies in cross-sector collaboration that creates new opportunities and solves persistent challenges. We convene the right people, the right business practices and the right resources to help make that happen.


Our priorities for Orange County are:

A better jobs strategy for the county
Growth in innovation jobs that have a 5 to 1 multiplier
Growth in the talent to fill those jobs
Cultivate a workforce of diverse viewpoints and skillsets
Lessen social problems through this better jobs strategy

Our unique flywheel approach

We face important challenges in creating and sustaining jobs that enable people to live a quality life in an expensive region like Orange County while improving their health, longevity and overall well-being. In addition, better jobs can help address social problems.

A strategy was needed with a ripple effect and a focus on innovation. Each innovation job can generate five additional jobs. Moreover, an innovation economy can attract dollars from around the country and the world.

CLA-OC represents diverse business sectors with guidance from talented leadership who are passionate about our community. We seek to be a catalyst and collaborator to move the county forward around a common vision.

Our four-part strategy is designed to create a multiplier effect as a flywheel that spins and builds momentum.  Those workstreams reinforce each other as key leverage points to build compounding impact over time.


Impact in Orange County

Vision: A business-led system of 21st century K-14 career pathways that align with education and nonprofit innovation, leading to jobs and a quality future for all students in OC.  Remove hunger as a barrier to learning.

2021 Goals
  1. Talent Leadership Advisory Board (T-LAB): Grow T-LAB from 20 to at least 40 members that are top OC education and business stakeholders and organize the first ever annual OC Education Summit to establish countywide talent pipeline metrics.
  2. Work Based Learning (WBL) pilot: Provide mentorships and internships through the WBL Pilot for 200 high school students, conduct a comprehensive evaluation, and design Career Exploration Experiences (CEE) that can scale to many CLA-OC member companies. Design and pilot the first- in-California OC Modern Youth Apprenticeship Program at the high school and community college levels.
  3. Launch Talent Bridges: Launch new Talent Bridge Models using CLA-OC’s collaborations with Alteryx and CISOShare. Explore, develop, and scale the Talent Bridge Model with CLA-OC Member companies.
  4. Design and Test AI/Emerging Tech and Digital Literacy Open-Source Modules: Target early learners in grades 3rd – 8th with curriculum designed to stimulate curiosity in AI and Digital Literacy. Work with OC Department of Education and world-class partners with in-school and out-of-school learning possibilities.
2020-2021 Achievements
  • Raised $200K from community then developed and launched work-based learning (WBL) pilot to create innovative and systematic approaches to career exploration experiences.
  • CHOC, UCI, and PIMCO engaged in the WBL Pilot with Tustin Unified, Anaheim Union High School District, and the Samueli Academy to provide 200+ high school students career exploration experiences.
  • Formed a Talent Leadership Advisory Board (T-LAB) made up of the top academic leaders in our county, inclusive of university leaders and community college presidents. Created T-LAB Talent Pipeline Metrics.
  • Started design of Data Analytics Talent Bridge pilot with Alteryx and North Orange County Community College District and Coast Community College District to connect 40 students from Business, Information and Communications Technologies, and Computer Science community college career pathway certificate programs directly into Alteryx.
  • Started design of Cybersecurity Talent Bridge pilot with CISOShare and Coastline ROP to provide training and internship opportunities to 20 high school students.
  • The Mobile Food service program with the Centralia Elementary School District launched in March 2020. The district has been able to adapt and supply meals during COVID-19 closures. They served 6,194 summer meals and are serving Weekend Grocery Kits every Friday throughout 2021 via the food truck.
  • Convened the three major food banks in the county, who united their efforts toward a shared purpose and resulted in the creation of the OC Hunger Alliance.

Vision: A vibrant OC business community that attracts, develops, and retains talent, meeting the dynamic and evolving needs of individuals and business.

2021 Goals
  1. Data-driven strategy: Collect employment data from 26 participating companies on local hiring and talent retention. Share this information at the June CLA-OC Executive Committee meeting and use the data to drive talent retention strategies.
  2. Foster engagement between academia and business: Facilitate collaboration between OC universities and OC employers with a goal to establish a platform to simplify the acquisition of local talent into internship and job opportunities. Have 6-9 CLA-OC companies engaged in 2021 and at least 3 universities. Begin to track number engaged with the new platform.
  3. Support the development of tomorrow’s leaders: Orange Fellows Program: Design 2-year program with input from the inaugural class of 24 Fellows and use a competitive selection process to recruit second class of up to 30 Orange Fellows. Improve applicant pool from 58 to 100 candidates.
  4. Reduce intellectual flight: Pilot a new talent retention strategy for the 400+ Ph.D. graduates from the nationally ranked School of Information and Computer Science at UCI. Identify best practices to be replicated.
2020-2021 Achievements
  • Developed the Levels of Retention strategy to focus on growing and nurturing local talent and began tracking the data that will show how we are improving retention and talent development. Recruited 26 companies to participate.
  • Talent Leadership Call on August 31, 2020 energized key education and business stakeholders to launch the Talent Levels of Retention.
  • Five working groups were formed to lead several initiatives to meet the objectives of the Levels of Retention.
  • Orange Fellowship – Created and formally launched the first cohort of 24 young professionals. Orange Fellowship provides leadership development for outstanding young professionals in Orange County.
  • In partnership with Chapman University, piloted virtual Employer Information sessions with seven member companies during the fall semester. A total of 284 university and high school students participated in the live events, and over 300 more engaged with the post-event recordings.
  • Designed, organized, and released the University Reference Guide, a long-term solution for interface between companies and three OC universities: Chapman, CSUF, and UCI.

Vision: A distinct regional identity that celebrates OC’s inclusive and opportunity-rich communities, engaging relevant stakeholders to attract and retain innovative talent and enterprises.

2021 Goals
  1. Boost brand awareness: Increase EnvisionOC.org and social media traffic by 100%.
  2. SoCal innovation branding: Partner with the Alliance for SoCal Innovation and other regional stakeholders to brand SoCal as a top-tier innovation hub in America – even a Global AI/emerging tech SuperHub. Integrate with OC-centric innovation branding; special emphasis on the UN AI For Good North America Regional Conference in Anaheim, tentatively planned for late fall 2021.
  3. Enhance website content through storytelling: Update EnvisionOC messaging to reinforce OC’s distinct advantages in the post-COVID era of “work- from-anywhere.”
  4. Focus on broader digital presence of OC: Update other regional communication channels (e.g.: Wikipedia) to underscore key marketing themes that attract talent and enterprises (diversity, lifestyle, central SoCal location, etc.)
  5. Attract new enterprises: Expand the employee presence in OC of the nation’s dominant and best- performing Big Tech companies.
2020-2021 Achievements
  • Rebranded EnvisionOC (URL, logo, style, messaging), a campaign designed to reinforce OC’s key competitive attributes, targeting individuals building their careers and enterprises building their workforce.
  • Launched v2.0 (June 2020) of EnvisionOC.org with improved links, an employer career board, innovative-company video shorts, new Lifestyle section, and new Stories section
  • Began bi-monthly e-newsletter
  • Created an interactive map showcasing OC as a collection of 34 cities (or choices) to grow a business or family.
  • Launched social media (LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) and opt-in email with click metrics

Vision: A top-tier innovation economy with connected deep talent pools, mentors/ advisors and world-class support services, fueled by abundant local capital

2021 Goals
  1. Expand SoCal Master Fund: Stay on track to achieve CLA’s three-year goal of $100M AUM by 2022, reaching at least $60M of AUM by YE 2021.
  2. Create Operate Start: A new structured program to initially fund and support startups in AI and emerging technologies, with a focus on diverse and underrepresented founders. Raise at least $500k for investment, and funds for initial startup and at least 2 years of operating costs, and launch a first cohort of the program (5-10) startups by the end of 2021.
  3. Build AI Center of Excellence to serve as the attracting force within the OC AI SuperHub: Develop start up plan for Center of Excellence including core focus, financial needs and sources, location, short list of AI company partners.
  4. Continue to position OC as top region in the world for AI knowledge and talent by fostering collaborative communities:
    • Continue to build a group of global advisors with whom we partner on research, commercial reach and joint projects by adding 2 additional members (in addition to 1 current member- Wistron ITS, a leading IT service provider with 13 international offices).
    • Showcase/host session at UN AI for Good (North America) Conference in October 2021
    • Assist in the production of an AI data and health informatics global conference, with UCI taking the lead.
2020-2021 Achievements
  • Created an SC Master Fund with goal of $500M in 3-5 raises
  • SC Master Fund Board, Investment Committee, and second GP staffed and operating.
  • Closed on $34M ($28M at MF and $6M direct).
  • Have commitments for additional $12M.
  • 2 VC’s in portfolio, additional 15 in evaluations
  • Produced extensive analysis and report of the state of innovation, investment and related jobs – posted on EnvisionOC website.
  • Sponsored additional Innovation Index with Chapman and UCI comparing OC with 22 other regions. Established innovation ranking and benchmark to be updated annually.