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Guest Post: Social Justice, Economic Vitality and the California Dream

BY Manuel Pastor
Manuel Pastor
Manuel Pastor directs the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and co-d
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| Dec 13, 2012 2

By Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California

As part of our 75th anniversary, Irvine commissioned a series of posts from California experts and thought leaders about the state’s most important trends and how we might collectively respond to them. This post is the last in the series. We invite you to read other posts in the series and share your reactions below.

The lore of California has been one of a place of plenty — abundant harvests, growing industries, excesses of land and opportunity. While that vision has not always rung true for some, in the last few years, many in the state are starting to question if there is, indeed, enough to go around. It’s little wonder they wonder: earnings for those in the bottom four-fifths of the state’s income distribution have been falling for decades, and the current recession has left gaping holes in both our state budget and our private hopes.

My colleague, Angela Glover Blackwell, and I have a saying — it’s more hers than mine, but she’s a sharer — “equity is the superior growth model.” It’s not just warm-hearted rhetoric: Using sophisticated statistical techniques, we have been able to demonstrate that metropolitan regions that pay attention to reducing inequality and racial segregation experience more sustained economic expansion, with our seemingly controversial results confirmed by none other than the Cleveland Federal Reserve.

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Guest Post: Growing California’s 21st Century Workforce

BY Stephen Levy
Stephen Levy
Stephen Levy is director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Ec
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| Nov 13, 2012

By Stephen Levy, Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy

As part of our 75th anniversary, Irvine commissioned a series of posts from California experts and thought leaders who discuss the state’s most important trends and how we might collectively respond to them. This is one of those posts and we invite you to check back throughout the fall to read more of these entries and share your reactions below.

Over the next 20 years, the largest and most highly educated cohort of workers will retire from the California workforce and need to be replaced. This will happen even with baby boomers working longer and retiring later. At the same time, the economy is projected to add nearly 4 million jobs as the state regains the jobs lost in the recession and continues to add jobs.

Replacing retiring baby boomers and preparing for future job growth means we will need new workers at all skill levels. For every high-tech worker or teacher who retires, there is also a plumber, firefighter, truck driver and mechanic who will need to be replaced. These opportunities provide hope to families worried about their future and the future of their children. But the opportunities must be converted to success if our economy and residents are to prosper.

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Guest Post: Making the Most of a Population Slowdown

BY Karthick Ramakrishnan
Karthick Ramakrishnan
Karthick Ramakrishnan is associate professor of political science at the Univers
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| Oct 26, 2012

By Karthick Ramakrishnan, University of California, Riverside

As part of our 75th anniversary, Irvine commissioned a series of posts from California experts and thought leaders who discuss the state’s most important trends and how we might collectively respond to them. This is one of those posts and we invite you to check back throughout the fall to read more of these entries and share your reactions below.

California, long viewed as a destination for newcomers from other countries and elsewhere in the United States, is increasingly a state of homegrown residents. It is also a state whose population growth has slowed considerably from the torrid pace of much of the 20th Century. Whether this bodes well or ill for the Golden State remains an open question, one that depends critically on whether economic and social investments will be sufficient to sustain prosperity and wellbeing.

In 2000, California crossed a pivotal threshold, with just over half of the state’s residents born in the Golden State and the remainder born elsewhere in the United States or abroad. Just ten years prior, residents born out of state, including the foreign born, had outnumbered native-born Californians by a ratio of 54 percent to 46 percent. By 2010, that ratio would be reversed, with 46 percent of Californians born outside the Golden State and 54 percent born within.

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Guest Post: Addressing the Multiple Causes of Inequality

BY Lisa García Bedolla
Lisa García Bedolla
Lisa García Bedolla is Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Education a
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| Oct 16, 2012 2

By Lisa García Bedolla, Graduate School of Education at Berkeley

As part of our 75th anniversary, Irvine commissioned a series of posts from California experts and thought leaders who discuss the state’s most important trends and how we might collectively respond to them. This is one of those posts and we invite you to check back throughout the fall to read more of these entries and share your reactions below.

With California a majority-minority state, our challenge is finding innovative ways to address persistent racial inequality. A recent UCLA report showed that almost 70 percent of California’s youth are non-white, with no single racial group making up a majority. The report also reveals the stark differences in rates of enrollment in postsecondary education and labor market participation across ethno racial groups, and between males and females within groups. Among immigrant and non-immigrant Latinos, females are 11 percent more likely to enroll in postsecondary education than males, a gap that is echoed across all other ethno racial groups except for Asian/Pacific Islanders. Similarly, almost 30 percent of immigrant Latino and African American youth aged 18–22 are out of school and out of work, compared to 14 percent of white and 8 percent of Asian/Pacific Islander youth. These structural inequalities affect every aspect of our state’s well-being — our income tax base, levels of political participation and the degree to which public policy reflects the needs of all Californians.

One good example of the impact that educational inequality has on all Californians is Latino college-going rates. Latinos are California’s largest ethno racial group, yet have the lowest rates of college completion. Martin Carnoy calls low Latino college graduation rates a "college graduate crisis" that will have detrimental long-term effects on the state’s economy. He points out that even though in 2005–06 almost half of students in California’s public schools were Latino, Latinos made up only about 15 percent of the bachelor’s degrees awarded by the state’s public and private universities. Patrick Kelly estimates that the lack of college completion among Latinos will, by 2020, result in a two percent decrease in national per capita income. In Latino-heavy California, that effect will be significantly greater, leading to double-digit decreases in per capita income. Since our state’s taxation system depends heavily on income taxes, these changes can be expected to have non-trivial effects on state revenue and service provision. They also will affect the federal tax base. Thus, college completion rates among Latinos have important economic consequences for California and the United States as a whole.

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Guest Post: Investing in the Common Good

BY Ralph Lewin
Ralph Lewin
Ralph Lewin is President and CEO of Cal Humanities, a nonprofit that promotes th
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| Sep 26, 2012

By Ralph Lewin, Cal Humanities

As part of our 75th anniversary, Irvine commissioned a series of posts from California experts and thought leaders who discuss the state’s most important trends and how we might collectively respond to them. This is one of those posts and we invite you to check back throughout the fall to read more of these entries and share your reactions below.

Today, ongoing wars, the housing crisis and the recession have hit many of us hard. Thousands have lost homes, retirement savings, jobs and even loved ones. And yet I've noticed some unexpected and heartening after-effects — bright spots amidst this darkness. Many friends have made drastic changes in their lives, prioritizing long-neglected passions or making courageous career leaps into profoundly meaningful work. Others have engaged more deeply with their families and communities.

Historically, our darkest hours on Earth have given birth to some of our most brilliant moments — our brightest ideas and most illuminating conversations. Steinbeck, Picasso and Einstein worked from such eras: the Great Depression, the Spanish Civil War, World War II. The voices of Harriet Beecher Stowe, Anne Frank, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. have called to us from the edge of the abyss and inspired empathy, reflection and change.

Perhaps suffering great hardship and loss reminds us of what’s most beautiful and precious, compelling us to take risks, speak out and spend time on what matters most. Perhaps it is time to fundamentally re-examine how we've come to assign value as a society, and to work creatively in order to protect what matters from extinction.

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Guest Post: Equity and California’s Tomorrow

BY Angela Glover Blackwell
Angela Glover Blackwell
Angela Glover Blackwell is the founder and CEO of PolicyLink, a national researc
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| Sep 19, 2012

By Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink

As part of our 75th anniversary, Irvine commissioned a series of posts from California experts and thought leaders who discuss the state’s most important trends and how we might collectively respond to them. This is one of those posts and we invite you to check back throughout the fall to read more of these entries and share your reactions below.

At a hearing of the California State Assembly Select Committee on the Status of Boys and Men of Color last spring, Joshua Ham, an African American 11th grader, described a typical day at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles. Ninety-nine percent of students are Latino and African American, and as they approach the building, “tall prison-looking gates with large hooks on the top” point toward them. Police cars cruise the streets. Security guards search backpacks. Classrooms are under-resourced and teachers are overwhelmed. “How can we truly be expected to achieve at a high academic level when we are experiencing conditions that are more like a prison and less like a school?” Josh asked the committee.

Young people like the Manual Arts students are the future of California, and California is the future of America. The state has led the country in the most significant demographic transformation in United States history — a majority of Californians are people of color, a shift that will occur nationwide within 30 years. Seventy-three percent of Californians under 18 are youth of color. They must succeed if our state is to succeed.

California can show America how to respond to, and invest in, these changes by blazing the trail toward a new economic model focused on equity, inclusion and prosperity for all. And we must begin by listening to the voices of tomorrow. Read more >>

Irvine at 75: A Look Back, A Look Ahead

BY Jim Canales
Jim Canales
Jim Canales served as President and Chief Executive Officer of The James Irvine
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| Sep 10, 2012 1

By Jim Canales

In 1937, California’s population was approaching six million residents, the most iconic bridge in the world made its grand debut and a wealthy agricultural pioneer decided to give back much of his fortune to Californians by founding The James Irvine Foundation. As the Irvine Foundation marks its 75th anniversary this year, we naturally look back on our decades of grantmaking with a sense of pride in the accomplishments of our grantees who have worked so hard to help improve the lives of Californians. But we also use the occasion to look ahead and explore what is possible for this great state and how we might continue to play a role in expanding opportunity for the people of California.

We commemorate our 75th anniversary with a new timeline of significant moments in the history of the Irvine Foundation and our grantees, including photos that capture the role of Irvine grantees in responding to some of California’s biggest challenges. Take a look and let us know what you think — we hope you are inspired by the impact our grantees have had on a diverse range of issues over time, representing the freedom that James Irvine provided to the Foundation’s trustees to adapt and evolve the organization’s focus based on the changing needs in California.

What strikes me about the timeline is how it documents our evolution from a somewhat insular institution that funded causes close to home, to a strategic partner to our grantees, working with them to tackle the biggest issues of the day. This transition mirrors the century-long evolution of private philanthropy as the sector has recognized the opportunity and the responsibility to be bolder in our aspirations and to take a strategic approach to solving societal problems. For Irvine, the days are long gone when our Board of Directors would decide which organizations to fund based largely on personal connections or institutional profile.

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Guest Post: Building California’s Future

BY Mark Baldassare
Mark Baldassare
Mark Baldassare is the president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of Calif
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| Sep 10, 2012 1

By Mark Baldassare, Public Policy Institute of California

As part of our 75th anniversary, Irvine commissioned a series of posts from California experts and thought leaders who discuss the state’s most important trends and how we might collectively respond to them. This is one of those posts and we invite you to check back throughout the fall to read more of these entries and share your reactions below.

With fiscal crisis and a fragile economy the focus of concern in California, it is easy to overlook the state’s other challenges. But three troubling trends deserve attention because they threaten the well-being of Californians and the state’s prosperity for years to come. These threats also present opportunities—for state leaders and residents to step up and forge a new vision for California.

First, the state’s education system is failing to keep up with the changing demands of the state’s economy. California — which built the most admired public higher education system in the country — now lags other states in the production of college graduates. This is happening at a time when changes across industries require more highly educated workers than ever and as the Baby Boom generation — a relatively well-educated one — is being replaced by demographic groups with historically low rates of college completion. Projections suggest that, if current trends continue, the state economy will require one million more college graduates in 2025 than the state can produce. If we fail to change this trend the result is likely to be a less productive economy and less tax revenue for the state.

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