East Bay EDA was excited to work with a team of local officials from the Consulate General of Mexico in San Francisco to host members of a Mexican trade mission, including representatives of state governments, municipal authorities, mayors and business leaders on a tour of Laney College’s highly-acclaimed Machine Technology and other training programs in the skilled trades on Friday, March 3, 2023. This group, which was organized out of the Congress for the Internationalization of Mexican Municipalities (CIMM), came to the Bay Area to explore opportunities for trade, cooperation, and investment at the state and municipal levels, and to strengthen connections between companies operating in California and Mexico (the combined amount of imports and exports between these two partners was roughly $85 billion in 2021).

The day began with a brief overview of the East Bay regional economy from East Bay EDA Executive Director Stephen Baiter, including a focus on specific action steps and priorities called out in the organization’s East Bay Forward blueprint for economic recovery and resilience. Following those comments, Dr. Mark Martin, Regional Director of Advanced Manufacturing for the Bay Area Community Colleges, provided an insightful overview of the Bay Area and East Bay manufacturing sectors, explaining how the diversity of this sector in our region serves as a strength upon which to further expand our partnerships between our respective markets. Dr. Martin went on to say, “Despite some of the headlines and prevailing narratives about competition within the United States – the manufacturing sector as measured by GDP rate, has grown faster in California in the last two decades than it has in the rest of the U.S., including Texas.”

In addition to exploring the machine technology and other skilled trades programs, CIMM delegates also got to visit the Laney College Fab Lab, a digital fabrication shop providing hands-on training on advanced manufacturing tools and equipment, including 3D printers, laser cutters, waterjets, and more. Emiliano Sanchez, Director of Career Technical Trades and Apprenticeships for the Oakland Unified School District, who also accompanied this group on the tour, explained how campus resources like the Fab Lab help to inspire students as they look to pursue jobs and careers after high school. “Having all of this great equipment and other resources on the Laney College campus helps recent and upcoming graduates of Oakland high schools with a seamless connection to further career and educational programs that can get them into good jobs in advanced manufacturing and skilled trades that pay livable wages,” said Sanchez.

East Bay EDA is excited about its work with business, community, education, and other stakeholders to support our region’s advanced manufacturing sector. From strengthening supply chains to developing a skilled labor force to crafting supportive land use and zoning policies, we have much work to do if we are to continue building upon both our longstanding competitive advantages and recent gains during the pandemic to keep Bay Area manufacturing as robust as ever. To this end, we invite you to consider becoming a member of East Bay EDA and/or getting involved with our Resilient East Bay project as we continue to advocate for and lift up investments and policy solutions are helping to move the East Bay forward.