By: Stuart Waldman
For 25 years, the Valley Industry & Commerce Association (VICA) has hosted a Business Forecast Conference, consisting of an economic forecast breakfast, panels on business topics, and a keynote speaker at lunch.
In 2009, the annual conference’s themes and focuses began to change, as the world experience the Great Recession – government deficits soared and businesses were cutting jobs, services, offices or even shutting down completely. Our panels and speakers revolved around, “How can business, education, infrastructure, real estate and other sectors recover?”
Four years later, and our silver anniversary conference is asking a different question: “Can we yet feel secure that these sectors are recovering? Or are we just California Dreamin’?”
Business owners are invited to our 25th Annual Business Forecast Conference on Friday Oct. 4 from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Burbank Airport Marriott to dissect this question through eight topics – tourism, regional transportation, water, healthcare reform, tort law, consumer-related legislation, workforce training and real estate.
“We keep saying that the worst is behind us, but we want to examine whether that is actually the case within our industry’s largest sectors – real estate, health care and education,” said VICA Chair David Adelman. “The conference also gives us a chance to explore the ways in which we can enact positive change regionally, through public policy and business strategies.”
When we think of California Dreamin’, of course the first thing that comes to mind is the entertainment industry centered in the great San Fernando Valley region. So VICA is excited that this year’s keynote luncheon is headlined by Chris Dodd, former U.S. Senator and current Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.
Every year our Business Forecast Conference is an opportunity for businesses, academics, and public officials to come together to discuss how all sides can tackle the important business policy issues facing our region. This year will be no different, and may be even more important as we discuss the factors that could make or break a full recovery in the Valley.
For example, the region’s water transportation and distribution system affects more than just our access to water – If California’s water supply is disrupted or damaged, Los Angeles County would suffer more than hundreds of thousands in lost jobs and billions in lost revenue for businesses. The water panel, “The Big Swell,” will outline the current structural and environmental risks that the Bay Delta, our largest water source, currently faces and what the key stakeholders are advocating be done to protect this hugely important system.
Additionally, our “Switching Gears” panel focuses on how industries – manufacturing in particular – are seeing a labor gap as Baby Boomers continue to retire. The panelists will discuss what is contributing to the skilled labor shortage, touching on the challenges faced in education, the state budget and the employers themselves. Attendees will learn what local employers do to train their current employees and recruit a qualified workforce.
These panel topics have a broad implication in the region’s ability to recover and attendees will be able to see how the current and future policy regarding these issues will affect their businesses and industries.
Visit www.vica.com to see a full schedule and descriptions of all eight panels and to register for the event.