B3K Prosperity FAQS

Have a question about B3k Prosperity?

Look through our frequently asked questions below to learn more. If you have a question that isn’t covered below, please contact us.

What is Boundless Kern and Better Bakersfield: Regional Action for Economic Prosperity (B3K Prosperity)?

B3K Prosperity is a public-private collaborative effort to develop a roadmap and investment plan for economic growth and inclusion in Kern County.

What motivated B3K Prosperity? Why is the region undertaking it?

Despite years of steady job creation based on energy, agriculture, and population growth, the Bakersfield-Kern region faces serious challenges to its future vitality. Regulatory and market forces threaten employment in the industry sectors on which the region relies, placing it among the top ten metros with job mix least favorable for growth. Meanwhile, the past decade of economic performance lags behind peers and the nation in progress on productivity, wages, new businesses, and other measures of competitiveness. Access to quality jobs has impacted all demographic groups, with disparities creating a drag on the economy overall. B3K Prosperity brings together the varied organizations and initiatives addressing these issues to act jointly on a shared strategy, driven by data and focused on common goals, getting the most out of limited resources. Through B3K Prosperity, our region can collaborate to compete.

Why act now?

Launching B3K Prosperity now responds to immediate opportunities as new policies and macro trends are accelerating disruption to the region’s economic base. Other regions in California already launched comparable efforts and are seeing early returns in pursuing resources. B3K Prosperity timing also syncs with a regular refresh of several local economic strategies in the region. Bakersfield-Kern can either capitalize on this momentum or risk being left behind.

What will A Better Bakersfield and Boundless Kern produce?

B3K Prosperity will generate new analyses and produce a collective approach that better focuses local efforts for impact and positions for outside investment. Specific tools and products include:

  • “market assessment” report presenting novel data, qualitative inputs, and findings that help guide
    decision-making on interventions;
  • map of existing programs, initiatives, and organizational responsibilities contributing to economic objectives
  • strategy report with goals, objectives, tactics, and performance measures
  • operating plan and local resource commitments for implementation
  • investment prospectuses to seek support for “shovel-ready” projects
  • structure for governing, sustaining, and refining B3K over the long term

Who is involved in A Better Bakersfield and Boundless Kern?

B3K Prosperity is an inclusive, community-driven effort, guided by a diverse Steering Committee of 100+ stakeholders who provide input at project milestones and through topical workgroups that translate research findings into actions. A representative subset serves on an Executive Committee that meets regularly to oversee progress, process, and product — set strategic direction, contribute analysis, vet ideas, and promote implementation. A project management team for day-to-day operations is drawn from the B3K Prosperity sponsors: Kern Community Foundation, Kern County, City of Bakersfield, CSU Bakersfield, Greater Bakersfield Chamber, and Kern EDC.

What is the timeline for B3K Prosperity?

Dependent on COVID constraints, an aggressive B3K Prosperity launch timeline follows four phases: Organizing, Discovery, Strategy and Governance, and Implementation. Organizing and Discovery will be completed through the summer, with release of research and market assessment findings in October 2020. Strategies and governance models will be developed during fall and early winter, featuring intermediate milestones like the California Economic Summit. A final strategy and operating plan will be in place for implementation by spring 2021. Investment prospectuses for specific tactics will be created on a continuing basis. However, B3K Prosperity is not a static project or program, but a 10-year campaign and way of working that must be sustained and refined.

How does B3K Prosperity relate to existing local economic development strategies?

B3K Prosperity is built on the idea that economies function at a regional scale, defined by shared workforce, innovation assets, infrastructure, and industry clusters that overlap local political boundaries. B3K Prosperity also recognizes that local governments and economic developers in Kern County already are adept at working with businesses on attraction and expansion, executing many promising programs and strategies. Therefore, B3K seeks to augment– not replace – these local activities. Rather, B3K Prosperity promotes alignment of effort and filling gaps that are best addressed at the regional scale by identifying mutual opportunities and building the shared ecosystem to tap their potential.

How is B3K Prosperity different from other strategic planning efforts?

B3K Prosperity is distinctive in its objectives and approach. First, it measures economic success based on more than job counts – taking into consideration the quality of jobs, productivity of firms, and access to opportunities. Second, it bridges individual organizations with siloed responsibilities to align their activities and resources for greatest impact. Third, it goes beyond outlining strategies to defining tactics, structures, and operational commitments to implementation. Finally, it engages a more diverse group of stakeholders in both problem-solving and implementation; rather than outside consultants drafting a plan for the region, the agenda is created and owned by regional collaborators who must implement it together. Across the U.S. and internationally, regions that pursued a similar approach to B3K Prosperity have demonstrated measurable results over 5-10 years.

How is B3K Prosperity being supported?

B3K Prosperity is a public-private collaboration supported by a wide range of sponsors. The State of California, Kern County, and the City of Bakersfield have contributed resources. Additional support is provided by the Kern Community Foundation and the Greater Bakersfield Chamber.

Who is helping the region with B3K Prosperity?

B3K Prosperity is bolstered by an external advisory team to support local problem-solving with research, facilitation, best practice knowledge, and connections to peer learning. Bringing ideas and expertise from the Brookings Institution, the team has worked with dozens of cross-sector regional coalitions to address economic competitiveness and inclusive growth issues, including five other metro areas in California. Additional outside resources also are contributing, such as California Forward, and the Natelson Dale Group, the consultants engaged on economic planning for the City of Bakersfield.

How can organizations or individuals get involved with B3K Prosperity?

B3K Prosperity’s success is directly tied to broad community engagement and support, and we welcome your insights about our region’s future. Opportunities may include participating on the Steering Committee, joining a subject matter Workgroup, or simply offering input through the B3K survey and outreach activities. Indicate your interest by registering on B3KProsperity.org or sending an email to kpeterson@bakochamber.com.

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