By Holly Schroeder
Since the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation was formed more than six years ago, it has helped bring thousands of new jobs to the Santa Clarita Valley. We help recruit companies to the SCV, especially companies seeking a more business friendly environment who are at risk of moving out of state. We also help local companies solve problems and access incentives like workforce training programs and tax credits. Job growth in the Santa Clarita Valley outpaces statewide job growth, and in recent years has outpaced residential construction, creating a jobs-to-housing ratio that is now nearly balanced. With new industrial construction underway, we have the opportunity to locate even more jobs here in the next several years.
So what’s the biggest obstacle to attracting more businesses to the Santa Clarita Valley? The reality is, many large employers have deep misperceptions about the SCV, and think that their growth prospects are stronger in other parts of LA County. In my experience, these misunderstandings revolved around a dated perception of the SCV – that the SCV is a small, bedroom community with no significant industry.
The fact is that the City of Santa Clarita is now the third largest city in LA County, 18th largest in the state, and soon to be one of the 100 largest cities in the Country. The SCV boasts nearly 30 million square feet of office and industrial space – that is space dedicated to manufacturing, filming, distribution, and professional services that grow our economy. The vast majority of this space is in master-planned business parks, largely developed by Newhall Land as part of the Valencia master plan, providing the modern amenities that companies require today.
Another fact is that the Santa Clarita Valley will continue to grow, both in jobs and in population. The Southern California Association of Governments, the regional planning organization that looks at demographic and economic trends across Southern California, predicts that the region will grow to 22 million people by 2040, an increase of nearly four million people. The Santa Clarita Valley is expected to grow from its current population of 290,000 to approximately 400,000-450,000.
To me this is exciting. I believe this growth can and will be not only the solution to the misperceptions of our image but the great promise of our future. SCV’s growth is the key to continue to grow jobs while the population grows.
I think that the Santa Clarita Valley can demonstrate how to grow in the most strategic, innovative, and resource efficient manner possible. The SCV should drive innovation in how communities are designed, developed, and built. Our growth can produce the smartest communities ever, deepening the quality of life we value so deeply. The Santa Clarita Valley can become an example of the best way to grow.
Communities across the country are experimenting with new technologies, including innovations in water recycling, smart transportation networks, app-driven community services, digital civic centers, and pollution control. But no place has the opportunities of the Santa Clarita Valley, which is positioned to absorb most of the population growth expected in Los Angeles County. We can steer the direction of these innovations, and bring the companies and jobs creating them to the Santa Clarita Valley.
Holly Schroeder is President & CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, a public/private partnership leading the region’s approach to economic development. SCVEDC’s mission is to support the creation of high paying jobs, to stimulate economic growth, and to strategically position the Santa Clarita Valley and its businesses to compete in the global economy. Lear more at stillgolden.org