Members of the Global Initiatives Council convened for the first session of the year to hear from Dr. Ira Kalish, chief global economist of Deloitte earlier this week. Dr. Kalish shared his projections for key global trade and economic issues, noting that an increase in exports has been a major factor in the current growth of the economy. “Trade is a win-win situation, not a zero-sum game. Comprehensive multi-lateral agreements are needed to support our exporters, rather than just bilateral agreements.” Dr. Kalish also noted that the potential loss of NAFTA would lead to a huge disruption of current supply chain systems and manufacturing processes, and an inevitable slowing of the U.S. economy.
The Chamber's Transportation & Goods Movement Council received an update from Metrolink CEO Art Leahy and Ontario International Airport (ONT) CEO Mark Thorpe on plans to enhance air and rail travel in the L.A. region. Leahy shared Metrolink's Southern California Optimized Rail Expansion (SCORE) proposal with the Council. The program includes service improvements to increase train frequency and decrease travel delays system-wide. Thorpe reviewed planned updates to ONT's facilities, including terminal improvements and expanded customs services. Thorpe also discussed plans to increase business travel with Asia.
The Chamber was joined by the Brookings Institution and Microsoft for Digitalization as a Route to Economic Inclusion in L.A., a discussion with leaders in the L.A. business, civic and nonprofit community on opportunities and gaps in L.A.'s workforce. Mark Muro, senior fellow and policy director for Brookings Institution presented the findings from his latest report, "Digitalization and the American Workforce"
which focused on the L.A. area. "The L.A. region should adopt two digital workforce training priorities: Expand and widen the high-digital IT talent pipeline, and increase basic digital literacy, especially among underrepresented groups," said Muro.
Supervisor Mark-Ridley Thomas joined the Chamber's Health Care Council for an in-depth discussion on County health and hospital services, homelessness and cannabis. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas elaborated on the work being done through Measure H funding and County homelessness issues, saying, "We have to dig deep in terms of our imagination and values." The Supervisor added that the business community should "raise expectations of officials who say homelessness is a priority" and "hold them accountable."
Mayor Eric Garcetti, L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson, and 1,500 business and civic leaders came together to honor community leadership during the Chamber's 130th annual Inaugural Dinner. Held at the new Intercontinental Los Angeles Downtown Hotel, the event celebrated the installation of 2018 Chamber Board Chair Michelle Kerrick, Deloitte, and thanked outgoing Board Chair Steve Nissen, NBCUniversal. The Chamber also presented Amb. Vilma Martinez with the Civic Medal of Honor, AC Martin Chairman & CEO Chris Martin with the Distinguished Business Leader Award, and Southern California Gas Company with the Corporate Leadership Award.
More than 175 people joined the Chamber for our 16th annual Taste of the Chamber Mixer at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood. The event featured complimentary food and drinks from member restaurants and caterers from across L.A. Thank you to the Tagylan Center for hosting and to all of our member restaurants who participated and helped make the event a success! For more information on hosting your own event at the Tagylan Complex, contact Gary Taglyan, 323-978-0005.