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The Leader – February 2015

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Keeping Up with Innovation

By Stephen E. Wright, Senior Vice President

Photo Jan 16, 9 52 17 AMA new, landmark study on Silicon Valley’s competitiveness and innovation economy shows that by several measures the Valley is healthy and far outpacing other leading U.S. tech regions. But critical to its long-term continued economic success will be its ability to attract, retain and develop top-level talent, as well as improve pathways to participation in innovation industries for local residents.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Silicon Valley Community Foundation joined together to develop the Silicon Valley Competitiveness and Innovation Project (SVCIP) to proactively study trends in the innovation economy and develop comprehensive public policy strategies at local, state and federal levels to enhance and reinforce the Valley’s competitive advantages in innovation. The goal of the project is to find ways to enhance the local economy, balance economic ups and downs, and spread its prosperity to more people throughout the region.

Study details, including a downloadable PDF of the study, can be found at

To help benchmark innovation economy trends, 23 competitiveness and innovation indicators were studied and compared to five other top U.S. innovation regions: New York City, Boston, Southern California, Seattle and Austin. Silicon Valley is defined as Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco counties. Data compilation and analysis was conducted by Collaborative Economics of San Mateo.

Among the key findings:

  • The health of our innovation economy impacts the entire regional economy, creating direct and indirect jobs in good economic times and reducing jobs throughout Silicon Valley during difficult economic times. Tech currently provides 26 percent of the jobs and 33 percent of the region’s GDP.
  • Labor productivity in Silicon Valley was 17 percent higher than the next most productive innovation region, New York City, and Silicon Valley ranked lower on the cost of doing business index than New York City and Boston in 2012.
  • It is now statistically clear that the Valley’s tech innovation leadership in a global economy rests squarely on its ability to hire the best and the brightest talent from around the world.
  • The study also found that Silicon Valley must address STEM education and high-quality Pre-K education to help grow its own top tech talent, must tackle housing and traffic issues and increase investments in research and development (R&D) to continue to prosper.

Data from the project is among the strongest evidence yet for public policies that are needed to expand the innovation economy throughout the region.
“Rising economic tides may not lift all boats, but receding tides can certainly sink all boats,” said Carl Guardino, President and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

Project results have been shared with local, state and federal elected officials, educators and community leaders. Specific public policy goals are being developed, with measureable objectives. Subscribe to to be notified of SVCIP updates.


Educare: Closing the Gap

By Dennis Cima, Senior Vice President

Educare15_captionOften when we talk about student outcomes and school reform, the conversation turns to the topic of the achievement gap, why it exists, and how can we close it. It often seems insurmountable.

We experience such a divide right here in Silicon Valley, where schools largely on the west side of the Valley outperform schools on the east side, where the more affluent areas outperform the less fortunate ones.

But Silicon Valley — as it has been with aerospace, software and green technology — will soon be on the leading edge of a movement to change the trajectories of students and families when it opens California’s first Educare education and teaching facility in the fall. The Educare movement centers around robust early investment in the most vulnerable communities, which research shows has the highest return on investment.

You can be a part of this project.

Educare is not a program or curriculum. Educare is a school designed to improve the quality of early education, child development and family engagement. It will serve as the state’s leading teacher professional development institute, reaching hundreds of teachers annually; a place to scale best practices in early education beyond its walls; and a place to engage families and communities.

You can be a part of this effort.

Educare of California at Silicon Valley is under construction in San Jose’s Franklin-McKinley School District. It will, among other objectives, serve 170 low-income young children and their families with a research-based program proven to prepare children for kindergarten. It is a place for training, research and high-quality practice. It will be a beacon.

You can be a part of this place.

We know that quality early interventions, in health, family engagement and direct care can make a significant positive difference, particularly for children in our most challenged communities. Educare will serve as a hub for parent support, providing parents and families the resources they need to help their children thrive in our K-12 schools.

Educare is a game-changing endeavor improving the quality and scope of early education in California. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group has been honored to have partnered with so many great public and private organizations to bring Educare to our region and to demonstrate the spirit of Silicon Valley to change lives.

You can help close the gap.

Support Educare by helping furnish and outfit the Educare center for children and families at

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