Sonoma County Board of Supervisors add $100,000 to jobs initiative

Sonoma County supervisors on Tuesday extended their financial commitment to a $3.25 million public-private initiative that has a goal of generating 4,100 jobs over five years.

Supervisors authorized spending $100,000 on the Building Economic Success Together or BEST program, now entering its second year. Starting last year, the county's overall pledge is a three-year commitment of $300,000. The city of Santa Rosa made the same commitment over five years.

Program officials touted their efforts to supervisors, including outreach to 100 local businesses and other work they said resulted in the creation of 195 "direct" jobs and 95 "indirect" jobs.

The efforts are focused in advanced manufacturing, food manufacturing, health and life sciences and medical devices, said Carolyn Stark, the program's executive director.

She did not respond to a follow-up question Tuesday about which employers had recorded the job gains. Another emailed question seeking the program's definition of direct and indirect jobs also went unanswered.

The BEST program was conceived by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce. As of late 2011, it had received $2.4 million from 70 businesses, plus $700,000 in in-kind donations, including lodging, transportation and advertising.

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