The Economic Development Department of the Chamber works with community leaders, Chamber members, and other organizations toward policies that help to promote business creation and growth, increase employment, help retain existing businesses and jobs, stimulate overall economic growth, and improve the quality of life in Oakland.
In addition to policy work, the Economic Development Department staffs the following committees designed to provide members with networking and business development opportunities, to educate members on current and future developments, and to assist members in the planning and design stages of their projects.
Economic Development Committee – The Economic Development Committee hears and discusses issues related to Oakland’s economy monthly at the Economic Development Forum. Typically the Committee meets on the second Wednesday of the month in the Chamber Board Room at 3pm. The Forum, held for Chamber members and guests, frequently hears informational presentations or hosts panel discussions on hot topics such as the redesign of the Lake Merritt BART station area, local zoning and other regulatory changes such as the Reauthorization of Measure B. City planning, building, and economic development officials are frequently invited to meet with the group and it is a unique opportunity to better understand city and county economic development efforts and to engage productively with civic leaders on a range of economic issues
View a listing of Upcoming ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FORUM Programs.
In addition to the monthly forum series, the Economic Development Department manages a number of sub-committees, associations, and advisory boards that meet monthly and/or on an ad hoc basis.
The Transportation and Land Use Committee - The Transportation and Land Use Committee considers issues related to transportation infrastructure, land use policy and urban planning in the East Bay and the region. In partnership with East Bay EDA, the Bay Area Council, ABAG, and other related groups, this committee helps formulate Chamber positions on transportation and regional planning issues. It also provides a forum for information gathering on related urban development, land use initiatives, and transportation projects that concern Oakland. This committee meets and works on an ad hoc basis and reports on its activites at the monthly Economic Development Forum.
The Planning, Construction, and Housing Committee - The Chamber’s Planning, Construction, and Housing Committee is comprised of housing developers, construction companies, contractors, landlords, tenants, real estate brokers, project developers, policy makers and others who are interested in the construction and housing development market, housing trends, housing policy, project development and related issues. This committee meets and works on an ad hoc basis and reports on its activites at the monthly Economic Development Forum.
BID (Business Improvement Districts) - The Chamber serves as a supportive resource for Oakland’s nine Business Improvement Districts and Community Benefit Districts, which deliver tailored urban services to Oakland’s diverse neighborhoods. This group typically meets on the third Wednesday of the month at the Chamber’s offices.
Oakland Retail Advisory Committee (ORAC) – The ORAC was formed in April of 2010 and includes a diverse range of experienced retail leasing and development professionals who regularly meet and share ideas with key stakeholders to support efforts consistent with the City of Oakland’s Retail Enhancement Strategy as adopted by City Council in 2009. ORAC meetings are typically held on the third Friday of each month at 9:30am.
Oakland Restaurant Association (ORA)- Organized and launched by the Chamber in 2010, the Oakland Restaurant Association in partnership with successful local restaurateurs provides advocacy, educational opportunities, specialized training, and cost saving tools for restaurants, stimulating greater interest and support for our expanding culinary community. For more information on the ORA check out: www.oakrest.org.
Workforce Investment Board (WIB) – The Workforce Investment Board is Oakland’s federal workforce training and employment program. The Chamber and Oakland’s WIB work together on an ad hoc basis to streamline and expand the region's workforce development system to meet the needs of area employers.
East Bay Women in Business Roundtable (EBWIBR) – The East Bay Women in Business Roundtable hosts monthly inspirational speaking events in a variety of top Oakland locations. Check our web calendar to register for the current Women in Business Roundtable event.
Industry Clusters in Oakland
The Chamber continues to lead and implement economic development strategies shaped by the needs of Oakland's largest industry cluster groups, as identified by the 2007 McKinsey & Company report entitled, Taking Stock of Oakland's Economy commissioned by the Chamber. Download the full report HERE.
Top Industry Clusters in Oakland include:
Healthcare & Life Sciences
International Trade & Logistics
The Oakland Partnership
To help shape a strategic economic vision for Oakland and the East Bay, the Chamber commissioned and implemented the Oakland Partnership in 2007. The Partnership was a public-private collaborative effort focused on strengthening Oakland’s regional economy. Much of the industry cluster information included in the Partnership work is still relevant for implementation today.