Helpful Resources

Frequently Asked Question about "California Jobs First" (formerly CERF)

1. What is California Jobs First? Is it different from Community Economic Resilience Fund (CERF)?

In October 2023, the State announced a CERF rebrand. Going forward, the statewide initiative will be known as California Jobs First. Please note: Redwood Region RISE's brand will stay in place.

California Jobs First (formerly CERF) is a $600 million statewide initiative, created by state legislation (SB 162), to promote a sustainable and equitable recovery from the economic distress of COVID-19. CA Jobs First will support new plans and strategies to diversify local economies, create high quality, accessible jobs, and support the transition to a carbon-neutral economy. There are 13 regions, where Conveners are bringing together diverse groups of partners to create inclusive planning tables. 

2. What is Redwood Region RISE?

Redwood Region RISE (Resilient Inclusive Sustainable Economy) is the name of our Collaborative (one of the 13 regions) and comprises Tribal Lands, Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake, and Mendocino Counties. Between January 2024 and the end of August 2024, our Collaborative's Planning Phase focuses on crafting economic development strategies that boost quality jobs in our regional industries, as well as identifying priorities and investments that align with and advance these strategies. At the end of the Planning Phase, our Collaborative will deliver a strategic Regional Roadmap that lays out these strategies and puts forth investments for funding in the Implementation Phase. More information about that Implementation funding will be made available by the state soon.

In each region there is a Convener and a Fiscal Agent, sometimes both functions can be played by the same organization. For the Redwood Region, the California Center for Rural Policy serves as Convener, and the Arcata Economic Development Corporation as the Fiscal Agent. Read more about our the Convener Team

3. What is the Collaborative (formerly HRTC), how will it be formed, and what are their responsibilities?

Our Collaborative, like the 13 other Collaboratives through the state engage in CA Jobs First's economic development initiative to achieve goals in three areas: equity, climate resilience, and job quality. At present, Redwood Region RISE’s Collaborative is a regional community coalition of 100 seated members engaging a community of nearly a thousand residents working together to develop our regional roadmap. To create an inclusive participatory governance mechanism for the group moving forward, a Formation Task Force was assembled. The Task Force included members representing diverse partner groups from across the region. With facilitation support from the Convener, the Task Force created a sustainable and inclusive governance structure, crafted policies and procedures to organize the group moving forward, and created Planning Tables for special topics that need to be covered by the planning process.

4. I am not a part of any formal organization. Can I still contribute to the process?

Absolutely! We encourage community members from across the region and invite you to participate in the process. Local meetings in Tribal Nations and all four counties will be held beginning late Summer 2023. You can find our Calendar with all meetings and events here. Public Collaborative meetings are held on a monthly basis, and there are mony other opportunities to participate in our Collaborative, for instance: our Tribal Planning Table, Local Planning Tables, and our Sector Planning Tables. We'd love to have you on board!

5. How can I get involved? Are there different levels of commitment?

A great first step to get involved is to join our mailing list and take our Partner Survey. The Redwood Region RISE Collaborative meets monthly - you can find more information on our meetings here.

In addition to our monthly meetings, there are Planning Table meetings on predetermined topics. If there is a particular working group/topic that you have expertise in, concerns about, or would just like to see what the buzz is, we welcome you to attend one of the meetings on that subject. You can find the meeting schedule here. If you want to attend Local Planning Table meetings, we can help put you in contact with the Project Coordinator for your county, or you can reach out direcly to

If at any time you no longer wish to be engaged in the process, email us at to let us know you would like your name removed from our mailing list.

6. What steps are being taken to ensure that representation from various partners, including tribal partners, are occurring, and how do we get them involved?

One of the program goals of CA Jobs First is to convene representatives from various community groups to the planning table, bringing their perspectives, expertise, and input. North Coast Opportunities (NCO) is our outreach & engagement partner in this process, and they have been working with the California Center for Rural Policy (CCRP) to build a robust mailing list inclusive of the region, representing a diverse range of interests and backgrounds. Members of both these organizations have worked with many of our Tribal partners previously and have invited them to join our work. If you know someone or an organization who is not yet involved and is interested in joining the process, please contact us at

7. Are stipends available for participation? 

Yes, stipends are available for seated members of our Collaborative, as well as mini grants and other forms of support for folks participating at both the local and regional level. More information on this will be provided at subsequent Collaborative meetings.

8. What is the criteria for submission of projects that will be evaluated? Who will have input on the design of a rubric?

Please check out the Executive Summaries of EDD’s Pilot Projects to get a flavor of what might be a good CA Jobs First project. We will be receiving more specific guidance from the state agencies involved in CA Jobs First–the Employment Development Department (EDD), the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), and the Office of Planning and Research (OPR)– in the first half of 2024. Ultimately, it will be the responsibility of the region’s Collaborative to create a process for identifying projects and investments to put forward for implementation.

9. Is the process for identifying pre-development projects different from the process for implementation funding?

No! Please log all project ideas in our Project Inventory. Any project that is considered for the $9 million in predevelopment funding (Catalyst Fund), or to be one of the "shovel ready" investments put forward for implementation funding ($238 million statewide) will be considered from the same inventory. This is our starting point for identifying all projects and initiatives.

10. Can the process for submitting projects be kept open on a continuing basis so communities can use it to identify needs?

Absolutely! This initiative is about much more than allocating these specific CA Jobs First resources. Our hope is that by investing in this regional collaborative, we can become more competitive for future funding opportunities, more strategic in our efforts, and more centered on equity and sustainability in our investments- far beyond CA Jobs First. With federal funding and California’s own state commitment we are anticipating upwards of $190 billion being made available to CA communities over the course of the next two years.

11. When are applications for Implementation Funding due? 

Our 3-5 “shovel ready” project proposals will be included with our final deliverable to the state- our Regional Roadmap that charts our course for developing a Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Economy (RISE!). This is due on June 30, 2024.

12. How does CA Jobs First impact existing economic development plans and projects?

One of the goals of CA Jobs First is that it “seeks to build on, not overtake existing economic development efforts”. It provides an opportunity to identify shared goals and pursue them from a Regional perspective. As Convener, the California Center for Rural Policy has compiled a database of existing strategic plans and initiatives from the Region which should help inform the plan.

13. How are we going to build trust across communities and agencies in all four counties?

Trust takes time to build, it is not a given. The convening team strives to provide full transparency on actions and decisions, solicit input from all working groups in every region, and ensure accessibility to all pertinent documents and meetings.

North Coast Opportunities (NCO) is the Outreach and Engagement Lead for the Redwood Region. As the Community Action Agency for Lake and Mendocino Counties, they have a strong history of local leadership, community organizing, and collaboration. We welcome all insight and feedback throughout this process to build and maintain trust with everyone involved.

While there is a parallel Tribal Funding Opportunity process which will open soon, Redwood Region RISE is committed to ensuring that Tribal communities can maximize their benefit from both Regional and Tribal Funding opportunities, and is committed to building the partnerships required to achieve that goal.

Join Our Mailing List

Would you like to stay up to date on Redwood Region RISE's efforts? Join our Mailing List and receive up to four RRRISE Mailers monthly, aimed to inform, inspire, engage, and communities across Del Norte, Humboldt, Lake and Mendocino Counties, and 32+ Tribal Nations.

If you have subscribed but are having trouble receiving our Mailers, please reach out to

Join RRRISE's Mailing List

Latest Redwood Region RISE Newsletters

Useful Documents & Links Below

Please find an overview of important Redwood Region RISE documents below

Join Our Partner Directory!

Each month we update our Partner Directory with collaborators from across our Tribal Lands and four counties. If you haven’t yet, please fill out our Partner Survey so we can add your organization or business to our directory. And feel free to contact us if we need to update any information at

Download our Partner Directory (April 2024)

Economic Development Finance (EDF) Working Group

Redwood Region RISE's Economic Development Finance (EDF) Working Group – led by Regional Government Services (RGS) – is embarking on an education and capacity building process that aims to empower the Region with the ability to think about Economic Development Finance in a way that 1) Enhances the participants' existing expertise and; 2) Equips them with the tools to make them more effective in pursuing state and federal funds, philanthropy, and other sources of revenue to help make projects viable.

Go to the EDF Working Group page

Inclusive Language Document

In the words of Desmond Tutu, “Language is very powerful. Language does not just describe reality. Language creates the reality it describes.” With this in mind, we strive to use language that is respectful, asset-based, people first, and non- stigmatizing. We strive to be intentional in our use of language, recognizing the power it holds and the reality it creates. 

If you have any additions to or would like to see changes in this document, please reach out to:

Download Inclusive Language Document

Redwood Region RISE's Governance Structure

We are committed to centering the community voices that don't always participate in or benefit from economic development planning processes. To that end, we are establishing a regional-level, formal participatory governance structure designed to shift power to, and lift up, marginalized voices within and beyond California Jobs First (formerly Community Economic Resilience Fund, CERF). This document provides a "bird's eye view" on California Jobs First, our timeline, a Planning Phase "Flow Chart" and description of our Collaborative' bodies, and lists our priority communities and partners. Please take a look!

Download Our Governance Structure

Redwood Region RISE Glossary

As our Region’s Planning Phase is taking shape, and more and more collaborations are being formed, we realize our list of acronyms is ever growing. Please find an overview of our often-used abbreviations here*. If there's anything missing, please let us know.

* Please note we’re working to translate the acronym list and other RRRISE documents to Spanish and Hmong.

Download Our Glossary

Memo: Rethinking "Disinvested Communities"

During our Collaborative Meetings in April and May we discussed "disinvestment" in our Region and critically examined working definitions of the term and affected populations. We gathered our Collaborative's valuable input to create a memo to the State, in which we put forward a more meaningful, accurate, and shared understanding of “disinvested communities”. Please take a look and if you have thoughts on this, don't hesitate to reach out to

Read The Memo

Helpful Resources for Redwood Region RISE's CERF initiative