Today, I spoke at three events with one, clear resounding message: LA is open for business and focused on getting Angelenos back to work.
I say it everyday and I'll repeat it now: the number one priority of my administration is job creation. The challenges facing our economy right now are unlike anything we've seen in a generation, however, if the times are tough, so too must be our resolve. And in times like these, it is absolutely critical that we use every tool available to restore our economy and build the foundation for our recovery.
I began my day at the third annual VerdeXchange Global Marketplace Conference, where I joined business and community leaders from Western states to discuss how our mission to cut carbon emissions is not just an environmental imperative, but an economic one as well. In Los Angeles, we are using policies and opportunities in clean technology and renewable resources that will create thousands of new, green-collar jobs.
Building on the success of the Clean Truck program at the Port of Los Angeles, which reduced emissions by nearly 70% at the nation's largest container port and making the air cleaner and healthier than it's been in decades, we are looking to upgrade LA's existing 400 electric vehicle charger stations. This commitment to electric vehicle infrastructure will reduce air pollution and its harmful health effects, and just as importantly it will create good jobs for Angelenos. It's a win-win situation for our local environment and local economy.
After kicking off the conference, I had the pleasure of celebrating the grand opening of the Playa Vista Job Opportunities and Business Services (PVJOBS) center in South LA. PVJOBS is a true partner in our commitment to getting Angelenos back to work, providing job placement resources and opportunities for disadvantaged youth and adults. At the new center self-directed jobs seekers will have access to free internet, phones and fax lines, in addition to counseling services. The new PVJOBS Center is strategically located in the heart of the community it serves, bringing its wide array of job placement services--formerly based at three different locations--into one facility.
These are exactly the kind of programs we need to help jumpstart the economy. We need to keep LA working by investing in our workers and providing them with the resources they need to get on a career track and into living wage jobs.
After that inspiring, hopeful scene in South LA, I was given a forum by the East Area Chambers of Commerce to explain my vision for getting LA back to work. With the unemployment rate in California above the national average and over 14% in parts of our City, it's time to rethink the way we can stimulate job creation, and take a strategic, comprehensive approach to economic development.
That's why I hired Austin Beutner, the brilliant businessman with both private and government experience, to be the first Deputy Mayor of Economic and Business Policies. Austin's first task is to change the culture of City government so that job-creation is the focus of every City department, and is a factor in every decision that gets made. At the East Area Chamber, I shared our plans to jumpstart the economy by making LA a top destination for business in new markets, and Working with the DWP, the Port of Los Angeles, and our airports, Austin will work to ensure LA can plug into emerging high tech, bio-tech, and clean tech industries, and attract new business to our City.
I am glad to see so many community and business leaders working side by side to create more jobs, bring in more opportunities, and build more promise for our future as the cleanest and greenest big city in America. By working together, by engaging in public-private partnerships, and by thinking strategically, we can give our economy the boost it so desperately needs.