Dell Technologies

By Debbie Gregory.

If California was an independent country, it would have the fifth largest economy in the world.

The tech sector in Silicon Valley, combined with the entertainment industry and agricultural are the main contributors to the state’s economy of $2.7 trillion, just behind the United States, China, Japan and Germany.

California has 12% of the U.S. population, but has contributed 16% of total job growth between 2012 and 2017. California’s gross domestic product also went up by $127 billion from 2016 to 2017, helping to push the state into the fifth spot.

Of course, California’s economic success comes at a price. Paralyzing gridlocked traffic is one symptom; the increasingly absurd price of housing is another. Partially due to the unaffordability of housing in the state, California saw the fastest growth in its homeless population of any state (14 percent), and also had the highest proportion of them unsheltered: 68 percent of the state’s 134,000 homeless people sleep outdoors.

California also has strict environmental protections, but the state has a progressive tax system and an ascendant minimum wage (now $10.50 an hour) that is set to rise in stages to $15 in 2023.

The state also welcomes immigrants, celebrates ethnic and linguistic diversity, and actively tries to combat climate change.

And with all that, its economy continues to soar.

When current Governor Jerry Brown returned to office in 2011, he faced a budget deficit of $27 billion. Now, after eight years of economic expansion, the state has a surplus of $6 billion, and its tax revenues are running well ahead of projections

New Director of Employer Outreach for ESGR

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Debbie Gregory, the CEO of, founder of the Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, and co-founder of Joining Forces California has been appointed by the California Employer Support to the Guard and Reserve Chair, BG (R) Jim Combs to the volunteer position of Director of Employer Outreach for California’s Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense office.

The ESGR develops and promotes employer support for Guard and Reserve service by advocating relevant initiatives, recognizing outstanding support, increasing awareness of applicable laws, and resolving conflict between employers and service members.

“Debbie’s passion to serve the needs of our troops and their families has resulted in success in virtually everything she touches,” said General Combs. “Her leadership with CA ESGR will enhance California’s partnership with the business community, which will result in a more capable military force here at home.”
Ms. Gregory’s new role will also enable her to facilitate signing ceremonies for companies wanting to sign a Statement of Support for their Guard and Reserve employees. The Statement of Support increases employer support by encouraging employers to act as advocates for employee participation in the military. USERRA, The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 is a federal law and the law of the land. Supportive employers are critical to maintaining the strength and readiness of the nation’s Guard and Reserve units.

Additionally, employers are eligible to be nominated by their employees who are Guard and Reserve for the prestigious Secretary of Defense, Freedom Award. Each year there are fifteen winners among employers of all sizes for their willingness to go above and beyond the law in providing their employees the support they need.

“Recognizing supportive employers is vital, not only to ESGR’s mission, but to the safety and security of our nation,” said Ms. Gregory. She added, “The brave men and women of the Guard and Reserve who don our country’s military uniform provide disaster relief here at home, and also serve around the world to protect the freedoms we hold dear.”

If your company is interested in joining thousands of employers by signing a Statement of Support for the Guard and Reserve to display prominently for all your employees and visitors to see, please contact Debbie Gregory at debbieg(at)

Providing for CA’s DVBE Families

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jerry brown Providing for CA’s DVBE Families

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed another veterans bill!  VAMBOA was proud to lend our support to AB 413-Chavez. The bill will allow the child or spouse of a disabled Veteran to enter into new Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise (DVBE) contracts after the death or disability of the Veteran, if the contract can be completed within the current three-year DVBE certification period. Doing so would provide the families time to continue the business after the death of a Veteran without an immediate end to the business.

“Veterans and their families make great sacrifices to protect our nation. Allowing these families to continue to run and operate a business after a death of not only a Veteran to them, but a parent or spouse is important. The cost of war is not only paid in sending our military to the battlefield, but it is also caring for them when they return. I am grateful the Governor recognizes this principle and supported this bill” said Rocky Chávez, the bill’s sponsor.

Chávez is a retired Marine Corps Colonel, former City Councilman and former Acting Secretary of the California Department of Veterans Affairs. He represents California’s 76th Assembly District, which includes Camp Pendleton, Carlsbad, Encinitas, Oceanside and Vista.

VAMBOA: California Business Portal

Those who own a small business — or want to start one — now have a one-stop source of information about the how-tos.

California’s Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development this month set up a website dedicated to answering basic questions about starting, running or relocating a business.

Users also can use the portal to obtain licenses and permits, as well as to learn about state and local regulations and find links to additional information on government incentives.

The site is at and is accessible on both iOS and Android cell phones and other devices.

Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at