Building state-federal partnerships in California during COVID-19

By Jessica Reynoso | September 11, 2020

Intergovernmental collaboration has helped California respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. One notable success story is a new task force called California Federal Partners for COVID-19, created in March by the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, or GO-Biz, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.  

As the state grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, a strong need emerged to build and strengthen communication and coordination between local, state and federal government leaders. California Federal Partners for COVID-19 formed to foster communication and coordination among federal field offices in the state as well as with state agencies and local governments, working to ensure that information from federal and state agencies reaches the county and city levels. Go-Biz and HUD responded to the pandemic by creating a group of local federal agency partners to collaborate with state government agencies in California. By the end of April, six California departments, including GO-Biz, and seven federal agencies, including HUD, had joined the group.   

The group focused on three key collaborations —weekly webinars, “Program Impact” videos and weekly calls. The webinars and videos informed participants in the task force about new federal funding opportunities and shared important local economic development planning resources. Following each webinar, state and federal agencies receive a checklist of action items to ensure local governments access the resources shared and receive future updates.  

In its first month, the task force hosted several webinars and posted four videos on topics such as the Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program. The webinars and videos have become some of the most watched from GO-Biz and further strengthened the relationships between individual and federal agency relationships and local staff by providing information and actionable tasks. 

California Federal Partners for COVID-19 is an example of how important successful coordination is among local federal agency partners, state government and local government – before, during and after a crisis. Erich Yost, a member of the task force who currently works at HUD, shared, “Federal staff in California and the region leveraged their existing relationships and partnerships with California government staff to quickly pivot to providing timely access to and awareness of existing and new resources for local government leaders. These relationships will continue to be vital for continued response to the pandemic, economic recovery and for building and strengthening our communities in California.”  

By enabling collaboration among state and federal agencies in California, and distributing important information to different localities, California Federal Partners for COVID-19 is making every effort to equip communities with the information they need to confront COVID-19. No matter your agency’s role in the pandemic response, take time to consider how you might partner with other agencies, levels of government or sectors to achieve your mission. 

Visit GoBiz’s coronavirus website for more helpful information and resources. Read Bringing the Partnership to the West Coast to learn more about the Partnership’s work in California.

For more information about this important initiative, contact Trelynd Bradley, senior business development specialist at GO-Biz (Trelynd.Bradley@gobiz.ca.gov) or Erich Yost, management analyst (community initiatives) at HUD (Erich.M.Yost@hud.gov). 


Jessica Reynoso