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Blue + Green Session 2: Building a Sustainable Workforce in the Emerging Blue Economy

April 18, 2023 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


The Blue + Green 2023 series is a 4 part series taking place in person and virtually in celebrating of Earth Day beginning Thursday April 13, 2023 and concluding on Saturday April 29, 2023.

Session 2: Building a Sustainable Workforce in an Emerging Blue Economy (In-Person) To be held at SBCC’s Heart of the Harbor Community Farm

The goal of the project is to shine a spotlight on emerging aquaculture sector in our economy. Aquaculture and the supporting technologies bring together all the key ingredients – future growth opportunities that support our coastal ecosystems, the economy, jobs, and our communities. This webinar hybrid series reimagines partnerships between business, government, universities, and communities through regenerative ocean research, exploration, and equity-based economic development.


Michael H. Kelly currently serves as the Executive Director of The Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy & Jobs, which brings together business and civic leaders to advance initiatives that will stimulate the development of economic growth, quality jobs, housing, and a skilled workforce. He also serves as the interim director of the Drucker Institute at Claremont Graduate University. Prior to working with the Coalition, Mr. Kelly has worked in several high-level positions, both in the private sector with The Boeing Company and with California Governor’s Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He currently serves on the Committee for Greater LA, the LA Sports & Entertainment Commission Advisory Board, founding chair of the Philanthropic Foundation for California State University, Dominguez Hills, and an advisory board member for WorkingNation. Michael received an Economics Degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a master’s in public administration from the University of Southern California. Michael is married to Mia Kelly and is the proud father of three daughters.

Samantha C. Leigh, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at California State University Dominguez Hills. She is an animal physiologist interested in how organisms acquire energy based on their specified feeding mechanisms and digestive strategies. Her research uses a blend of anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and molecular biology to answer biological questions about performance, primarily in marine animals. Her bonnethead shark research was highlighted by National Geographic as one of, “The most fascinating shark discoveries of the past decade”. Further, she enjoys pairing her research with various community outreach endeavors.

COAST Summer Student Internship Program partners with federal and state agencies, non-profit organizations and industry to provide paid summer internships for continuing CSU undergraduate and graduate students. Interns work side-by-side with professionals on current scientific research, policy, and resource management projects throughout California. The program provides excellent opportunities to gain valuable experience and learn technical skills while working with experts in fisheries, marine ecology, policy and marine technology.


Ely S. Fournier is the Director of Economic Vitality at Strength Based Community Change (SBCC) located in Wilmington, California. Ely has been on staff as well as a consultant at SBCC for the past 15 yrs. serving in a leadership capacity by strategically building new community projects and rebuilding existing programs. As a community activist and youth development designer, Ely has created art programs like the Urban Arts Crew and Co-created with residents iHeart Wilmington, a movement of community residents changing their community through Acts of kindness and civic pride. Growing up as a Pastor`s kid and serving in a Wilmington Community church for most of his life, he understands the different layers of community engagement, community empowerment and partnership from a leadership perspective but also a cultural one. Serving as director in the Economic Vitality Department and under the leadership of his executive director, Ely is launching and leading co- created ventures to address systemic inequality in access to economic opportunities and improve economic equality for people of color and low-income communities. Ely also Co-facilitates SBCC`s Fatherhood program “Thriving Dads” engaging Dads from a strengths-based perspective that sees Fathers as capable caretakers with knowledge, know-how and positive and unseen contributions as Parents.

Rick Aguayo is the Program Manager for the Career Pathways Program at Strength Based Community Change (SBCC) Rick is cultivating a broader network in workforce development for Los Angeles County with a primary focus in the local communities throughout the South Bay. With a B.S. In Biology from California State University, Long Beach and currently pursuing a Master’s in Environmental Science from California State University, Dominguez Hills his focus is on developing new paths to bridge together our local communities and innovative industries.

SBCC’s Heart of the Harbor Community Farm made possible through the generosity of Marathon Petroleum Foundation and their appreciation for the community. Through this contribution SBCC is able to provide accessible, sustainable, and healthy food for residents throughout our local communities. Marathon Petroleum Foundation has also allowed us to create a place for families to enjoy outdoor entertainment through the Outdoor Amphitheater and continuously partnering with the organization by volunteering to create an amazing outdoor space.



SBCC’s Heart of the Harbor Community
550 East L Street
Los Angeles, CA 90744 United States
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