In Orange County, California, top-down economic development policy and institutionalized anti-immigrant sentiment have served to exclude low income, immigrant communities from government decisionmaking processes, and in many cities, rapid demographic changes have created a political environment in which people are increasingly disconnected from their elected representatives. As a result, income inequality is growing faster in our region than in the nation as a whole, and our sense of community is declining.
Founded in 2005, OCCORD (Orange County Communities Organized for Responsible Development) is a community-based non-profit organization that advances the rights and improves the lives of Orange County's working families. With a combination of community organizing, strategic research, and advocacy, OCCORD works toward a long term transformation of Orange County's economy by building coalitions, training grassroots leaders, and informing policymakers to ensure that economic development benefits every sector of society.
OCCORD is committed to building a sustainable, robust, and fair economy that benefits everyone who lives and works in the community. To build this new economy, the entire community must have a voice in how policy is determined and implemented. OCCORD believes that certain principles are central to a just economy: Good quality jobs with benefits; job training to maximize the local workforce; affordable, accessible housing for working families; healthy, livable neighborhoods; and quality, affordable child care for all. Putting these principles into practice would grow our middle class and raise the standard of living and quality of life throughout our region.
OCCORD's Accountable Development Program advances policy solutions, trains grassroots leaders, and develops collaborative capacity to engage residents and stakeholders in economic development decisions that affect their lives. Our Immigrant and Workplace Rights Program provides nonpartisan voter registration and citizenship assistance, as well as training and leadership development enabling immigrant workers and residents to become full participants in the democratic process. Our programs, which began in Anaheim, are designed to be replicated in cities throughout Orange County.