As California agriculture transitions to mechanization to reduce labor costs, the healthcare industry may hold some lessons. CDFA Secretary Karen Ross on Friday explained how healthcare businesses worked with schools to map out gaps in the labor force.

“We need to do some of that mapping and make it available,” said Ross, during the Salinas Valley Ag Technology Summit last week. “Let's be bold, and let's do the master plan for the future of agriculture.”

Interested in more coverage and insights? Receive a free month of Agri-Pulse West.

Ross said this is the time to do it, since “a boatload of money” is coming to the state for economic recovery that can be channeled into workforce development at the local and regional levels. She cautioned that investing in the workforce should happen concurrently with the development of new technologies. Waiting too long would lead to further job displacement, she said.