Economic & Workforce Development

The Economic & Workforce Development Department works to bring about a vibrant, innovative, globally competitive economy in Oakland. Our mission is to increase investment in Oakland in a way that contributes to the growth of the City’s economy, fosters fiscal sustainability, expands job opportunities for all residents, and enhances the City’s sense of place and quality of life.


Ashleigh Kanat


Ashleigh Kanat brings more than two decades of professional experience – both in the public sector and as a real estate and land use economics consultant in the private sector - working for jurisdictions across California and the western United States, to her new role at the City of Oakland.  During the course of her professional career, she has established expertise developing and implementing economic development strategies, tracking and evaluating workforce and industry sector data and trends, developing fiscal sustainability policies, and supporting real estate development negotiations and related public private partnerships. She is recognized for navigating complex challenges with creativity and strategic vision and fostering effective and productive relationships with both internal and external partners. Prior to joining the City of Oakland, she has most recently served as a principal with Economic & Planning Systems, a real estate and land use economics consulting firm in Oakland.

Ashleigh has a master’s degree in public policy from U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy. Her bachelor’s degree is in American Studies with a concentration in Urban Studies from Smith College, and she is a Skyline High School graduate. Director Kanat is Oakland-born and raised and exceptionally invested in Oakland’s future.

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