Bay Area Council Blog: Education Archive


Help End the Scourge of Family Homelessness

The Bay Area Council is urging its members to help secure a $10 million challenge grant from Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne, to fund an ambitious campaign that aims to end homelessness for 800 San Francisco families by 2019, including almost 2,000 school children. The Benioffs have pledged personally to match contributions dollar for dollar up to a total of $10 million to help the Heading Home campaign, which was launched in 2015 to respond to a dramatic spike in family homelessness following the Great Recession. Heading Home is run by nonprofit Hamilton Families as part of a collaboration led by San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee between the city and San Francisco Unified School District with major financial support from private philanthropists like the Benioffs and companies like Google, Zendesk and others.

Heading Home uses a unique approach to rapidly re-house homeless families. The early results have been nothing short of remarkable, with 237 families being successfully moved into permanent housing over the past 18 months. Heading Home case managers remain in regular touch with families about their situation and help them get services they need, which has resulted in more than 90 percent remaining in their housing. The matching grant from Benioff will enable Heading Home to scale up its program to reach its goal of serving 800 families, and bringing down the number of days that a family is living in homelessness before they get help from the current average of 414 to no more than 90. Heading Home has enormous benefits for children, who because of homeless are twice as likely as other children to suffer from hunger, three times more likely to have behavioral issues, four times more likely to get sick, and twice as likely to repeat a grade, be suspended or drop out.

Make a donation today to the Heading Home Campaign>>

Learn more about Hamilton Families and the Heading Home Campaign>>


Council Joins President Obama for Final My Brother’s Keeper White House Convening

This week, Bay Area Council Economic Institute President Micah Weinberg attended the final White House convening for President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative.  This effort is focused on improving outcomes for Young Men of Color (YMOC), and five Bay Area cities have taken up the president’s challenge to work on everything from education to criminal justice to economic opportunity for these populations.  The convening highlighted the Oakland Opportunity Fair that was a part of the work that we’ve done through our Bay Area YMOC Employment Partnership (BAYEP).  Our partner in that effort, the non-profit organization My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, will be carrying this work forward after January 20th, and the President, who spoke to the group, emphasized that he sees this as his life’s work and is going to remain engaged going forward.  To get involved in BAYEP, please contact Policy Manager Rachele Trigueros.


Taking Action to Address Workforce Needs

The Bay Area Council recently hosted Van Ton-Quinlivan (Vice Chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development, California Community Colleges) and Jim Mayer (Executive Director, California Forward), as well as numerous Bay Area business and civic leaders, for an engaging discussion on the allocation of $41.6 million to Bay Area community colleges in support of the Strong Workforce Program.  Ton-Quinlivan highlighted the importance of business and civic input regarding the use of the funds, stating that industry feedback is critical to informing community college actions. Recommendations provided by attendees included investing in community college curriculum and instructor preparation, and developing clear career pathways in partnership with business that would then be shared with students. “If you want a talent pool instead of a talent puddle, now is the time to shape how public dollars are invested,” Ton-Quinlivan said. “We want the career technical education (CTE) graduates of our community colleges to be equipped with both the soft and hard skills you need for a strong workforce.”

During the meeting, Rock Pfontenhauer of the Bay Area Community College Consortium (BACCC) also described efforts being undertaken by BACCC and the Bay Area Council in relation to Occupational Councils. These Occupational Councils convene occupation by occupation, with the goal of examining and adjusting curriculum to fit job requirements, establishing career pathways into middle-skill jobs, and aligning the region’s 28 community colleges, 16 adult education consortia, and 14 workforce development boards with industry needs.

Participants also explored the complex relationship between employers, community colleges, and other workforce training organizations in the Bay Area region. Many in the room detailed the hiring needs of their respective constituents, and proposed various ways to specifically tap into underserved, low-income, and minority populations to meet hiring needs for well-paying but hard to fill middle-skills jobs. To engage in the Council’s workforce policy, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.


Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Expected To Increase 11 Percent From 2009

Council Doubling Down on Solving Regional Commute Mess

The Bay Area Council just loves a good challenge, and there is perhaps no bigger challenge for the region than bringing some relief to the congested mess that is our transportation system. The Council’s Executive Committee, meeting at member company Facebook in Menlo Park, on Thursday endorsed a 2017 policy platform that will direct significantly more time, energy and resources to finding and implementing both short-term and longer-term solutions to the region’s grinding traffic and overwhelmed mass transit systems. The Executive Committee under the leadership of Chair Michael Covarrubias of TMG Partners also renewed the Council’s priority policy areas from 2016 that include expanding housing, closing the workforce skills gap and securing the region’s long-term water supply in the face of continuing drought and increased competition among urban, environmental and agricultural interests.

The message was clear, however, that the highest priority must be on fixing the region’s dysfunctional commute, which ranks among the worst in the country and threatens to undermine the Bay Area’s economic success. Michael Matthews, Director of California Public Policy for Facebook, emphasized the importance of commute improvement in his remarks welcoming the Council to the social media giant’s campus, saying it is a key issue for the company along with housing (just today, Facebook announced a $20 million commitment to help local nonprofit housing and rental assistance programs).

Longer commutes, slower traffic and congested mass transit are choking the region’s economic productivity and putting us at growing competitive disadvantage with other states and regions. The Council has already begun laying the groundwork for a bold and aggressive regional transportation improvement vision that will be unveiled in the coming months. In addition, the Council will be exploring new technologies that can help manage the demand side of the transportation equation, promoting the development of autonomous vehicles and continuing our work to increase the use of private commuter shuttles. Expanding public and private water transportation services will figure prominently, and builds on great progress the Council has already made to increase public ferry service around the entire bay and promote fast-emerging private water taxi services.

Housing, of course, is another area on which the Council will continue to put heavy focus. Our leadership and advocacy this year helped win passage of the only significant housing bill in Sacramento – SB 1069 to expand accessory dwelling units (also known as in-law units) — and elevate the housing issue among elected leaders who as a result are now pointing to 2017 as the year of housing. The Council also backed affordable housing measures in Santa Clara and Alameda counties that both passed last month.  Stay tuned for further details on planning for our work on housing, transportation, workforce and water policy. 2017 is going to be a big year.


Prime Minister of Ireland Addresses Council Leadership

Enda Kenny, Prime Minister (An Taoiseach) of the Republic of Ireland, addressed the Bay Area Council’s Board of Directors on Thursday, discussing his country’s strong business and economic connections with the Bay Area, the implications of Britain’s exit from the European Union and the election of Donald Trump as President. Kenny said he had spoken with both the President-elect and Vice President-elect and is prepared to work constructively with the Administration on issues of trade and economic cooperation. He spoke eloquently and passionately about the imperative for creating real and meaningful career opportunities for young workers, a message that resonated with the Council’s own work here to strengthen linkages between employers and educators. Kenny highlighted the many advantages that Ireland offers as a platform for companies looking to expand or start business in Europe, calling out the successes of Council member companies like Apple, Oracle, Salesforce, Intel and Facebook, among many others. The Prime Minister also thanked the Council for honoring Charles Feeney last year with induction into the Bay Area Business Hall of Fame, noting that Feeney’s incredible charitable investments in Ireland’s higher education system is a major reason for the country’s growing technology presence.


Educators, Employers Meet to Bridge Workforce Gap

The Bay Area Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee, in partnership with the Bay Area Community College Consortium, hosted its first marketplace working session on October 14 at member company Recology. The working session brought together employers from utilities, infrastructure, and manufacturing industries with community college educators and leaders to look at curriculum and define the industry role in the education of future maintenance technician/ mechanic workers.

Participants from such organizations as BART, San Francisco International Airport, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission discussed with community college representatives the reasons for a growing gap between workforce demand and supply in the Bay Area. Kit O’Doherty of the Bay Area Community College Consortium and Mark Martin led the conversation on curriculum, pathways to jobs, and impending future needs for the industrial maintenance technician/ mechanic occupation. The working session came at a critical time for many employers of the utilities, infrastructure, and manufacturing industries, as many reported that nearly 40 percent of their workforce in this particular skills area is ready to retire any day. Attendees committed to reconvening in February 2017 to review community college curriculum and potentially devise certification or pathway opportunities into open positions.

Our thanks to Recology for hosting the meeting. To engage in the Council’s Workforce of the Future efforts, and for more information on how to participate in marketplace sessions for your industry, please contact Senior Vice President, Linda Bidrossian.


Member Spotlight: Year Up

Six million motivated young adults in this country lack access to stable career pathways. At the same time, 12 million U.S. jobs will go unfulfilled in the next decade. Can the United States afford this growing economic and social gap in its workforce?

These are troubling realities that represent a tremendous national opportunity. With locations in 18 cities, Year Up offers these young adults a training program that combines six months of intensive technical training and professional skills development with a six-month internship at one of its 250+ corporate partners (45+ in the Bay Area). Connecting underserved young adults with the skills, knowledge and experience that today’s businesses demand ensures these young adults begin successful careers.  In return, employers gain access to a wider pipeline of well-trained talent than ever before —the talent they need to compete across the globe.

Over 90 percent of Year Up’s corporate partners would recommend Year Up to a friend or colleague as a talent solution. Learn more about hosting an intern or hiring an alum. Individuals can get involved too - volunteer to support interns with mock interviews, resume workshops, networking events, guest speaking, mentoring or tutoring.  It’s a hand up, not a hand out.  And it’s a win for our communities, partners, and economy. Watch Year Up alum Aika’s story here.


How Will the Bay Area Meet Future Workforce Needs?

The Bay Area Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee convened Thursday (Oct. 5) to give an update on the Council’s work to improve the number of qualified candidates from community colleges for jobs with our member companies. Our program includes first giving transparency to the needs of employers across industry while building occupational council’s that will convene with educators to align curriculum and classroom engagement with students prior to recruitment. Committee Co-Chair Teresa Briggs, who is Vice Chair and West Region Managing Partner for Deloitte, led a thought-provoking conversation with Darren Oliver, Vice President of Human Resources for Comcast, and Tyler Law, Vice President of Product for workforce startup Scoutible on the future of hiring talent.  Scoutible uses gaming to help candidates find well suited jobs that lowers a company’s turnover rate. Comcast is already piloting a sentiment analysis tool for its high turnover customer service jobs.

Watch the discussion on future workforce hiring>>

Rock Pfontenhauer, Chair of the Bay Area Community College Consortium, and John Carrese, Director of the San Francisco Bay Center of Excellence, presented the partnership with the Bay Area Council defining the target markets of support that include utilities/infrastructure, healthcare, technology, and financial services to start. Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman opened the meeting by describing how the Council’s role in workforce is not only improving the connection between employers and educators but increasing access to innovation jobs across industries for all Californians. “Educators from both four year and two year colleges want their students to get jobs and have upward mobility so they can afford to live in the Bay Area,” Wunderman said. Our thanks to Deloitte for hosting the meeting. To engage in the Council’s workforce policy and programs, please contact Senior Vice President, Linda Bidrossian.



BASIC Scores Big Win for California Innovation

The Council’s Bay Area Science and Innovation Consortium (BASIC) scored a hug win when Governor Brown recently signed AB 2664 into law. This bill, authored by Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin and backed by BASIC, will help the University of California (UC) expand the infrastructure necessary to increase innovation and entrepreneurship at each UC campus for the purpose of creating economic development for California. Additionally, the Governor’s enacted 2016-2017 state budget provides $22 million to fund this effort. This new law and funding for innovation will help UC boost economic development and job creation throughout the state. According to UC, it is now the world’s academic leader in the number or research inventions, with 1,700 reported in 2014. Recently, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute released a report titled, “Entrepreneurs, Startups, and Innovation at the University of California,” which highlighted the role of UC as an economic driver for innovation and economic development in California’s economy.  The report found that UC’s startup ecosystem has spawned hundreds of new companies, employing tens of thousands of workers and adding $20 billion to the California economy. To engage in the Council’s BASIC initiative, please contact Bay Area Council Economic Institute Senior Director Sean Randolph.


Council Notches Its Best Legislative Record in Years

The Bay Area Council was poised to notch its best legislative record in years with the deadline for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign or veto bills coming today (Sept. 30). The Council scored wins in all but one of its lead policy areas, including housing, transportation and workforce development. In the area of commute improvement, the Governor signed AB 1592, AB 1889, AB 2126 and AB 2763 into law. AB 1592 authored by Assemblywoman Bonilla authorizes the Contra Costa Transportation Authority to conduct testing of autonomous vehicles. AB 1889 authored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin helps the state access Proposition 1A high speed rail bond proceeds for the Caltrain electrification and modernization project. AB 2126, also authored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, will expedite congestion relief improvements on Highway 101 between San Francisco and San Jose. AB 2763 authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto helps ride-sharing companies like Lyft expand their driver networks.

The Governor also took action on several bills supported by the Council to create a skilled workforce of the future. AB 2329 authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla will broaden the pool of computer science teachers and will promote computer science education in our school system.  SB 66 authored by Senator Connie Leyva will help community colleges measure and improve career technical education programs. The Council was also successful in advocating for the Governor to veto SB 959, which would have increased cost on the University of California system. To engage in the Council’s government relations work, please contact Policy Manager Cornelious Burke.