Bay Area Council Blog: Workforce of the Future Archive

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Call to Action for Tech Apprenticeships

Tech companies often poach talent from one another, competing for the same employees in the region in order to fill critical technical positions, all while inflating salaries in order to secure a highly qualified workforce. The current unemployment rate for students exiting college with engineering or computer science degrees is in the single digits, and companies are watching positions go unfilled for 12 months at a time across different roles. This is a major issue for the entire region and is adversely affected the tech industry. Is there a solution in sight? Can companies begin to close the skills gap, regain lost revenue, all while upskilling and maintaining great talent? Absolutely, through apprenticeships.

San Francisco takes apprenticeship seriously. This week marks National Apprenticeship Week as recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as Apprenticeship Week in San Francisco, as declared by San Francisco Mayor London Breed. To celebrate apprenticeships in tech, TechSF, an initiative of the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, held an Apprenticeship Week Celebration Event on November 14 to recognize partnerships with tech training providers, employers and allies. Over 150 partners came together to celebrate the strength of TechSF Apprenticeship throughout the week. Postmates, Palo Alto Network, Code for America and the Bay Area Council all spoke to the strength of apprenticeship: apprenticeships add value to your company and strengthen company culture.

What is a TechSF Apprenticeship? TechSF Apprenticeship ensures candidates are ready for your hard-to-fill roles. Apprentices receive on-the-job training, education and mentorship in order to build the industry-recognized skills needed that are specific to your workforce needs. TechSF apprentices are highly talented, motivated and reflect the diverse demographics of San Francisco. Employers love hosting apprentices; over 86 percent of companies that sponsor apprentices say it is an effective strategy for meeting in-demand labor demands.

Employers benefit from TechSF Apprenticeship in the following ways:

  • Gain new, unique, diverse and dedicated talent that brings vast experience to your company.
  • A 47 percent return on investment: for every dollar invested into apprenticeship, a company will  receive $1.47 return on investment.
  • Lower recruiting costs, increased productivity, and internal upskilling for mentors and potential managers.

It’s easy to host apprentices! TechSF Apprenticeship is customizable and helps your company identify the positions that need filling while referring strong candidates. TechSF will help your company through the entire process at no cost. In fact, when your company brings on a TechSF Apprentice, you can receive $2,500-$5,000 to offset onboarding costs. TechSF believes that doing the right thing for your company should provide rewards. Apprenticeship benefits the private and public sectors, and our local communities.

Get started! Contact Orrian Willis (orrian.willis@sfgov.org) or Carolyn Shek (Carolyn.shek@sfgov.org) to start the conversation.

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Council Works to Address Aviation Maintenance Labor Shortfall

Airline officials met this week with faculty from five Bay Area community colleges for the last of a series of Occupational Councils the Bay Area Council convened this year through its Workforce of the Future Committee to address a severe labor shortage in the aviation maintenance industry. Council members Alaska Airlines, SFO, Southwest and United, along with representatives from JetBlue, talked with educators about ways to fill up and speed up the pipeline of aviation maintenance technicians, including reducing the cost of federally required certifications and engaging more veterans in the aviation industry.

Looking ahead to 2019, the Workforce of the Future Committee is already working to hold a Working at SFO career exploration forum in January that will convene key stakeholders in education, industry and community organizations to examine career pathways and scholarships in the aviation, hospitality, retail, tourism and food service industries. For more information on the Bay Area Council’s Workforce of the Future program, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

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Strengthening Career Pathways for Community College Students

Construction in the Bay Area is booming, which is presenting serious challenges for many companies that badly need workers for a variety of important and good-paying jobs that don’t necessarily involve swinging a hammer. The Bay Area Council through its Workforce of the Future program is focused on building stronger career pathways to fill these jobs by working to strengthen connections among community colleges and local employers from around the region. The Council recently partnered with member company Rosendin Electric on visits to Laney College in Oakland (Oct. 18) and San Jose City College (Oct. 24) to meet with students in the classroom and talk with them about opportunities in project management. The visit was one of an ongoing series of classroom visits the Council is organizing to highlight and promote careers in a variety of industries.

Rosendin Vice President of Operations Angela Hart and Director of Preconstruction Mike Holmes talked with the students about project management careers and the skills and training that are required, including keeping projects on track and on budget and supporting client relationships. While many of the students are pursuing electrical apprenticeships, the visit exposed them to another viable option for a career utilizing the learned skills provided by the classes. Hart also emphasized to students the importance of a strong work ethic in advancing their careers, and cited her own experience starting as a receptionist at Rosendin and working her way up to a position in which she now manages $450 million in revenue annually for the company. Students were impressed. San Jose City College student Adrienne Williams said it was “great to hear from a company that values growing and promoting their employees from within,” while student Jungwoon Park said the visit “gave me motivation moving forward.”

To engage in the Council’s Workforce of the Future initiative, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

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Employers Weigh In on Creating an Inclusive Workforce

Business giants Airbnb, Genentech, Nibbi Brothers General Contractors, and Salesforce joined the Bay Area Council on Monday (Oct. 15) at Airbnb to discuss their workforce growth and projected needs in 2019. In a panel discussion moderated by Workforce Committee Co-Chair Julius Robinson (Union Bank), participants Beth Axelrod (Airbnb), Bob Nibbi (Nibbi Brothers General Contractors), Ann Weeby (Salesforce Foundation) and Connie White (Genentech) shared details of their challenges and unique actions for creating an inclusive productive workforce.

Panelists underscored the importance of fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace and retaining diverse talent across economic cycles. Building mentoring programs for career-ready interns provided a strong example of how to better retain young talent. These programs build an intimate understanding of company culture while providing pathways to leadership as interns grow into their roles.

The final Workforce of the Future Committee meeting of the year highlighted the committee’s accomplishments in 2018, including impacting over 12,000 students and job seekers in the region, growing stronger bridges between local diverse talent and Bay Area Council employers. As the Workforce of the Future Committee looks forward towards 2019, it will continue to strengthen talent pipelines while building a more inclusive and representative workforce. To engage in the Council’s Workforce of the Future initiative, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

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Career Fair Focuses on Highly Skilled Immigrants and Refugees

In the United States, two million skilled immigrants and refugees currently face under-employment or unemployment. In partnership with Upwardly Global, the Bay Area Council this week (Oct. 10) held a career fair connecting highly skilled immigrants and refugees with backgrounds in business operations and engineering to major employers in the Bay Area. The strategic hiring event was the last in series of 2018 Inclusive Economy Career Fairs facilitated by the Council’s Workforce of the Future initiative, which focuses on expanding workforce opportunity for underrepresented populations who experience barriers to employment.

Hosted by member company Wells Fargo, the event began with an educational session for employers to learn more about the vast array of backgrounds many immigrants and refugees have. An employer panel featuring Patty Dingle, Senior Director of Diversity and Inclusion at VISA, Daryl Graves, Diversity Talent Acquisition Evangelist at Workday, and Jason Schwartz, Senior Director at TetraTech, further highlighted what these companies are doing in the diversity and inclusion spaces.

The career fair that followed connected 50 highly qualified candidates with 14 employers—including Bay Area Council members Alaska Airlines, Chariot, San Francisco International Airport, VISA, and Wells Fargo. To engage in the Council’s Workforce of the Future initiative, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

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Career Fairs Focus on Increasing Workforce Opportunity, Diversity and Inclusion

Career fairs the Bay Area Council helped support and organize in the past several weeks with partners LeadersUp and Work2Future connected hundreds of Bay Area job seekers with new opportunities, provided them with valuable career services and highlighted the importance of a diverse and inclusive workforce to the regional economy. Lacey Brooks was among more than 150 job seekers who attended the Work2Future Inclusive Economy Career Fair on Oct. 2 at the Mexican Heritage Plaza in San Jose. Lacey met with recruiters from Tesla, UPS, USPS and Universal Sight Services as she pursues her dream of working in the automotive or mechanical repair industry and one day running her own mechanic business. She told career fair organizers the event “exceeded expectations” and “blew me away.”

More than two dozen employers, including Council members UPS, AT&T, Recology, Sutter Health and US Bank, participated in the Work2Future Career Fair. Under the leadership of the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee, Gender Equity and Diversity Committee and our Inclusive Economy initiative, we are working to provide greater career opportunities targeted at unemployed young people of color as well as those who historically have been underrepresented in the workforce.

The Council, in partnership with UpwardlyGlobal, will be conducting its final Inclusive Economy Career Fair of 2018 on Oct. 10 with specific focus on connecting highly skilled immigrants and refugees with backgrounds in business operations and IT/Engineering to Bay Area employers. These career fairs wouldn’t be possible without the generous support the Council receives from Citi Foundation (#Pathways2Progress). For more information and to register, visit the October 10th Inclusive Economy Career Fair with Upwardly Global.

To engage in the Council’s Inclusive Economy work, please contact Senior Policy Manager Rachele Trigueros.

To engage with the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee, please contact Linda Bidrossian, Senior Vice President of Policy.

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Member Spotlight: AIM Addresses Looming Aviation Maintenance Worker Shortage

As a wave of retirements threatens a labor shortage in the aviation maintenance industry, Bay Area Council member Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) this week (Sept. 19) opened a new campus in Fremont. AIM is focused on educating and training the next generation of aircraft maintenance technicians to help fill the widening skills gap this occupation is experiencing. AIM was welcomed to Fremont during a grand opening celebration attended by state Senator Bob Wieckowski, Assemblymember Kansen Chu, Fremont Mayor Lily Mei, Congressman Ro Khanna’s office, and Fremont City Councilmembers Rick Jones and Rag Salwick. The leaders praised the importance of AIM’s campus in Fremont, which is home to an estimated 9,000 manufacturing businesses . In particular, Senator Wiecowski commented “the role that the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in the coming years is going to be vital for the health of our airline industry. We simply need to have the mechanics trained to do the job.”

As an active member of the Council’s Workforce of the Future’s Aviation Maintenance Technician Occupational, AIM is collaborating with local community colleges and employers to develop employer-driven solutions to fill this skill gap in the aviation industry. For more information about the Workforce of the Future’s initiatives, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

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Career Fair Focuses on Opportunities for Youth of Color

The Bay Area Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee this week (Sept. 20) partnered with Work2Future on a San Jose career fair that focused on expanding workforce opportunities for youth of color. The more than 200 job seekers who participated in the fair at the Mexican Heritage Plaza got an opportunity to prepare to meet employers such as Bank of the West, United Airlines, Uber, US Bank and AT&T, among others. Employers interviewed and shared jobs with candidates who were recent high school graduates and those who had just completed a master’s program. Work2Future provided job candidates job-readiness skills. The Council’s Workforce team conducted mock interviews and provided resume support to candidates for the duration of the career fair. Applicants connected with employers to learn more about current job opportunities and test out their interview skills.

This effort is part of the Council’s Workforce of the Future Initiative called Inclusive Economy – where employers have the opportunity to hire local diverse talent who have been prepared to interview for their jobs.  To get involved in the next Inclusive Economy Career Fair on October 2, please contact Senior Policy Manager Rachele Trigueros.

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Closing the Skills Gap across Industries

Fierce demand and competition for workforce talent is steering a growing number of tech companies, including Google, Amazon, IBM and Tesla, to build closer ties with community colleges. A recent Wall Street Journal story—Big Tech’s Hot New Talent Incubator: Community Colleges—highlighting this emerging trend didn’t come as big news to the Bay Area Council. Through our Workforce of the Future Committee, the Council for several years has been partnering with community colleges to build out programs that address the widening skills gap many employers are experiencing.

Tech is not the only player getting in on the game. The Council is also focusing on a range of industries, including advanced manufacturing, aviation, construction and healthcare, to create stronger educational and career pathways that better align the instruction and programs community colleges offer to meet the hiring needs of employers. Innovative Occupational Councils the Workforce Committee has pioneered are serving as the forum for bringing together employers and educators to develop new methods for making community colleges vital talent incubators. To learn how the Workforce of the Future Committee can help with your companies hiring challenges, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

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Stupski Foundation Grant Propels Occupational Councils

Innovative Occupational Councils (OCs) the Bay Area Council launched this year to address workforce gaps in key industries have exceeded expectations in just the first eight months, thanks in large part to funding from the Stupski Foundation Learning Grant. Operated by the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee under the leadership of Co-Chairs Teresa Briggs of Deloitte, Glenn Shannon of Shorenstein Properties and Julius Robinson of Union Bank, the OCs have convened employers, educators, nonprofits and other stakeholders to address severe regional workforce shortages in the aviation, construction, healthcare and manufacturing industries. The program has included regular meetings of key stakeholders to identify ways to increase the talent pipeline for jobs in these industries, conducting in-classroom employer visits and organizing several curated job fairs. The Committee has also begun identifying best practices for scaling up the OCs and ensuring they can be sustained.

The Workforce of the Future team is always looking for additional employers to lend valuable industry insight and expertise to the Occupational Councils. For more information, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.