Bay Area Council Blog: Workforce of the Future Archive


LA Teachers Strike Has Broad Implications for California

As more than 30,000 teachers in Los Angeles continue their first strike in 30 years, the action has much broader implications for education across the state and for California’s future workforce. The strike by the United Teachers Los Angeles against the Los Angeles Unified School District also could set the tone for relations between teachers and school districts statewide. Oakland teachers today (Jan. 18) staged a sick-out over many of the same issues, including pay, class size and teacher resources, that are at the center of the Los Angeles strike. As the state’s K-12 educational system ranks 44th in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report, the outcomes of the Los Angeles negotiations will shape how our educational system adapts to better prepare its students for the growing demands in California’s workforce. The Bay Area Council will be monitoring the results of the negotiations closely and how they may impact Bay Area schools. To participate in the Workforce of the Future Committee initiative, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

advanced energy

Meeting California’s Advanced Energy Workforce Needs

The Bay Area Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee partnered with California Community Colleges to host an Advanced Energy Industry Roundtable on Monday, December 10. The convening brought together educators and employers in the advanced energy sector to address growing workforce demand in the industry. California’s cap-and-trade policy has identified workforce as a key component of the state’s expanding advanced energy industry, where an additional 15,000 highly skilled workers are needed every year. Employers emphasized a need for community colleges to focus on tech-related occupations, as the ‘internet of things’ provides a greater need for cybersecurity, energy storage, and data management. Regional community college programs are working to address these industry needs throughout their energy, construction, and utilities programs in the Bay Area. To engage in the Council’s Workforce of the Future initiative, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

north san joaquin

Expanding Economic Opportunity in the Megaregion

The economic and social progress of the North San Joaquin Valley (NSJV) was discussed recently at the University of the Pacific’s Center for Business and Policy Research (CBPR) fifth annual the State of the North San Joaquin Valley Conference in Stockton. In addition to the NSJV Index, an annual review of the socio-economic well-being of the region, the conference focus was on transforming skills ecosystems.  Linda Bidrossian, senior vice president of the Bay Area Council and head of the Council’s Workforce of the Future policy initiative, participated in the expert panel on workforce skills.

“The index highlights the emerging and developing economic issues, as well as the economic and demographic outlooks for a three-county region that needs more recognition as a unique and important place in California,” said Jeffrey Michael, CBPR’s executive director. “The index and the conference are tools for building regional identity and for sparking collaboration on economic development to enhance the quality of life in the region and across northern California.”

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs’ delivered a keynote address discussing the need to transform employment opportunities in Stockton and the city’s Workforce Development Action Plan.

“It is important that we focus and prepare for the changing trends in our economic future,” Tubbs said. “We must situate Stockton and our greater region to build upon local advantages such as our port, our proximity to the Bay Area and our easy access to major transportation routes, all while providing our community with tools needed to fulfill the high-skilled jobs of tomorrow.”

“This three-county region faces a multitude of challenges as well as opportunities to transform its skills ecosystem and make sure there are more skilled workers,” said Thomas Pogue, CBPR’s associated director, who moderated the expert panel. That, in addition to the Bay Area Council’s Bidrossian, included Robert Tibbs, founder and CEO of ConSol-USA; and Ann Rogan, FUSE executive fellow in the mayor’s office.

JP Morgan Chase and Co., Pacific Gas and Electric and San Joaquin Council of Governments co-sponsored the event.


Workforce of the Future Completes Morgan Family Foundation Grant

The Bay Area Council’s Workforce of the Future team successfully completed outcomes for a second grant from the Morgan Family Foundation. The grant supported the expansion of collaboration between employers and educators to address skills gaps in high-demand occupations. Through this funding, the Workforce team was able to host nine Occupational Council meetings in aviation and healthcare, and support the implementation of two employer-driven solutions – aviation career exploration events and employer classroom visits.

The Workforce team co-hosted two aviation career explorations at San Francisco International Airport (‘Working at SFO’) and San Jose International Airport (‘Working@SJC’) to spotlight aviation careers for students and job seekers. For our healthcare initiative, the Workforce team conducted three rounds of employer classroom visits for Medical Assistants in San Francisco. The classroom visits were the result of employers seeking to grow candidate’s soft-skills, and by visiting students in-person, they were able to emphasize the importance of these skills to incoming talent. The Workforce team will continue to expand and replicate the employer-driven classroom visit model and aviation career exploration events across the Bay Area in 2019.

Thank you to Morgan Family Foundation for their continued support. To engage in the Workforce of the Future initiative, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

app night1

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 ( or Carolyn Shek ( to start the conversation.


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.


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.


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.

10.10.18_Career Fair2 copy

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.

10.2.18_CareerFair_Work2Future copy

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.