Bay Area Council Blog: Workforce of the Future Archive


Council Prepares to Host World’s Top Energy Ministers

The Bay Area Council this week was in the final stages of preparations for welcoming 23 of the world’s top energy ministers, including U.S. Energy Sec. Ernest Moniz, to San Francisco on June 1-2 as they meet to begin working on implementation of the Paris climate agreement. The Clean Energy Ministerial marks the first direct follow up meeting since the COP21 agreement. The Council is working with the U.S. Department of Energy to organize the conference. The selection of the Bay Area for this important convening highlights the region’s global leadership in developing the science, innovation and technologies that will help the world achieve the ambitious climate change goals in COP21. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Gov. Jerry Brown are scheduled to participate. Learn more about CEM7>>


Outlook Conference Goes Bigger Better Bolder

Hundreds of business, government and academic leaders gathered Tuesday, May 17 at the Bay Area Council’s 2016 Outlook Conference presented by Wells Fargo to hear from major CEOs and other top thinkers about some of the key challenges facing our region, our economy, employers and workers. Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO John Stumpf delivered the opening keynote to an audience of 600 at the Park Central Hotel in San Francisco, giving his unique insights on national and global economic trends, California’s housing crisis, and the outlook for the fast-emerging financial technology sector before sitting down for an engaging Q&A with PG&E CEO and Council Executive Committee member Tony Earley.

Rudy Giuliani, chair of Greenberg Traurig’s cybersecurity and crisis management practice, closed the conference with entertaining, informative and wide ranging remarks on his time as New York City mayor, the ubiquity of digital technology and the massive threat that cyber attacks pose to the economy, national security, consumers and business.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, CEO of The Representation Project, delved into the damaging role of gender stereotypes in limiting opportunities for women and challenged executives to examine how their workplace and leadership practices can remove obstacles to advancement. Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker talked about the digitization of everything and the challenges of an open Web.

Microsoft’s Oliver Parker led a fascinating discussion with Kaiser Permanente’s Manish Vipani and Nexenta CEO Tarkan Maner on how big data and cloud computing are transforming healthcare. Xerox Chief Technology Officer Sophie Vandebroek explored some of amazing technologies driving the clean energy and energy storage sectors. And Chauncey Lennon of JPMorgan Chase led a discussion with Tumml CEO Clara Brenner and Jewish Vocational Services Director Abby Snay on the major themes from JPMorgan Chase’s new report: Tech Jobs for All? Exploring the Promise and Pitfalls of Technology Training in the United States.

Council Chair and TMG Partners Chairman and CEO Michael Covarrubias opened the conference with a look at how the Council is addressing the key issues of housing and transportation. Bay Area Council Economic Institute President Micah Weinberg unveiled their 9th Economic Profile: Promise and Perils of an Accelerated Economy and used it to debunk five myths about the Bay Area economy.

Videos of all the speakers will be available starting next week. To view the full agenda, visit Outlook Conference: Bigger Better Bolder.

The Council extends its deepest thanks to Wells Fargo for serving as presenting Visionary sponsor, and also to Kaiser Permanente for serving as Pioneer sponsor.


Council Joins Computer Science Education Coalition

The Bay Area Council is proud to announce that it has joined the Computer Science Education Coalition, a nonprofit organization comprised of businesses and NGOs focused on expanding computer science education in K-12 classrooms across America to ensure that our nation remains globally competitive and secure for decades to come.

Today, only one out of four K-12 schools teach any computer science, leaving the vast majority of our nation’s students without access to the skills needed to thrive in the future. It is estimated that by the end of the decade, around 77% of jobs will require technological skills and we risk falling behind other nations who have prioritized the teaching of computer science in their countries if we do not take action. Our universities graduate only about 40,000 computer science students annually which is woefully inadequate, as there are over 500,000 unfilled computing jobs nationwide.

The Computer Science Education Coalition is seeking a $250 million federal investment in K-12 computer science this year. It’s estimated that an initial infusion of $250 million in federal funds could support as many as 52,500 classrooms and reach 3.6 million students in the coming year. The benefit is a skilled workforce, a boost to the country’s manufacturing, defense, financial, healthcare, aeronautic, technology, agricultural and other industries — strengthening America for future generations.

Learn more about Computer Science Education Coalition>>

jobs watch

Jobs Watch: CA Captures One-Third of U.S. Job Growth

The regional and state employment survey released this morning (May 20) by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed California leading the nation in job growth. While the April numbers showed the U.S. hitting a disappointing seven-month low in job growth, the story for California was reversed. The state added 59,600 jobs in April, capturing over one-third of all job growth nationwide. The number of unemployed in the state is now the lowest it has been since September of 2007. Strong gains in construction and professional services and businesses services are putting the state on track for robust overall growth in 2016.

For Bay Area figures — which will be released later today — check out Bay Area Job Watch on the Bay Area Council Economic Institute’s blog.


Member Spotlight: U.S. Bank

Earlier this year, U.S. Bank’s CEO Richard Davis announced the company’s new corporate giving and volunteering platform, Community Possible, which focuses the bank’s community investments under the pillars of Work, Home and Play. U.S. Bank is proud to invest in the Bay Area Council’s Workforce of the Future Initiative under the leadership of Executive Committee members Teresa Briggs of Deloitte and Glenn Shannon of Shorenstein Properties and as part of its work to address the growing mismatch between workforce suppliers – like colleges and universities – and employer demand for qualified middle skills job applicants.

Employers cannot find enough qualified candidates to fill their growing middle skill job openings, such as customer care representatives, lab technicians, field repair workers, physical therapy assistants and treatment facility staff. To add to this issue, the region’s middle class is having an increasingly difficult time finding jobs.

According to Mike Righi, U.S. Bank’s Market Leader for the Pacific Northwest, “U.S. Bank believes that stable, fulfilling employment is the foundation to a thriving middle-class and growing economy. By investing in the Workforce of the Future program, U.S. Bank is making it possible for the business community and the Bay Area Community College Consortium to create stable employment for middle skill professionals in the Bay Area.”

The focus areas of the initiative include health care, utilities, technology, banking and finance, based upon the number of middle skill job opportunities in those industries. The Council will identify the training needs of the employers in those industries, and coordinate with the community college system to develop training programs. Through the Workforce of the Future Initiative, the business community can create opportunities for the middle class in the Bay Area to enjoy in the region’s bright economic future. To engage in the Council’s Workforce of the Future policy work, please contact Senior Vice President of Policy Linda Bidrossian.


Building Connections Among Universities and Employers

The colleges and universities of the San Francisco Bay Area helped create Silicon Valley, the economic phenomenon that’s made the region the envy of the world. And yet not every student living in the Bay Area today has an equal chance of receiving the college education they need in order to succeed.

Under the auspices of Stanford’s Year of Learning initiative, a panel of experts including Bay Area Council Economic Institute Senior Director Sean Randolph met recently to tease out how this situation came to be, and ask how the region’s post-secondary ecosystem might evolve to help sustain the economic growth it has enabled while also spreading the benefits of that growth to all who live and work in the area.

The discussion reinforced the work that the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee, under the leadership of Executive Committee members Teresa Briggs of Deloitte and Glenn Shannon of Shorenstein Properties, is doing to strengthen connections between the region’s employers and its universities and colleges. To engage with our Workforce of the Future Committee, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.

Randolph said the region faces a massive skills gap, with an estimated 1-2 million workers being undertrained, and a rapidly shifting demographic profile that educational institutions must acknowledge if they’re to bring those new populations into the economy. He suggested the answer lies in better regional coordination to ensure that educational resources match needs, more web-based tools for education, and increasing funding for career technical education and for entrepreneurial training and support.

Read the Economic Institute’s White Paper on Higher Education Reform>>


2016 Bay Area Council Poll Reinforce Council’s Priorities

The results of the 2016 Bay Area Council Poll this week (May 2) reinforced the work we’re leading to grow the region’s housing supply, boost investment in transportation, strengthen connections between employers and higher education, and build greater resilience against an economic downturn. They also highlighted the urgency for state, local and regional elected leaders and policy makers to focus on meaningful and immediate actions.

Residents overwhelmingly rated housing, traffic and cost of living as the region’s top issues. They expressed concern about the overall direction the region is heading and the likelihood of a significant economic downturn in the new few years. See complete Bay Area Council Poll results>>

Under the leadership of Housing Committee Co-Chairs Denise Pinkston of TMG Partners and Kofi Bonner of Lennar Urban, the Council is sponsoring legislation by State Senator Bob Wieckowski to make it easier and less costly for homeowners to add second units, also known as accessory dwelling units (sign the petition in support of SB1069). The Council is also leading discussions with the mayors of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose and regional planning leaders on developing a bold new regional initiative focused on expanding housing.

To address the Bay Area’s growing demand for transportation, the Council is preparing to lead a likely November 2016 campaign in support of an estimated $3.5 billion bond measure to modernize BART. We’re continuing our work to expand water transit service (see item below), secure funding to modernize Caltrain (see item below), improve coordination among transportation agencies and leverage new technologies like ridesharing apps and intelligent traffic management tools.


Top-Level Meetings Highlight Council’s Sacramento Day

Building more housing, fixing the region’s unbearable traffic congestion, securing a stable water supply and preparing a strong workforce of the future were among the topics of discussion during the Bay Area Council’s successful Sacramento Day on Monday, May 2. The Council led a delegation of over 75 business executives to the state Capitol to meet with California’s constitutional officers, legislative leaders and administration officials to discuss its 2016 policy priorities and to advocate for passage of our sponsored bills which include SB 1069 and AB 1755.

SB 1069 by Senator Bob Wieckowski would make it easier for homeowners to add second units, also known as accessory dwelling units, to single family homes.  AB 1755 by Assemblyman Bill Dodd would create an open, publicly accessible online clearing house for critical water data that would improve water conservation, reduce waste and ensure greater reliability in times of shortages.

During a half-day of meetings, the Council enjoyed candid conversations with Nancy McFadden, Executive Secretary to Governor Brown, Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León, and Assembly Republican Leader Chad Mayes. The delegation also heard from Michael Cohen, Director of the Department of Finance, Susan Bransen, Executive Director of the California Transportation Commission and members of the Capitol Press Corps. Later in the evening the delegation participated in a reception with State Controller Betty Yee and dined with members of the Bay Area Legislative Caucus at Esquire Grill.

The Council thanks Bay Area Council Chairman Michael Covarrubias of TMG Partners, Government Relations Committee Chairs Andrew Giacomini of Hanson and Bridgett LLP and Peter Brightbill of Wells Fargo for leading the delegation. Sacramento Day 2016 was made possible thanks to our very generous sponsors: Arent Fox, LLP, AT&T, Bauer’s Intelligent Transportation, Kaiser Permanente, Lyft, United Airlines and Visa. To engage in our government relations work, please contact Government Relations Manager Cornelious Burke.

Read the Sacramento Day advocacy booklet>>


BACPoll: Economic Confidence Softening

Bay Area residents agree the regional economy is humming right along, according to results of the 2016 Bay Area Council Poll released today, but a growing number also appear more cautious about where the economy is heading and see the possibility of a significant downtown on the horizon.

The poll found that 83 percent of residents think the economy is doing the same or better compared to six months ago, but the intensity of their optimism has started to wane from two years ago. While 53 percent said in 2014 that the economy would be doing somewhat or much better than six months prior, that number dropped to 35 percent in 2016. Residents who think the economy is doing about the same jumped from 35 percent in 2014 to 48 percent in 2016, and the number that think the economy has worsened has almost doubled from 8 percent in 2014 to 15 percent in 2016.

“Unlike Steph Curry, the Bay Area economy isn’t going to keep hitting long-range three pointers,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Economic ebbs and flows are inevitable, but we can take steps to gird ourselves against the harshest impacts of a downturn. The Bay Area Council has advanced a comprehensive Regional Economic Strategy that offers a framework for increasing the region’s resilience against economic swings, including building the housing we need, investing in transportation and other critical infrastructure, strengthening the connections between our universities and employers, and creating a regional entity exclusively focused on economic sustainability.”

Read the Regional Economic Strategy>>

Read the Bay Area Council Poll summary results>>

See Bay Area Council charts and graphs>>

See complete Bay Area Council Poll results>>

Looking ahead in the near term, the poll found a similar cooling off in residents’ attitudes about the economy. In 2014, 50 percent said the economy would be doing somewhat or much better in six months and 35 said it would be doing about the same. The 2016 poll found that 27 percent believe the economy will show improvement in six months, while 49 said it will be doing about the same. Another 21 percent said in this year’s survey that the economy will worsen in six months, a significant jump over the 9 percent in 2014 who had a pessimistic outlook for the coming half year.

Looking a little deeper into the crystal ball, more residents than not think the Bay Area is in store for a significant economic downturn. The poll found 37 percent of residents think the regional economy is due for a correction sometime in the next three years. Another 15 percent think it will be 3-5 years before the pendulum swings back, 7 percent say it will be more than five years and an optimistic 20 percent think the Bay Area will dodge any economic downturn.

Despite concerns about the regional economy, residents appear to have a slightly brighter view of their own household financial situation. The poll found 78 percent of residents think their household is the same (53%) or better off (25%) financially than six months ago. And they generally see things getting a little better in the near future, with 83 percent saying they expect their household financial picture to stay at least the same (54%) or improve (29%). That optimism is generally consistent across counties, although Contra Costa County residents appear the most sanguine with 39 percent saying they expect their financial situation to improve in the next six months while across the bay in San Francisco just 22 percent of residents think they’ll be better off.

Along income lines, higher earning households feel more financially secure. The poll found that 85 percent of households making $150,000 or more feel their finances are the same (51%) or better (34%) than six months ago, compared to the 70 percent of households with incomes of $50,000 or less who say their finances are unchanged (49%) or better (21%).

The 2016 Bay Area Council Poll, which was conducted by Oakland-based public opinion research firm EMC Research from Feb. 12-March 9, surveyed more than 1,000 residents online about a range of issues related to economic growth, housing and transportation, drought, education and workforce. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

grad slam

UC Grad Slam Showcases Research Talent

In partnership with the Bay Area Council and LinkedIn, the University of California on April 22 held its second annual Grad Slam competition showcasing the breadth and depth of research UC’s 50,000 graduate and professional students are developing. Winners from each of the 10 campus contests competing at Grad Slam for the $6,000 prize were judged on how well they engage the audience, communicate key concepts and present focused ideas—all in 3 minutes or less!

“When scientists and scholars are able to communicate their research without jargon, it helps them connect with colleagues outside their field, get fellowships and land career opportunities,” said UC President Janet Napolitano who served as emcee. “But even more critically, it allows them to bring their expertise into the public sphere, where we all can benefit from their knowledge.”

This year the coveted “Slammy” trophy went to UC Riverside doctoral student Peter Byrley who is working to create smaller, more powerful microprocessors using graphene instead of silicon. Read more about the winner>>

Special thanks to Council member LinkedIn for hosting the Grad Slam at its newly opened, state-of-the-art 450,000 square foot office building in San Francisco. LinkedIn Senior Manager of Community Relations Katie Ferrick said of the event, “Grad students’ research has the potential to improve people’s lives and livelihoods, just as LinkedIn seeks to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce. Their research represents a glimpse into the workforce of the future.”

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