Bay Area Council Blog: Workforce of the Future Archive


MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: BAYER Marks STEM Leadership Milestone

Celebrating the 20th anniversary of its award-winning “Making Science Make Sense” program, Bayer and the National PTA announced plans to engage 100,000 students in hands-on STEM activities over the next three years. The goal is to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals.

Bayer is a Bay Area leader in STEM education. In 1992, the company launched Biotech Partners, training disadvantaged Berkeley youth for biotech jobs. In 2011, Bayer scaled up that model with a grant that established the Institute for STEM Education at Cal State East Bay.

“Building a diverse workforce is a business imperative for us, and we are pleased to work with so many dedicated partners in the Bay Area and nationally,” noted Joerg Heidrich, Bayer’s Sr. VP and a long-time BAC Executive Committee member.

Bayer, a global life science company with core competencies in health care and agriculture, is the Bay Area’s third largest biotech employer. Learn more about Bayer’s Making Science Make Sense program>>



The Bay Area Council is taking dead aim at solving the region’s crisis-level housing and traffic problems with a 2016 policy agenda adopted this week (Dec. 3) by the Executive Committee that also targets critical water and drought issues and the growing challenge employers are facing in attracting talent across a range of skills. Under the leadership of Council Chair Michael Covarrubias, Chairman and CEO of TMG Partners, the Executive Committee developed the policy agenda over the past two months with input from the Council’s 275 member companies.

“The Council and this region are extremely fortunate to have the dedicated and visionary leadership that our Executive Committee and Board are bringing to bear against these difficult challenges,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The priorities they have identified rightly reflect the major issues of our time, and we are confident that with their collective action the Council will start bending the curve to solve them.”

The Council’s 2016 Focus Policy Priorities include:

Workforce Housing. The Bay Area’s historic failure to build housing sufficient to meet employment and population growth is fueling an epic affordability crisis that could have long-term consequences for the region’s economic success. The Housing Committee, Co-Chaired by Lennar Urban President Kofi Bonner and TMG Partners Managing Partner Denise Pinkston, is working to significantly increase the supply of housing units and commercial space throughout the region by mitigating regulatory barriers to development of all kinds. To engage in our Workforce Housing work, contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

Commute Improvement. Traffic has reached crisis levels, and our public transportation systems are bursting at the seams. Under the leadership of Heller Manus Architects President Jeffrey Heller and UPS Northern California District President Rosemary Turner, the Transportation Committee is working on a range of innovative solutions that include expanding carpool and toll lanes, leveraging new traffic management technologies, emphasizing overall transportation corridors and developing new financing tools and local revenue sources for investing in maintaining and expanding capacity. To engage in our transportation policy work, contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham.

Water Supply and Security. Our economy relies on access to clean, reliable and affordable supplies of water. With historic drought, competing demands and a historic lack of investment in our water system, the Bay Area faces major questions about its water future. The Water Committee, Co-Chaired by Montezuma Wetlands Managing Partner Jim Levine and Suffolk Construction Company West Coast President Andrew Ball, is uniting the region’s diverse water stakeholders around these issues, working to prioritize critical investments and educating policy makers in Sacramento and Washington on the region’s needs. Ball is also leading the Council’s effort to generate support for a regional ballot initiative in 2016 that would raise $500 million from a parcel tax to fortify the region’s defenses against extreme storms and sea-level rise. To engage in our Water Supply and Security work, contact Policy Director Adrian Covert.

Workforce of the Future. The Bay Area’s fast-changing, high-value innovation economy requires highly skilled graduates for today’s in-demand jobs. Under the leadership of Co-Chairs Teresa Briggs of Deloitte and Glenn Shannon of Shorenstein Properties, the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee is building stronger connections between the region’s employers and the universities and colleges that are educating the region’s future workforce. To engage in our Workforce of the Future work, contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.



Council Chair Michael Covarrubias called for a moment of silence at yesterday’s (Dec. 3) Board of Directors meeting to honor beloved Bay Area business and philanthropic titan Doug Shorenstein, who passed away Nov. 25 after a long battle with cancer. Shorenstein was Chairman and CEO of Shorenstein Properties, a real estate development company founded by his late father Walter Shorenstein. He previously served on the Council’s Board of Directors and was a 2011 inductee into the Council’s Bay Area Business Hall of Fame – Walter was a member of the 1998 Hall of Fame. After taking over the company in 1995, Shorenstein transformed it from a local developer to one of the largest and most-respected real estate development and management companies in the nation. He will be sorely missed.

Read about Doug Shorenstein’s life in the San Francisco Chronicle>>

Watch the Hall of Fame video of honoring Doug Shorenstein>>

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The state’s Legislative Analyst’s Office may want to grab a copy of our Bay Area Council Economic Institute’s recent Roadmap for Economic Resilience. In a report this week examining California’s fiscal outlook, the LAO anxiously wonders about our region’s economic resilience and the impact a downturn here might have on the California economy. It’s a topic we spend a lot time thinking about ourselves.

“California’s economy and the state budget now are quite reliant on the San Francisco Bay Area,” the LAO notes. It credits the Bay Area, in particular the tech sector, for leading the state’s job recovery through the Great Recession. And it finds that while our region is home to just 17 percent of the state’s population, we pay 36 percent of total state personal income taxes at a level per capita more than double the statewide average. The LAO report also pays close attention to the Bay Area’s growing housing crisis, which our Roadmap report cites as one of the key factors in deciding the region’s economic future.

The Roadmap, which was unveiled Nov. 6, offers a sweeping, new regional economic vision for strengthening the Bay Area’s competitiveness, broadening prosperity, and building resilience against economic swings. It outlines a series of proposed solutions for addressing our housing and traffic crises, streamlining regional governance, promoting the region economically, and closing the workforce gap between universities and employers. We’ll make sure to get a copy to the LAO.

Read the Roadmap for Economic Resilience>>

Read the LAO’s California Fiscal Outlook>>

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The Bay Area Council Economic Institute today unveiled a sweeping (and provocative), new regional economic vision for strengthening the Bay Area’s competitiveness, broadening prosperity, and building resilience against coming economic swings. A Roadmap for Economic Resilience offers a framework and series of recommendations for leveraging the power of the Bay Area’s many parts to combat the region’s growing housing and traffic crises, attract top workers and companies, and enhance overall quality of life.

Read the Roadmap for Economic Resilience>>

“Economic success is not a divine right, it has to be planned for, fought for, earned,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “UCLA Professor Michael Storper’s new book, “The Rise and Fall of Urban Economies,” explains how the Bay Area has remained on top among regional US economies for the last two generations, while Los Angeles dropped from 4th to 25th. The Bay Area is an incredible place, but we sit at a crossroads. It is time for the key stakeholders in our region to move forward together and address the serious challenges we face. The Regional Economy Strategy provides a bold framework for doing just that.”

At a packed forum this morning launching the Roadmap, top business and government leaders discussed the various solutions proposed in the report and what it will take to make progress on them. Tune in next week for links to video of the conversation. To participate in our regional planning work, contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

Roadmap for Economic Resilience forum agenda>>




Oracle CEO Safra Catz this week unveiled the company’s exciting plans to build a first-of-its-kind public high school on its Redwood Shores campus. Slated to be completed in the fall of 2017, Design Tech High School ( is a free, innovative charter school that incorporates technology, design thinking and problem solving skills to help students prepare for successful careers. “ will be the world’s first educational institution located on a high-tech campus which will give students immeasurable opportunities,” said Dr. Ken Montgomery, Design Tech’s executive director and founder.



The Bay Area Council welcomes Linda Bidrossian as Senior Vice President heading up our important Workforce of the Future policy initiative. Under the leadership of Co-Chairs Teresa Briggs of Deloitte and Glenn Shannon of Shorenstein Properties, the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee is focused on building stronger connections between the region’s employers and the universities and colleges that are educating the region’s future workforce. The Committee is also working to identify new and stable funding for the state’s higher education system.

Linda’s experience positions her perfectly to drive the Council’s work forward. She comes to the Council from the Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department, where she served as senior consultant on technology and innovation initiatives. Prior to that, Linda was executive director of Bixel Exchange, a new technology incubator and innovation center at the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce. She also was vice president of business development at M Squared Consulting and a senior manager at PricewaterhouseCoopers. She has traveled across the world supporting the U.S. Department of State and the United States Agency for International Development on public private partnerships that have resulted in new jobs and growth in the technology sector. Linda earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Southern California focusing on international policy. She is fluent in three languages. To engage in the Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee, contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.