Bay Area Council Blog


Council Moving the Dial on Housing in Capitol

The Bay Area Council’s unrelenting advocacy for removing barriers to creating badly needed housing is making an impact. On Monday (May 16) the Council scored a huge win when the State Senate overwhelmingly passed SB 1069. Authored by Senator Bob Wieckowski of Fremont and introduced at the Council’s request, SB 1069 would make it easier and less expensive to add accessory dwelling units (ADUs), better known as second units, by reducing parking requirements and streamlining the permitting process, among other features.

Even more significant, Gov. Jerry Brown made the unusual move of specifically endorsing SB 1069 in his May budget revision released the week before and announcing his support for “by right” approval of infill housing. The Council has long advocated for so-called “by right” approval, which can dramatically speed up the process and reduce costs for building housing that meets certain affordability and other requirements. The plug from Gov. Brown came shortly after meetings the Council held with top administration officials and legislative leaders on housing during our Sacramento advocacy day in early May.

Addressing the Bay Area’s lack of workforce housing is among the Council’s top policy priorities under the leadership of Housing Committee Co-Chairs Denise Pinkston of TMG Partners and Kofi Bonner of Lennar Urban.

SB 1069 now moves to the Assembly, where it faces stiffer opposition. The Council has assembled a diverse coalition of supporters, including business, environmental, social welfare and other organizations. Just recently, the Council helped secure SB 1069 endorsements from the powerful Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the City of Oakland.  The Council estimates that if just 10 percent of the Bay Area’s 1.5 million single family homeowners added a second unit, the region’s affordable housing supply would grow by 150,000 units. To support SB 1069 and engage in the Bay Area Council’s housing policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.

Sign the SB 1069 support petition today and share with your networks>>


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.

Fix Our Roads logo

Council Joins Rally for CA Transportation Funding

The Bay Area Council on Thursday (May 19) joined a statewide coalition of transportation advocates for a Fix Our Roads rally at the state Capitol to send a loud and clear message to the Legislature that the time is now to fix California’s roads. Work on a transportation spending plan has been stalled for months by political inaction. More than 500 people from labor, local government, contractors, and business attended the rally, where the coalition unveiled its new Roadmap to Consensus, a proposal to bring all of the parties together to solve our transportation funding crisis.

The compromise plan combines the best ideas from Republican reform proposals, the Governor’s Budget Plan, and from legislation introduced by Democratic leaders. The urgency of finding a solution was hammered home on Wednesday when the California Transportation Commission adopted more than $754 million in cuts to planned highway, transit and other projects because of falling tax revenues tied to gas prices and voted to delay another $755 million in planned future projects. To engage in our transportation policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Michael Cunningham.

Watch the Fix Our Roads rally and press conference>>


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.


Council Applauds Governor’s Housing Proposals

The Bay Area Council today (May 16)  issued the following statement on proposals made by Gov. Jerry Brown in his May budget revision that would help address California’s housing crisis:

“California’s massive housing shortage requires bold and meaningful action and Gov. Brown has delivered.  The Governor in his revised budget has sent a powerful message to the state that we must remove barriers to creating affordable housing that millions of Californians so desperately need. The state’s housing shortage and the high housing costs that have resulted is the main reason for California’s nation-leading poverty rate, with the bottom 25 percent of income earners spending 67 percent of their income on housing. And the obstacles to creating housing where it’s needed most is undermining California’s ability to meet its ambitious climate change goals. In the Bay Area alone, 170,000 “mega commuters” drive to their jobs from places as far away as Sacramento, Lathrop and Manteca.

“Gov. Brown’s proposal to speed up local approval of affordable housing through “by right zoning” will encourage more housing near transit and job centers and reduce long polluting commutes. And his support of legislation like SB 1069, authored by state Sen. Bob Wieckowski and sponsored by the Bay Area Council, has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of affordable accessory dwelling units. We applaud the Governor and the Legislature for taking important first steps on addressing the housing crisis and encourage them to continue to collaborate on funding for affordable housing, streamlined housing approvals, and maintaining California’s fiscal and environmental health.”


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>>


Promoting Medical Devices Opportunities in China

The Bay Area Council recently cohosted a medical device reception at the Westin-Shanghai’s Crown Hall in cooperation with the California Center for International Trade and Development. The event was held as part of the week-long China International Medical Equipment Fair and brought California medical device designers together with government officials to discuss regulatory challenges. Representatives from Nanjing and Shanghai Healthcare and Commercial departments fielded questions about product registration, distributor partnerships, and the priorities of China’s healthcare system under the 13th Five Year Plan. The Bay Area Council’s government partners in both cities further pledged their assistance in connecting California’s medical devices designers to qualified buyers in their municipal districts. The event was the first in the continuing partnership between the Bay Area Council and the California Center for International Trade and Development in China.


Member Spotlight: Intel

Intel has approximately 13,000 employees in California at its two major sites in Folsom and Santa Clara. During the past five years in those two regions alone, Intel has contributed approximately $68 million to educational institutions and nonprofit organizations. More than 20 years ago, Intel established the Intel Involved Matching Grant Program to encourage and support Intel employees who engage in outreach and volunteerism in local site communities. Through this program, the Intel Foundation awards cash grants to qualified schools and nonprofit organizations based on employee volunteer hours. Since then, Intel Involved has become one of the most comprehensive and generous programs in the country.

Intel’s Santa Clara site continues to be a model of exemplary community service. This past year employees at the Santa Clara site volunteered more than 70,000 hours at local nonprofits and schools generating more than half a million dollars in matching grant funds. More than 40 percent of volunteer hours are performed in schools supporting K-12 STEM initiatives. Employees have also contributed thousands of volunteer hours a year to support local organizations such as Second Harvest Food Bank, Sacred Heart Community Services, LifeMoves, and Loaves & Fishes. It is this kind of employee dedication and passion that has made investing in site communities deeply ingrained in the company’s culture.

Learn more about “Intel Involved”>>