Bay Area Council Blog


How Will the Bay Area Meet Future Workforce Needs?

The Bay Area Council’s Workforce of the Future Committee convened Thursday (Oct. 5) to give an update on the Council’s work to improve the number of qualified candidates from community colleges for jobs with our member companies. Our program includes first giving transparency to the needs of employers across industry while building occupational council’s that will convene with educators to align curriculum and classroom engagement with students prior to recruitment. Committee Co-Chair Teresa Briggs, who is Vice Chair and West Region Managing Partner for Deloitte, led a thought-provoking conversation with Darren Oliver, Vice President of Human Resources for Comcast, and Tyler Law, Vice President of Product for workforce startup Scoutible on the future of hiring talent.  Scoutible uses gaming to help candidates find well suited jobs that lowers a company’s turnover rate. Comcast is already piloting a sentiment analysis tool for its high turnover customer service jobs.

Watch the discussion on future workforce hiring>>

Rock Pfontenhauer, Chair of the Bay Area Community College Consortium, and John Carrese, Director of the San Francisco Bay Center of Excellence, presented the partnership with the Bay Area Council defining the target markets of support that include utilities/infrastructure, healthcare, technology, and financial services to start. Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman opened the meeting by describing how the Council’s role in workforce is not only improving the connection between employers and educators but increasing access to innovation jobs across industries for all Californians. “Educators from both four year and two year colleges want their students to get jobs and have upward mobility so they can afford to live in the Bay Area,” Wunderman said. Our thanks to Deloitte for hosting the meeting. To engage in the Council’s workforce policy and programs, please contact Senior Vice President, Linda Bidrossian.



Council Forms Megaregion Partnership with Sacramento to Keep Jobs, Grow Economy

The Bay Area Council today  announced a new partnership with the Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council  as part of a campaign promote the integration of the Bay Area and the Capital Region into a single high-performing economy by developing and leveraging a joint civic, business, and policy platform. The #CaliforniaJobsMatter campaign will focus on the Sacramento area, the Central Valley, and the mega-region. Sacramento Mayor-Elect Darrell Steinberg and Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman will lead the mission.

“Our regions will come together and compete on a national stage to host some of the most innovative companies,” Bay Area Council President and CEO Jim Wunderman said. “Connecting these regions through the Capitol Corridor will help drop commute times to under an hour and further bolster this competitive advantage.”

“The Northern California mega-region strategy will provide communities in the Greater Sacramento area access to opportunities in the most innovative market in the world, and vice versa,” Greater Sacramento Area Economic Council CEO Barry Broome said. “California is the world’s 6th largest economy and is the most innovative and profitable state for business – but we lack a placemaking strategy for communities that are without jobs.”

The Sacramento region is the competitive response against alternative economies including Texas, Utah, and Colorado, which are regularly targeting our key industries. The region has access to high-demand talent with 308,000 actively enrolled college students in the area who are adding to the already talented workforce. In the Sacramento region 31.1% of the residents have at least a 4-year degree and 49.4% of them are in STEM fields, the 4th highest amount nationally.

Connecting these jobs to the mega-region will stabilize the state’s economy, create employment opportunities, and keep tax dollars in California’s education and health systems, which will also help alleviate high levels of youth unemployment, decrease economic distress in neighborhoods, and support middle class employment for California residents.

“This is a great opportunity for us to partner with the Bay Area region and create a corridor for businesses to come and thrive in the Sacramento region,” Sacramento Mayor-Elect Darrell Steinberg said. “Choose Sacramento over Texas, our region offers talent and resources that can help facilitate the Bay Area’s rapid growth in a more innovative and sustainable way.”

Greater Sacramento will launch an office in Sunnyvale to further interconnect the Capital region with the Bay Area as one high-performing market, creating the Sac-Bay innovation corridor within the Northern California mega-region.

A growing rate of job loss in the state is masked by the strong job creation in the Bay Area. Such reliance on a single economic market puts into question the long-term economic sustainability of California as a whole. Robust, diverse, economies depend on a mix of advanced and legacy industries.

The Bay Area Council Economic Institute, the research arm of the Bay Area Council, in July released a report examining the emerging megaregion, including the need for stronger transportation and workforce development connections.

Read The Northern California Megaregion>>

The Northern California mega-region strategy will connect communities such as Sacramento, Tracy, Vacaville, Stockton, and others to the Bay Area region.  Greater Sacramento will work with the Bay Area Council to defend California-based jobs against out-of-state competitors.

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More Ferries Coming Soon, Serving New Routes and Destinations

The big WETA and Golden Gate ferries that serve the region’s heavy commute corridors will soon be complemented by nimble, privately financed and operated ferries on several new routes. Two private operators—Tideline Marine Group and Prop SF—gained approval this week from the California Public Utilities Commission to inaugurate new service that will enable commuters to avoid traffic on congested highways and bridges.  Tideline and Prop SF are both eyeing service to San Francisco from Berkeley and Emeryville, with Redwood City also in Prop SF’s initial plans. Expanding regional ferry service is one of the Council’s top 2016 priorities as part of its overall transportation policy agenda.

Along with urging the CPUC to approve these private ferry operators, the Council also has been hard at work to support expansion of the public ferry system. Under the leadership of Board Chair Jody Breckenridge and Vice Chair and Council CEO Jim Wunderman, WETA’s new Strategic Plan envisions ferry service coming to Mission Bay and Redwood City, and the Council is deeply involved at both locations to accelerate construction of ferry terminals. To engage with the Council’s ferry efforts, please contact Policy Manager Emily Loper.


Council Notches Its Best Legislative Record in Years

The Bay Area Council was poised to notch its best legislative record in years with the deadline for Gov. Jerry Brown to sign or veto bills coming today (Sept. 30). The Council scored wins in all but one of its lead policy areas, including housing, transportation and workforce development. In the area of commute improvement, the Governor signed AB 1592, AB 1889, AB 2126 and AB 2763 into law. AB 1592 authored by Assemblywoman Bonilla authorizes the Contra Costa Transportation Authority to conduct testing of autonomous vehicles. AB 1889 authored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin helps the state access Proposition 1A high speed rail bond proceeds for the Caltrain electrification and modernization project. AB 2126, also authored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, will expedite congestion relief improvements on Highway 101 between San Francisco and San Jose. AB 2763 authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto helps ride-sharing companies like Lyft expand their driver networks.

The Governor also took action on several bills supported by the Council to create a skilled workforce of the future. AB 2329 authored by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla will broaden the pool of computer science teachers and will promote computer science education in our school system.  SB 66 authored by Senator Connie Leyva will help community colleges measure and improve career technical education programs. The Council was also successful in advocating for the Governor to veto SB 959, which would have increased cost on the University of California system. To engage in the Council’s government relations work, please contact Policy Manager Cornelious Burke.


Council Explores Legal Options on Brisbane NIMBY Plan

The city of Brisbane made its claim for NIMBY of the year with its audacious proposal to accept 8 million square feet of commercial and industrial development on almost 700 acres of vacant urban land and not a single unit of housing for the thousands of jobs that would come with it. The city’s stunning rejection of any housing as part of the Brisbane Baylands project brought a quick and sharp response from the Bay Area Council, which on Thursday urged the city Planning Commission during a community study session to reconsider the no-housing plan and began exploring legal options for challenging any final decision on the project that doesn’t include a residential component. A state Supreme Court ruling from the 1970s found that local planning and development decisions must also consider broader regional impacts.

The Council believes that failing to provide any housing for thousands of new workers would have significant regional impacts, adding to the Bay Area’s already historic housing shortage, its choking traffic, growing megacommutes and overcrowded mass transit. Indeed, the Brisbane Baylands site owned by Council member Universal Paragon Corporation is identified in regional plans as a Priority Development Area because of the housing it can support right next to regional mass transit systems. The Council has long advocated for including housing at Brisbane Baylands. Legal action would represent an unprecedented last resort for the Council, but there is too much at stake not to prepare for a Brisbane decision that wholly rejects the city’s responsibility to consider the region’s public welfare. In addition to a legal challenge, an idea has been floated to annex the land to another jurisdiction that would be more amenable to accepting housing. Additional study sessions are scheduled for November and December and the Council will be following closely. To engage in the Council’s housing policy work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.



Governor Signs Council-Sponsored Housing Bill

The Bay Area Council today (Sept. 27) applauded Governor Jerry Brown for signing legislation it sponsored that will make it easier, faster and less expensive for homeowners statewide to develop in-law or accessory dwelling units (ADUs) on their property.

The Council sponsored SB 1069 (Sen. Bob Wieckowski – Fremont) as an important first step to ease California’s epic housing crisis.  The Council estimates that if the legislation encourages just 10 percent of homeowners to build in-law units, the Bay Area region could gain 150,000 new affordable housing units. The bill was co-authored by Assemblymember Richard Bloom and Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins. The new law could lop months off the approval of ADUs and tens of thousands of dollars off the cost of fees and permits.

“The Governor’s action is an important step in addressing California’s massive housing shortage,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “The success of SB 1069 represents a major victory for thousands of Californians who are struggling under the weight of skyrocketing rents and home prices.  This will create housing for teachers, nurses, family members, elders or others who want to live in a community but have been priced out. We thank Senator Wieckowski and the broad coalition of environmentalists, teachers, housing leaders, cities, social justice and business advocates who worked together to remove this small – but significant – regulatory barrier to affordable housing.”

“SB 1069 will help millions of families and seniors remain in their homes, house family and community members who would otherwise be priced out, and create gentle, affordable, and invisible infill,” said Denise Pinkston, Co-Chair of the Council’s Workforce Housing Committee and a Partner of TMG Partners. “The Legislature and Governor have empowered homeowners to help ease California’s housing shortage. By easing regulatory barriers and allowing ADUs with a simple building permit, SB 1069 allows homeowners to easily and economically carve out a separate space in their home or upgrade a garage or shed to create livable space that we so badly need.”

SB 1069 follows recommendations from UC Berkeley and UCLA to reduce barriers that prevent homeowners from legally adding ADUs.  The bill will allow the utilization of existing homes and structures to provide fast and affordable housing invisibly in existing neighborhoods by limiting requirements for setbacks, parking, sprinklers, utility fees, and a protracted process with a building permit. Expanding in-law units also can help the state achieve its climate change goals by avoiding sprawl and the long automobile commutes that come with it.

With housing among its top 2016 policy priorities, the Bay Area Council over many months mounted an aggressive advocacy campaign in support of SB 1069 as it worked its way through the Legislature. The Council assembled a large and diverse coalition of groups to urge support for the bill—groups and employers not often seen in support of the same piece of legislation– including: AARP, California Teachers Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, Kaiser Permanente, Blue Shield, UPS, Virgin America, Facebook, Yelp, MTC, SPUR, Bridge Housing, California Infill Builders Federation, the Greenbelt Alliance, and the mayors of Oakland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles and dozens more groups and individuals.

SB1069 Floor Alert>>

SB1069 Support Letter>>


State Sen. Jackson Talks Fair Pay with Council’s Gender Equity Committee

The Bay Area Council’s Gender Equity Committee on Thursday (Sept. 15) welcomed state Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) for an invigorating discussion hosted by member company Lyft about promoting workplace cultures of equality. Sen. Jackson authored the California Fair Pay Act, landmark legislation that established the strongest equal pay law in the country and went into effect in January. More than a half century after John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act to abolish wage discrimination based on gender, women in the United States still earn on average only .79 cents for every dollar men earn. Jackson’s legislation strengthens federal regulations and marks a great step forward in closing that wage gap.

After fighting for pay equity for 35 years, Sen. Jackson attributed the success of this bill — which received unanimous approval in the Senate and nearly unanimous approval in the Assembly — to the convincing economic argument.  Unequal pay costs California women $39 billion annually, which is money that could be flowing to businesses and the overall state economy. Following a welcome by Lyft Public Policy Manager Rena Davis, Sen. Jackson discussed other strategies that will produce more equitable workplaces, including promoting more women to board leadership positions and adopting family friendly policies such as paid parental leave and on-site child care.

Many of these workplace practices are highlighted in the Bay Area Council Economic Institute’s recent Best Practices Resource Guide. The Gender Equity Committee is Co-Chaired by Peg McAllister of Lee Hecht Harrison, Christopher Ruhl of PwC and Stuart Newton of Deloitte. To engage on the Council’s gender equity work, please contact Policy Manager Emily Loper.


Council Builds Stronger Economic, Trade & Investment Connections with Nanjing

The Bay Area Council, in collaboration with the Gulou District of Nanjing, recently completed a trade show promoting Bay Area businesses and Council members in the economically important Yangtze Delta region. The event was led by Deputy Mayor Tong and attended by over 400 representatives from the Nanjing business community along with Council members Woods Bagot, HSBC, Dolby, PwC, Suning, Finnegan and Mitsubishi. In remarks during the event, Council Senior Vice President Bing Wei and Woods Bagot Vice President Peal Huang drew awareness to investment opportunities in the Bay Area.

The event doubled as a celebration of the establishment of the Nanjing-Bay Area Innovation Center; a startup co-working space sponsored by the municipal government with consulting support from the Bay Area Council. The project provides a facility for startup companies from the Bay Area to accelerate their business in China and a venue for venture capital firms to track the progress of the innovation economy in the Nanjing. Oakland-based startup Labor-Link was the first to register after the formal opening and will receive support from the municipal government in growing their client base amongst the cities many electronics manufacturers. To engage in the Council’s China work, please contact Global Business Development Chief Del Christensen.


Council-MTC Study Finds 9.6 Million Ride Commuter Shuttles

Public and private shuttle services around the Bay Area carried more passengers in the 2014-15 fiscal year than all but six of the region’s public transit agencies, according to the 2016 Bay Area Shuttle Census released this month by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Bay Area Council. The census results follow the Council’s multi-year effort in leading a coalition of companies that operate shuttles to develop a pilot program in San Francisco to ensure their safe operation.

Produced through a year-long effort by the Council and MTC, the 2016 Shuttle Census marks the first comprehensive assessment of the region’s varied shuttle resources ever conducted; and includes three years (2012-14) of origin and destination information, as well as data on capacity, ridership, fleet size and service mileage reported by 35 shuttle sponsors and operators, including Apple, Google, Salesforce, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, and many others. During this time, the number of shuttle vehicles on Bay Area roadways jumped by more than 60 percent and ridership increased by 45 percent.

Regionwide, the number of shuttle vehicles grew to 765 in 2014 from 473 in 2012, with total daily capacity soaring to 34,000 from 18,000 and aggregate annual boardings rising to 9.6 million from 6.6 million. Silicon Valley has emerged as the heart of the Bay Area shuttle market; with the lion’s share of regional service linking Santa Clara County with San Francisco, Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties. To engage in the Council’s commuter shuttles work, please contact Policy Director Adrian Covert.

Read the complete 2016 Bay Area Shuttle Census>>


Member Spotlight: 49ers Foundation Makes Big Play to Help Community

The 49ers Foundation has a long history of generously supporting its community, particularly in the areas of STEM education programs and summer camps.  Most recently,  and 49ers CEO Jed York, who serves on the Bay Area Council Executive Committee, announced that the 49ers Foundation will contribute $1 million to the cause of improving racial and economic inequality and fostering communication and collaboration between law enforcement and the communities they serve here in the Bay Area.

Says York, “We are partnering with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation and the San Francisco Foundation in this effort. We have chosen to work with these two organizations because they have proven track records of affecting change in the face of challenging problems and have the collective reach to make the greatest impact. We are excited to work with these two renowned foundations over the coming months to develop a giving plan to help our community find unifying solutions to these pressing issues.”

This new commitment is designed to “get the focus where it belongs.”  Our hats are off to the 49ers Foundation.