Taking Action to Address Workforce Needs
The Bay Area Council recently hosted Van Ton-Quinlivan (Vice Chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development, California Community Colleges) and Jim Mayer (Executive Director, California Forward), as well as numerous Bay Area business and civic leaders, for an engaging discussion on the allocation of $41.6 million to Bay Area community colleges in support of the Strong Workforce Program. Ton-Quinlivan highlighted the importance of business and civic input regarding the use of the funds, stating that industry feedback is critical to informing community college actions. Recommendations provided by attendees included investing in community college curriculum and instructor preparation, and developing clear career pathways in partnership with business that would then be shared with students. “If you want a talent pool instead of a talent puddle, now is the time to shape how public dollars are invested,” Ton-Quinlivan said. “We want the career technical education (CTE) graduates of our community colleges to be equipped with both the soft and hard skills you need for a strong workforce.”
During the meeting, Rock Pfontenhauer of the Bay Area Community College Consortium (BACCC) also described efforts being undertaken by BACCC and the Bay Area Council in relation to Occupational Councils. These Occupational Councils convene occupation by occupation, with the goal of examining and adjusting curriculum to fit job requirements, establishing career pathways into middle-skill jobs, and aligning the region’s 28 community colleges, 16 adult education consortia, and 14 workforce development boards with industry needs.
Participants also explored the complex relationship between employers, community colleges, and other workforce training organizations in the Bay Area region. Many in the room detailed the hiring needs of their respective constituents, and proposed various ways to specifically tap into underserved, low-income, and minority populations to meet hiring needs for well-paying but hard to fill middle-skills jobs. To engage in the Council’s workforce policy, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.