Q&A WITH BOARD MEMBER JOSHUA ANIJAR
Joshua Anijar joined the WDB in 2019 and serves on the Executive Committee.
Q: What is your profession, and how does it intersect with workforce development?
A: I proudly serve as the executive director of the Contra Costa Labor Council, AFL-CIO, a local federation of 85 unions representing the voices of over 85,000 working families in the county. We partner with the WDBCCC to make sure union workers who know their industries have a seat at the table to make sure other workers have the tools and training needed for future careers in an ever-changing environment. The WDBCCC gives us the ability to partner with other leaders on worker-centered, industry-led and community-focused approaches for our County.
Q: Why do you choose to serve on the WDBCCC?
A: The Labor Council represents workers in all the major industries in Contra Costa, and their voices need to be heard to ensure working people are treated fairly, have access to education, good wages, health care, and workplace safety. This partnership helps us achieve these goals. In addition, the board helps connect resources to our members, when needed, for rapid response around layoffs and access to public funding for training and finding ways to help our workers compete in a changing world economy.
Q: What aspects of your board service are you most passionate about?
A: To me, it gives Labor an opportunity to showcase how our apprenticeship programs are a gateway into the middle class and change lives. I find the collaboration exciting, connecting with organizations and people whom I normally would not get the opportunity to partner with on training programs, based on Contra Costa’s unique industrial demands. Contra Costa is still growing new communities and economic industries. However, these new economic engines have to be built, operated and maintained with careers for local working families.
Q: How do you see the WDB assisting in Contra Costa’s economic recovery from the pandemic?
A: COVID-19 did not create systemic problems in our economy, but it did highlight severe inequalities that have been ignored by too many for far too long. Throughout the pandemic, working people lost so much while a select few saw record profits. This broken system must change, we need good jobs and a strong investment in our workforce and infrastructure. Essential workers don’t only deserve our thanks but our commitment that we will not relive the mistakes of our past. Working families deserve our respect and safety on the job; investments in their health and well-being; and a commitment of real economic security. As we emerge out of the COVID-19 crisis, we need to empower workers by expanding our commitment to economic, social and racial justice while engaging young workers and future workforces for the jobs of tomorrow.