Youth Employment Program Pilot Gives Contra Costa County Youth Valuable Skills-Building Opportunities
CCWORKS’ first-ever such program, the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) Pilot included four students who participated across county district offices, which included the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County (WDBCCC) and two Employment & Human Services offices in Antioch and Richmond. The youth participants were 16- and 17-year-old students from Contra Costa County.
Stephen Baiter, executive director of the East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EDA), sees leisure and hospitality and retail trade gains leveling off after explosive growth. However, he views manufacturing as an exceptionally hot spot with a promising future for the East Bay. “Manufacturing has been strong in the East Bay for a while now,” Baiter said. “This is due not only to Tesla’s strong production growth and corresponding spillover effects for local suppliers, but this also extends to the biomedical, medical devices and computer equipment subsectors.”
September is Workforce Development Month, a time to raise awareness about the importance of workforce development boards (WDB) to a growing national economy. A key person in this work statewide is Bob Lanter, executive director of the California Workforce Association. A Contra Costa County native and former director of the WDB of Contra Costa County (WDBCCC), Bob recently returned to his roots to attend our board retreat. We asked him for his take on the importance of WDBs and how the WDBCCC is living up to its mission of achieving equity for all.
In this article, we explore Contra Costa County employers’ difficulties finding employees with hard skills and soft skills. For reference, hard skills are defined as specific knowledge and abilities required to complete a job, such as a language proficiency, computer programming, or typing speed. Soft skills, also known as “people skills,” are related to personal interactions such as communication, organization, and teamwork.
Our last article covered the employment phenomenon known as “The Great Resignation” or “The Big Quit.” To gain insights, we conducted an employer survey from January 31 through April 15. More than 100 businesses in Contra Costa and surrounding counties responded, revealing quite a bit.
Whether you call it the “Great Resignation” or the “Big Quit,” American workers are leaving their jobs in record numbers. In November 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a record-setting 4.5 million employees nationwide quit their jobs, following several months of similar highs. In the same month, 428,000 California workers voluntarily separated.
Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a village to build and rebuild a local economy while ensuring equity and justice in the process. No single organization can do it alone. Fortunately, Contra Costa County has many organizations doing outstanding work, and we at the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County are proud to partner with them. As we close 2021, we want to shine a light on our partners and thank them for joining us as we work to achieve equitable economic growth in our communities.
Optical Assistant Training Program Leads to Good-Paying Job, Helps Fill Optician Needs in Contra Costa County
The Optical Assistant Training Program at Martinez Adult Education is a no-cost 16-week program that trains students for entry-level jobs as optical assistants at Walmart, Costco, Warby Parker and other opticians. Because the program allows students to work while they learn it has drawn great interest from prospective students. It’s attractive to employers because of the steady pipeline of qualified workers it provides.
The Health Ambassador Adult Pilot Program, which launched January 2021 through a partnership between the WDBCCC, Contra Costa County Employment and Human Services and Contra Costa Health Services, strives to get vulnerable populations to work performing critical community services, while building the skills and experience necessary to gain entry to the health field, which is one of WDB’s priority sectors.
The AMBayArea Manufacturing Ambassadors Program sends ambassadors from manufacturing companies into high schools, including those in school districts with large numbers of underrepresented and diverse populations. This is important for the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County (WDBCCC) as we focus on achieving equity in the Contra Costa workforce. Learn about this program and how it helps employers and students.
When we think about an equitable economic recovery, we envision a workforce system that benefits all individuals, especially those who face the greatest barriers to creating the future they want for themselves. That includes justice-involved individuals.
Over the past year, our work has become even more focused as increased awareness of racial equity and justice issues throughout the country raised the importance of addressing related challenges within the workforce system.