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In the Community

The Gig Economy  

  • Research Project: On July 20, NOVA hosted a visit from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), who is conducting research on the new Gig economy and its impact on workers, employers and the economy. The Gig economy refers to the growing trend in short-term contract work or "gigs" such as those offered by Uber or TaskRabbit. This research is being conducted at the request of U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), who has been an active voice on the Gig economy to ensure that both employers and workers are benefiting and that workers are adequately protected. NOVA identified several customers who have participated in the Gig economy to help pay the bills while they search for more permanent employment. The GAO’s staff interviewed these customers about their experiences with this type of work. As part of this research, the GAO will also be interviewing workers in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and possibly San Diego. A report is expected to be released on its findings in the near future.

  • DOL Convening: On July 21, the regional office of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) hosted a visit from DOL Assistant Secretary for Employment & Training Portia Wu and invited select representatives of the local workforce boards, including NOVA Director Kris Stadelman, to participate. The morning session entailed a meeting about the changing technology sector and the talent pipeline needed for employers. Then, in the afternoon, guests participated in a discussion on the Gig economy with special guest Wingham Rowan of Beyond Jobs. The visit was both stimulating and thought-provoking.

Visits with Chambers of Commerce

On June 30 and July 7, respectively, NOVA hosted visits from the Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce CEO Don Eagleston and new Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce CEO Christopher Horton. In addition, on July 18, NOVA visited with San Mateo Chamber of Commerce CEO Cheryl Angeles and economic development staff Kathy Kleinbaum. The intent of these visits is to introduce chamber partners to the NOVA service system and identify opportunities for the NOVA Employer Services team to assist them and their membership of small businesses with recruitment of a qualified workforce to address their talent needs and to identify future business collaborations. The Employer Services team assists businesses seeking to hire workers with a qualified pool of candidates from NOVA's job seeker customers. In addition, the team supports companies experiencing layoffs with rapid response assistance for their impacted workforce. Last year, the NOVA workforce system served 488 businesses, with nearly 200 businesses served in San Mateo County. For more information, please visit the NOVA website.

Volunteer Resource Fair

On April 22, NOVA hosted its 7th annual Volunteer Resource Fair at the Sunnyvale Community Center. The purpose of this fair is to provide opportunities for job seekers to volunteer in the community while they are looking for employment that will offer them meaningful work, introduce them to an industry they may wish to pursue as a career, and achieve real-world projects that they can add to their portfolio. Organizations also benefit from this event where they can recruit volunteers from a pool of high-caliber candidates. This year, 44 NOVA customers and 45 community members who were not customers (including 28 youth) were in attendance, with 19 exhibitors offering a wide variety of volunteer opportunities. NOVA would like to thank all of the participating community organizations for their generosity.

San Mateo County 2016 Progress Seminar

On April 9/10, NOVA Director Kris Stadelman had the pleasure of attending the 47th annual Progress Summit in Monterey, organized by the Redwood City-San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce, with co-chairs California State Assemblymember Kevin Mullin, San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President Carole Groom and San Mateo County Economic Development Association President & CEO Rosanne Foust. This conference represents the signature event for San Mateo County leaders and a chance to come together and discuss the opportunities and challenges facing San Mateo County and seek avenues for collaboration on regional solutions. This year’s event included state and local elected officials and representatives from government, business, education and community-based organizations. With San Mateo County newly joining the NOVA consortium, this was a great forum to meet with the many individuals NOVA is interested in forming new partnerships with in San Mateo County and to reconnect with current partners NOVA has been working with over the past year. The two-day event also included workshops on housing, transportation, technology and connectivity, youth engagement, and economic development. Overall, it was a very worthwhile and informative event.

ASU+GSV Summit

On April 18/19, NOVA Director Kris Stadelman was invited to present at the annual ASU+GSV Summit in San Diego for education technology leaders, convened by Arizona State University (ASU) and GSV Capital. This is the first year that local workforce boards were invited. This sold-out conference has become the go-to event for investors, entrepreneurs, educators, and companies interested in learning about the next big thing in education technology. This year’s event featured keynote speakers that included Bill Gates, Dr. Condoleeza Rice and Sal Khan and a variety of exciting workshops. The director presented at a workshop titled, “Employment Tech for All — A Conversation between Tech CEOs and Workforce Development Leaders.” This event was truly an inspirational experience.

Sunnyvale Hosts Job Shadow Day

Job Shadow Day is a national initiative that was launched in 1998 as part of “America’s Promise.” The intent of this initiative is to bring students into the workplace and provide them with the opportunity to experience the work world firsthand and make that connection between school and career. Students engage in early career exploration that leads to better informed choices by “shadowing” employees in the workplace and employers have the opportunity to present career options to potential future employees.  For many years, NOVA, in collaboration with the City of Sunnyvale, has hosted a Job Shadow Day for this community’s disadvantaged youth. This year, Job Shadow Day was held on April 6. Twenty juniors and seniors participated from Fremont High School’s Academic Foundations class, an afterschool program for underserved students that provides customized tutoring and training in life skills that will lead to graduation, higher education and career success.

The day began with a special orientation session that was held in the Sunnyvale City Council Chambers. Sunnyvale Mayor Glenn Hendricks and City Manager Deanna Santana welcomed participants and shared their career paths, with speakers from several City departments highlighting the diverse careers that are available in government. Following the orientation, participants proceeded to their job shadow sites hosted by City departments. Students had been asked about their career interests in advance and were placed at sites that match these interests. From the feedback received from participants, this year’s Job Shadow Day was another big success.