Message from the Director

Employment in the “gig” economy is not a long-term solution. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) just released a report on the gig economy in which NOVA participated titled, “Workforce Training: DOL Can Better Share Information on Services for On-Demand, or Gig, Workers.” Jobs in the gig economy are growing with the increased popularity of on-demand transportation services through Uber and Lyft and task work through Taskrabbit, among others. While these jobs offer flexibility for those who are going to school or are just interested in supplementing their current income, they do not provide the income, benefits and growth opportunities that workers need to survive and thrive in Silicon Valley. Some of NOVA’s customers pursue jobs through the gig economy to help pay the bills while they search for employment in their careers. They view these jobs as a short-term stopgap measure, not a long-term solution to their unemployment. NOVA's workforce development resources are devoted to preparing workers for career opportunities with a future, not for jobs that will offer temporary income with limited prospects and few protections.

In this latest edition, you will read about NOVA’s successes and those of our community partners. Please share it with your colleagues and enjoy!

Warmest regards,



Kris Stadelman
NOVA Director

New NOVA Website Goes Live

NOVA has launched a new website that is more user-friendly and effectively showcases the services that NOVA provides and how customers can quickly access them. The website is based on extensive research and surveys to ensure that the features that customers have requested are incorporated into the design and that the overall experience is positive and capitalizes on the latest technology innovation. To view the site, please go to www.novaworks.org. NOVA encourages the community to provide input by clicking on Feedback at the top of the webpage.

NOVA Success Story: Roy Wells

As a past NOVA customer, Roy Wells knew where to start his job search when his employment ended. He came to the NOVA Job Center determined to thoroughly explore his career options. A veteran with many years of IT experience from both the military and private industry, Roy learned through interviewing that upgrading his skills would enhance his employment prospects. He decided to focus on building his project management skills and was able to take advantage of training funding through NOVA’s Ready to Work grant to attend UC Santa Cruz Extension and complete a Project Management certificate.

Roy excelled at his training but needed current work experience to add to his resume. NOVA’s Internship to Employment program provided the opportunity for him to work with the City of Sunnyvale’s IT department on its Smart Cities project. Roy completed his internship with flying colors: the City’s IT director commented, “Roy is absolutely amazing and we are thrilled with his level of detail, technical skills, and organizational skills.” Through his work on this project, Roy made contacts with other cities and will soon begin working with the City of Mountain View as a project analyst, focusing on assisting with their own Smart Cities project.

Roy says his NOVA experience has been top notch. He has even spoken with soldiers getting off active duty and told them to ask about NOVA once they get home. When asked for his advice to other job seekers, Roy stated, “It doesn’t matter how far you’ve got to travel, come in and work with the best – join both ProMatch and NOVA – their programs work! Take advantage of everything offered, because the contacts you make in the program will serve you well throughout your career.”

Internship to Employment Program

Do you have a need for short-term project assistance from an experienced, mid-career professional? NOVA's Internship to Employment program provides a low-cost way to meet your needs while offering a local job seeker the chance to gain additional skills and experience. As one employer recently stated, "The intern has done a great job for us and we have hired her as a permanent member of our team." For more information, click here for a flyer, and contact NOVA today to get started.

Software Quality Assurance (SQA) Panel

On November 8, NOVA hosted a panel discussion on the "Evolution of the SQA Role" for those exploring career options in engineering, software, IT, or DevOps (software development/operations), as well as for anyone interested in learning how to market themselves more effectively in Silicon Valley. Moderator Mikhail Portnov (Portnov Computer School) and panelist Amar Panchal (Akraya, Inc.) along with two representatives from the Santa Clara Adult Education High Tech Academy shared knowledge and tips on Bay Area hiring trends, what makes a successful candidate, and how to close the "skills gap." Over 90 job seekers attended the session held at the Sunnyvale Council Chambers and impressed the panelists with the quality of their participation and many thought-provoking questions.

Spotlight on NOVA Board Member Andy Switky of Code Name Collective

NOVA Workforce Board member Andy Switky is founder and CEO of Code Name Collective, a design consultancy based in Menlo Park. Code Name uses “design thinking” - a methodology with roots in engineering, design, and business - to help understand human needs and craft design responses to those needs. Most of Andy's work is in healthcare, with the majority of that work in poor and vulnerable populations.

Prior to starting Code Name in 2015 Andy spent 16 years at IDEO, where he held a variety of positions including leading IDEO’s health practice, founding IDEO Shanghai, and for many years leading IDEO’s manufacturing group. He stays close to his engineering and manufacturing roots teaching graduate-level courses in materials and manufacturing systems at Stanford University, often bringing his students out into the Bay Area’s vibrant manufacturing scene. States Andy, "A vibrant community of fabricators is critical to understanding how products and services get to market, and it is pivotal to the health of Silicon Valley’s uniquely innovative culture.”

Andy brings to the NOVA Board over twenty years of experience managing many types of programs, from traditional product development — consumer and medical products, furniture, high tech, and industrial products — to rethinking teaching and learning in pharmaceutical manufacturing. His contributions are invaluable to the Board as it explores creative approaches to designing a service-delivery system that best meets the needs of a changing workforce and economy that is unique to Silicon Valley. “There is a gap between the ever-increasing rates of change in industry - which requires different types of work - and the preparation for change we give to workers. We need to better align local businesses, training, and talent. I grew up on the Peninsula, went to Stanford, and have lived here ever since. I’ve thought and acted globally, and now it’s time to act locally,” stated Mr. Switky.

Code Name Collective is comprised of leading design thinkers who are helping innovate industries that influence our daily lives. Customers include small and large companies, organizations and government agencies across the United States and abroad. Organizational design and change, supply chain strategy, business strategy, and brand building are all considered to ensure that the work has impact and is successful.

Holiday Job Fair

On October 6, NOVA hosted its fourth annual Holiday Job Fair at the Sunnyvale Community Center. This is an opportunity for job seekers to obtain temporary work during the holiday season to help with expenses while they look for more permanent employment in their careers. It is also an opportunity for employers to secure additional staff to address the expected uptick in business during the holiday rush. This year over 30 employers participated offering a wide range of opportunities to the more than 125 job seekers who attended. At least 22 employers reported that they hope to hire candidates from this impressive pool, with comments including: “We were able to find solid candidates for some positions that can otherwise be difficult to fill.” and “I love being a part of this job fair — the Sunnyvale community is awesome.” Job seeker comments included: “Good representation of employers in the area.” and “Great to be able to meet & speak with employers.”

LinkedIn Event for Mature Workers

Last year, NOVA began partnering with the Peninsula Family Service in San Mateo on a new Mature Worker Program, funded by the County of Santa Clara and spearheaded by Supervisor Joe Simitian, which is customized to the needs of mature workers who often experience barriers to reemployment. LinkedIn has also partnered with NOVA over the past few years hosting events for young people at its campus in Sunnyvale, providing experiential exercises to prepare youth for future careers. On October 20, LinkedIn hosted an event for 25 customers from the Mature Worker Program. Customers heard presentations on in-demand skills and trends and accessing careers in technology that concluded with a mentoring exercise with LinkedIn professionals. The participants were selected out of 50 interested job seekers from the Mature Worker Program, who were asked to submit essays on how this event would benefit his/her current job search and career goals. The event was a tremendous success, with one participant commenting, "I wanted to send a big THANK YOU to you and the team at NOVA for the opportunity to visit with LinkedIn today. It was very informative, but more importantly, very motivating. I left the building energized and excited about continuing to explore full-time opportunities."

In the Community

Congresswoman Speier Showcases Local Workforce Initiatives

On August 28, Congresswoman Jackie Speier held a press conference to showcase local efforts to assist Bay Area job seekers obtain good jobs with good wages. The press conference was held at the College of San Mateo and featured NOVA’s partners in the new digital advertising and DevOps programs that included the College of San Mateo and Open Access, a successful graduate from the digital advertising program (pictured) who is now employed in the field, and a successful graduate from the Autism Advantage program, a partnership with Expandability Powered by Goodwill of Silicon Valley and entrepreneurs from BuzzHero. In addition, Ten-X and the San Mateo County Economic Development Association participated who are providing leadership on NOVA’s Slingshot technology initiative. For more information, please view the press release or a video of the press conference.

Forum on Skills, Technology and Lifelong Learning

On October 13, NOVA Director Kris Stadelman participated in an invitation-only forum in Boston on skills, technology and lifelong learning, hosted by Google, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Initiative on the Digital Economy, and the National Association of Workforce Boards. The event was limited to an intimate gathering of 50 participants representing a cross-section of Google foundation staff, MIT initiative researchers and just eight directors from local workforce development boards across the country. The goals of this forum were to highlight promising approaches to lifelong learning and skill building; identify challenges to accomplishing the work; and foster collaborative projects to address these challenges.

NOVA Hosts Visit from Google

In June, NOVA was awarded a Google.org grant to prepare low-income youth for careers in the innovation economy, in partnership with Oakland-based Hack the Hood; Virgil, a developer of a virtual assessment tool and navigational solution; and the Economic Advancement Research Institute. On September 27, Google staff visited NOVA to take photos of its customers and programs for their library archives that they will use for future events and materials. As a result of this new grant, NOVA has become a partner and potential resource for Google to tap for future opportunities. Google has also assigned NOVA an ambassador who will work with NOVA on this grant going forward.

Legislative Updates

Wrap-up of State Legislative Session

The California Workforce Association is a membership organization representing 46 local workforce development boards across the state. Through its lobbyist, Rose & Kindel, it has been tracking legislation over the past year that may impact the local workforce development community and its customers and partners. With the close of the legislative session, here are some highlights:

AB 1111 (E. Garcia)

Removing Barriers to Employment Act: Initiative: Enacts the Removing Barriers to Employment Act that would require the State Board and EDD to create a grant program to provide funds to local workforce boards and community-based organizations to assist individuals who have multiple barriers to employment receive the remedial education and work readiness skills necessary to successfully participate in training, apprenticeships or employment opportunities leading to self-sufficiency and economic stability. Status: Chaptered

AB 1149 (Arambula)

Workforce Investment Boards: Funding: Expands the types of services to which leveraged funds may be applied for federally identified workforce training programs (SB 734) to include support services and would expand the types of leveraged funds that may be applied to the 10% credit for services described above to include specified federal, state and private funds. Status: Chaptered

AB 868 (Berman)

Private postsecondary education: community-based organizations: Bill would additionally exempt from the California Private Postsecondary Education Act an institution owned, controlled, operated and maintained by a community-based organization, as defined under a specified provision of federal law that meets specified conditions, including having programs on the Eligible Training Provider List that is established and maintained by the State Board. Status: Chaptered

AB 1336 (Mullin)

California Workforce Development Board: Requires the California Workforce Development Board to develop a dashboard for the workforce development system, examining labor market data to assess programmatic impacts. Status: Chaptered

AB 1376 (Caballero)

Apprenticeships: pre-apprenticeship programs for women: Promotes women entering non-traditional apprenticeship programs, particularly in construction trades, with grant funding for existing programs, placement and supportive services. Status: Failed-Adjourned

SB 1 (Beall)

Transportation Funding: Comprehensive infrastructure investment that creates the Road Maintenance and Rehabilitation Program to address deferred maintenance on the state highway system and the local street and road system. Bill will devote $25 million over five years to workforce development efforts to prepare workers for infrastructure projects, with the State Board charged with distribution and implementation. Status: Chaptered

SB 769 (Hill)

Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program: Bill would extend the operation of the statewide baccalaureate degree pilot program until 2028 and would extend the time by which a student participating in the pilot program is required to complete the higher degree. A maximum of 15 community college districts, with one baccalaureate degree program each, will be determined by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s office. Status: Held in Assembly Appropriations Committee

Federal Updates

Federal Funding

In September, Congress passed a three-month Continuing Resolution, raised the debt ceiling and approved a $15.2 billion spending package for hurricane relief. It will be important for Congress to pass a bipartisan spending plan before the December 8 deadline to avoid a government shutdown that fully funds critical workforce development programs at Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act levels and provides sequestration relief.

S. 1251 (Sen. Warner and Rep. DelBene)

Portable Benefits for Independent Workers Pilot Program Act: Bill would assist on-demand and other non-traditional workers without traditional benefits (e.g. gig economy for independent contractors) by setting aside $20 million in funding for the U.S. Department of Labor to incentivize states, localities and nonprofit organizations to test and evaluate innovative portable benefit designs, which workers could take with them from job to job. Status: referred to Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions