Message from the Director

It takes more than jobs to employ workers. The debate that is taking place in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. is about jobs; the more jobs we have the better off workers and the economy will be. Unfortunately, jobs are not enough. In this community with a robust job market, unemployed workers continue to struggle to find employment. The issue is not about jobs, but rather the skill gap between what employers require and workers possess. The solution to getting workers back to work is not job creation but rather investing in workforce development to retrain workers for the right skills in the innovation economy. For many years, the local workforce development system has faced a significant decline in federal funding through the Workforce Investment Act and now the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. There is a disconnect between the demand for a skilled workforce and the funding necessary to train workers. When Congress reconvenes in September, I hope that consideration will be given to tackling the core issue and that is training workers for the many jobs that employers are desperate to fill.

In this latest edition, you can read more what NOVA and the community are doing to get people back to work and employers the talent they need to succeed. Please share it with your colleagues and enjoy!

Warmest regards,

Kris Stadelman
NOVA Director

Innovative Career Pipeline Initiative

NOVA, through its foundation, was awarded a $250,000 grant in June from This by-invitation-only grant opportunity will build dedicated pathways for up to 60 low- income youth and young adults to careers in the Silicon Valley innovation economy. The project is a collaborative partnership with Hack the Hood, an Oakland-based nonprofit connecting youth to technology careers; Virgil, a developer of a virtual assessment tool and navigational solution; and Economic Advancement Research Institute, a Massachusetts nonprofit that promotes economic opportunity and career mobility. This initiative will complement and leverage NOVA's other tech initiatives including Slingshot and its partnership with the Boston workforce development community that is promoting a "tech talent exchange." For more information, please refer to the press release and the June 13 article in the San Jose Mercury News.

Transportation Partnership Promotes Clean Energy

Prospect Silicon Valley, a San Jose-based incubator of emerging clean tech transportation companies, was awarded a $2 million grant from the California Energy Commission to research, develop and demonstrate an advanced energy management and grid services system for electric transit bus fleets that is expected to reduce costs for charging electric buses. NOVA is a workforce partner in this initiative receiving a $50,000 grant, and will be joined by the Valley Transportation Authority and Cisco Systems, among others. Prospect Silicon Valley has been a longstanding partner with NOVA on the Advanced Transportation Opportunity Initiative.

Silicon Valley Slingshot Launches Pilots

NOVA is taking the lead, on behalf of the three workforce boards in the region, on the development of a local SlingShot initiative that is part of a multi-year statewide initiative to increase regional economic prosperity and improve income mobility. The Silicon Valley SlingShot initiative has convened industry leaders in the region to form a compact to engage other industry partners and key stakeholders in the design and implementation of a plan to address talent acquisition and retention challenges for occupations requiring technology skills. On March 28, the State approved the local SlingShot compact and has awarded NOVA a $900,000 grant to advance to the next phase of this initiative and that is the launch of two pilot projects in San Mateo County: an advanced digital advertising training program for incumbent workers in collaboration with the Interactive Advertising Bureau and San Mateo County Community College District, and a DevOps training program, in collaboration with Open Access, CollabNet and Kapor Center for Social Impact, targeting the in-demand career synthesis of software development, quality assurance and IT operations. Hack the Hood will be partnering on both projects.

A Year in Review: Customer Demand Continues

Even in a successful job market such as Silicon Valley, the high demand for NOVA services from job seekers continues to be robust due to the churn common in a technology-driven economy. This past year, NOVA saw only a slight decline in the total number of customers served at the NOVA Job Center in Sunnyvale, but an increase in some of the services requested. The chart, below, shows the service statistics for the last fiscal year, July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, and a comparison with the previous year.
NOVA Job Center Total FY 2015/16 Total FY 2016/17
# New Customers 3,368 3,280
# Customer Visits (1/day) 41,707 38,241
# Unique Customers 4,345 4,193
# Total Services Provided: 54,984 48.538
# Career Advising Appointments 8,521 7,822
# Workshop Participants 7,181 8,388
# Computer & Professional Effectiveness Class Attendees 1,154 982
# ProMatch Visits/Services 16,122 12,531
Average # of client visits/day 166 157

Customer Satisfaction Survey

Throughout the year, NOVA surveys customers regarding their level of satisfaction with the services they receive. The fiscal year-end results of NOVA’s customer satisfaction survey for the NOVA Job Center in Sunnyvale are as follows:
  • 97% were satisfied with the quality of the customer service they received (unchanged from last survey);
  • 90% were satisfied with the availability/accessibility of career advisor appointments (up from 89% from last survey);
  • 92% were satisfied with how often the career advisor listened and understood (up from 89% from last survey);
  • 89% were satisfied with how often the career advisor customized information to the customer’s situation (up from 81% from last survey);
  • 92% were satisfied with how often the career advisor explained information in a way that the customer understood (up from 90% from last survey);
  • 96% were satisfied with the overall quality of offerings provided at the NOVA Job Center (unchanged from last survey);
  • 98% would recommend the NOVA Job Center to their family and friend (unchanged from last survey)
Highlights of some of the comments received included:
  • Believe me, it’s an easy time to be a critic, but I have nothing but positive things to say about Nova’s staff.
  • Nova has a wonderful staff, they are always very friendly and eager to help!
  • I recommend Nova all the time! So many people have been impacted by the economic/job change…and so many people need help! Thank you for being there! We all thank you!
  • Satisfied isn’t good enough. They are excellent. They are always patient and kind.
  • Whether by phone or in person, I’m thankful that they are there to help me when I need it.
  • Front desk staff is ALWAYS cheerful and helpful, should bottle and sell their solution!
  • Great help. Without Nova advisers I do not believe landing a job would be possible…
As with all of the customer satisfaction surveys, NOVA will be taking the feedback received and continue to improve upon the services it provides to its customers.

NOVA Success Story: Colin O'Connor

NOVA customer, Colin O’Connor, describes his success story in his own words:

I’ve been working in healthcare and project management for many years, but when my last position ended in November, I realized I needed help to focus my job search and develop some new skills. I learned about the NOVA Job Center in San Mateo and started taking classes there, including résumé and LinkedIn workshops.

The team in San Mateo was great, but I wanted to do something with more involvement. A friend of mine recommended ProMatch. I came to orientation, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Connie encouraged me to join and get help exploring. I needed to take the time to assess my skills and future direction and ProMatch helped me to do that.

I can’t say enough about ProMatch. It’s the whole package – I’ve taken classes and workshops but ProMatch puts it all together for job seekers. It gets you out of the house away from the computer so you’re not just blasting resumes off into the internet. The whole community has been amazing. ProMatch helped to build my self-confidence and determine my value and worth. It’s such a supportive environment, where you’re not afraid to fail or make a mistake but rather to take a leap of faith and try.

I credit NOVA and ProMatch with helping me to be prepared and focused, so that when an opportunity came up to interview at UCSF Medical Center, I was ready to take action. I start my new position as a Lead Project Analyst next week! My advice for other job seekers? Practice your PSRs [Problem-Solutions-Results] (the best thing I learned), and also get yourself out the door - go to events and talk to people. You never know when the right opportunity will come along.

NOVA Co-Sponsors Job Fair

In the spring, NOVA co-sponsored the Nonprofit & Public Service Job & Internship Fair in collaboration with the San Jose State University (SJSU) Career Center. The event was held at the SJSU Student Union with the goal to support careers in the nonprofit and government sectors. Thirty employers participated representing a broad cross section of these sectors, including the California Employment Development Department, the counties of San Mateo and Santa Clara-VTA, the cities of Fremont, San Jose, Santa Clara and Salinas, Bill Wilson Center, Committee for Green Foothills, Music for Minors, and YMCA of Silicon Valley, among many others. The organizations offered volunteer, internship, full-time and part-time opportunities to over two hundred NOVA job seekers and SJSU students and alumni who attended the event.

NOVA Employer Services Responds to Business Needs

NOVA Employer Services provides a wide range of services to assist businesses with their workforce development needs that include finding the right talent to address identified skill gaps and working with companies undergoing layoffs, referred to as rapid response. This past year, the Silicon Valley economy experienced great churn, with new innovation replacing obsolete industries, which was seen in the number of layoffs that occurred locally, despite the decline in the region's unemployment rate. Last year, the NOVA Employer Services team responded to 96 layoff announcements (up from 78 in 2015/16) affecting 58 companies (up from 50 in 2015/16) and 6,584 individuals (up from 5,967 in 2015/16). This is not surprising given the fact that last year NOVA was ranked first in the state for both the number of layoff notices and the number of individuals affected by layoffs.

Flood Relief for San Mateo County

NOVA has been awarded a $1 million 2017 Southern Storm National Dislocated Worker Grant from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This funding will be used to address flood damage in San Mateo County, as a result of the heavy storms experienced in January. Funding for this project will go toward providing up to 55 job seekers to work on flood-related projects identified by the County of San Mateo. The period of service is April 1, 2017 through September 30, 2018. This grant was one of a series of DOL grants that were awarded to the State after the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared disasters in seven counties across California.

LinkedIn Grant Award for NOVA

In June, LinkedIn awarded NOVA a grant to support the NOVA youth program. This award represents one of several grants that LinkedIn has awarded NOVA over the past several years to prepare youth in this community for careers in a technology-driven economy. LinkedIn has been actively engaged with the NOVA youth program hosting a variety of events for youth at its Sunnyvale campus. NOVA is deeply grateful for LinkedIn's generosity and unwavering commitment to our community's youth.

In the Community

NOVA Hosts Congressman Ro Khanna

On August 24, NOVA hosted a visit from Congressman Ro Khanna. The visit was an opportunity to showcase NOVA's contributions to the community assisting residents return to work and providing employers with the skills necessary to compete in today's highly competitive marketplace. The visit included a meeting with NOVA Director Kris Stadelman and members of the NOVA Workforce Board, followed by participation in the weekly convening of ProMatch that serves dislocated workers from the professional fields, and concluded with a tour of the NOVA Job Center in Sunnyvale. NOVA would like to thank Congressman Khanna for visiting NOVA and meeting with NOVA staff and customers.

U.S. Senator Feinstein’s Staff Visits NOVA

On August 15, NOVA hosted a visit from Congressional staff from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office. The purpose of this visit was to provide important information about the skill needs of employers in Silicon Valley to ensure that businesses have the right talent to succeed locally and compete globally. This will require an investment in workforce development in order to prepare workers for future demand-driven jobs, rather than the decline in federal funding that has occurred over the past several years. As part of the visit, NOVA hosted several roundtable discussions with an employer group, customer group and members of the NOVA Workforce Board. The visit also included a tour of the NOVA Job Center in Sunnyvale. NOVA would like to thank Senator Feinstein’s staff for visiting NOVA and meeting with NOVA staff and community stakeholders.

NOVA Director Named to NPower Regional Board

NPower, a national nonprofit providing free technology training and job placement assistance, invited NOVA Director Kris Stadelman to join the regional advisory board for NPower California (NPower CA). NPower CA has offices in San Mateo and Alameda and will serve military veterans and their spouses. For more information, please review the press release.

Mountain View Technology Showcase

On July 12, the NOVA Employer Services team participated in the third annual Technology Showcase, hosted by the City of Mountain View and Mountain View Chamber of Commerce and funded by Google, LinkedIn, Intuit and Yamaha Motors Venture. The purpose of this event is to bring together innovators from the local community to exhibit the latest technology. NOVA was invited to exhibit and was joined by: Google’s Virtual Reality Day Dream system, NASA’s business units in supercomputer simulations, drone, Human Map and others, Hoverboard Technologies, Mobile Art Academy, Library technology, Police Command Vehicle, and many more. NOVA provided information about its business and job seeker services to community residents who were seeking employment assistance.

Silicon Valley Workforce and Trade Forum

On May 16, the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) convened a forum about the trends and pressing issues with workforce and trade in the high-tech sector. The event was held at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and was attended by a broad range of representatives from Silicon Valley employers, workforce and economic developers, academia, and governmental and nonprofit agencies. As part of the presentations, NOVA Workforce Board Co-chair Chris Galy of Ten-X presented on the industry sectors and workforce trends in this region and the issues facing workers and employers. In the future, the BLS is hoping for greater participation from the tech sector in future employer surveys that are used to capture the current and projected employment picture.

2017 San Mateo County Progress Seminar

On April 21-23, San Mateo County held its 48th annual Progress Seminar, a convening to identify and tackle the most pressing regional issues facing this community. This conference is considered the premiere event for the county’s community leaders representing business, education, government and community-based organizations. With the addition of San Mateo County to the NOVA consortium, this is the second year that NOVA has participated in this event that provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with current partners and forge new relationships in this area. Rosanne Foust of the San Mateo County Economic Development Association (SAMCEDA) and NOVA Workforce Board member, California State Assembly Member Kevin Mullin and San Mateo County Board of Supervisor Carole Groom were Progress Seminar co-chairs. The focus of this year’s breakout sessions was on housing, transportation/traffic congestion, big data, and the new cannabis cash crop. Overall, the event was another tremendous success!

Milken Institute Global Conference

In April, NOVA Director Kris Stadelman was invited to attend the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles. This annual event convenes “the best minds in the world to tackle the most stubborn challenges” and this year the theme was on building meaningful lives. The director participated on a panel titled, “Not Working: Solutions to America’s Underemployment Crisis” that was moderated by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times and included panelists: Rev. Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries, Alan Krueger of Princeton University, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr., and Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Other guest presenters at the conference included: former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Joe Biden, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, David Solomon of Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, John Chambers of Cisco Systems, and Eric Schmidt of Alphabet, among many others.

Leadership Sunnyvale Presentation

On April 21, NOVA Director Kris Stadelman was invited to present to Leadership Sunnyvale, as part of the Civic Affairs Seminar. This was an opportunity to educate upcoming community leaders in Sunnyvale about the economic and workforce trends impacting the region and the workforce development services that NOVA provides to local residents and employers that support the Valley’s quality of life.

Boston Hosts NOVA

On March 1, NOVA Director Kris Stadelman was invited to present at a forum that was hosted by the Boston, MA workforce development and philanthropic communities. This was the second of three forums convened to: 1) sustain community-wide engagement on IT/tech workforce challenges; 2) inspire ideas for a local response to issues identified; and 3) showcase local innovators and learn from exemplar practices in other cities. Over 150 participants attended this forum, with representatives from education, workforce development agencies, philanthropy, and the tech industry. The director presented on a panel that included: moderator Phil Jordan of Economic Advancement Research Institute, with whom NOVA has worked on several industry research projects; Tess Posner of Opportunity@Work; David Delmar of Resilient Coders; and Ronald Mitchell of Virgil, Inc., with whom NOVA is partnering on a career mapping assessment tool with Upwardly Global and on the new grant. NOVA is currently collaborating with the Boston workforce development community to explore piloting a tech talent exchange (TTX), a public-private partnership that will serve as a talent hub, training center and technology-recruiting venue for regional job seekers pursuing tech careers.

Legislative Updates

GI Expansion Bill

On August 16, President Trump signed H.R. 3218 - the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 that would provide a $3 billion expansion of veterans' education benefits. The bill would increase education benefits, remove the 15-year limit on when recipients must use their benefits for new enlistees, and provide support for veterans enrolled in non-traditional education programs such as coding boot camps. The bill would also restore funding for veterans impacted by the collapse of several training schools. The Vet-Tec Act, sponsored by Congressman Khanna, is part of the legislative package and would implement a new pilot program to test how the GI Bill can help veterans learn job skills for the tech economy. This bill will have a tremendous impact on veterans seeking to gain access to jobs in the growing technology industry.

Senate Confirms Labor Secretary Nominee Acosta

On April 27, the Senate confirmed Labor Secretary Nominee Alexander Acosta. Secretary Acosta begins his tenure in a tense climate outside the Labor Department among workers across the country and within the Labor Department with future actions expected on former President Obama’s executive orders on overtime rules, wages and the fiduciary rule. While Secretary Acosta is seen as a better alternative to President Trump’s first choice for Labor Secretary, Andrew Puzder, who withdrew his name amidst controversy, concerns have been expressed regarding Secretary Acosta’s commitment to defend workers on issues that may conflict with the White House administration.

Congress Passes Temporary Spending Plan in May

On May 5, President Trump signed a nearly $1.2 trillion spending plan that funds government through the end of the fiscal year (September 30). The spending plan includes a $15 billion increase in funding for defense and a $1.5 billion increase for border security that does not include funding for building a wall, with corresponding cuts to non-defense discretionary programs including the Department of Labor. The plan calls for a $83 million cut to the Department of Labor below the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and rescinds $75 million from the Employment and Training Administration; however, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act formula funding for adults, dislocated workers and youth will remain at fiscal year 2016 spending levels. The approved spending plan was passed by the deadline, thereby averting a government shutdown. When Congress returns in September after the August recess, it will be deliberating over a new spending plan and raising the debt ceiling. There is significant concern that workforce development funding will face draconian cuts further exacerbating the erosion of workforce funding experienced by local workforce boards for many years. Local workforce development programs need more funding not less in order to provide employers with the talent they need to succeed and prepare workers for jobs in demand-driven industries.

President’s Budget Released

On May 23, the White House released President Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. The $4.1 trillion budget mirrors the President’s previous “Skinny” budget outline that calls for a 10 percent increase in military spending, $1.6 billion allocated for the creation of a border wall, cuts to the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent and the elimination of the estate tax, with corresponding cuts to domestic programs to pay for this totaling $3.6 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years. The Labor department would receive a $2.5 billion cut or a 21 percent reduction, with significant cuts to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)-funded programs which includes a $1.3 billion cut to the WIOA formula-funded grants that represents a nearly 40 percent reduction from current funding levels. This would be devastating to state and local workforce development boards. The budget also eliminates the Senior Community Service Employment Program and the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker training program.

Executive Order on Apprenticeships

On June 15, as part of “Workforce Development Week”, President Trump issued an Executive Order that would eliminate government oversight of apprenticeship grants, providing third-party entities with much more control over establishing apprenticeship standards raising concerns about sufficient accountability. At the same time, federal agencies were asked to review and eliminate job-training programs that are viewed as ineffective. The Department of Labor is expected to increase the funding available for apprenticeship grants from $90 million to nearly $200 million, with a focus on increasing access for students from accredited secondary and post-secondary educational institutions.