Message from the Director

Silicon Valley’s housing crisis is a workforce issue. According to the 2018 Silicon Valley Index, the Valley is experiencing a housing shortage of 31,253 units needed to accommodate the region’s growing population. If workers can’t find housing that is affordable and a commutable distance to work, they can’t seek employment here or stay if they are already here. If employers struggle to find qualified workers essential to their survival, these businesses may decline or worse, relocate to other more competitive areas. This could slow growth or lead to an economic downturn. The root causes of this housing issue are complex and will require a collaborative approach. Already, there are many organizations, companies and community leaders hard at work tackling the different aspects of this crisis. While developing a more diverse housing stock will be important to meet the demand, raising the skills, wages and buying power for all workers is essential to leveling the playing field if everyone is to have access to future housing. We all have a role to play in confronting this crisis. NOVA looks forward to being a part of the solution.

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

SlingShot: Successes, TalentEvolve2018 and Lessons Learned

In 2015, NOVA was awarded a grant from the California Workforce Development Board to launch the statewide initiative, SlingShot, on behalf of a broad collaborative of three local workforce boards (NOVA, San Francisco and San Jose-based work2future), businesses, community colleges and community-based organizations. The intent of this venture was to address the talent requirements of Bay Area employers and the needs of regional populations that are increasingly disconnected from the fast-changing economic mainstream and access to higher-skill occupations.

This multi-year project began with a series of business and workforce system convenings to gain commitment from industry champions to take a leadership role in the development of employer-informed strategies that would shape and drive this initiative going forward. These convenings ultimately led to the launch of two innovative pilot projects in San Mateo County: supporting an advanced digital advertising training program in collaboration with the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the San Mateo County Community College District and a DevOps training program with Open Access and CollabNet as key partners. DevOps is an in-demand career synthesis of software development, software quality assurance and IT operations. These projects have been highly successful. A team of consultants worked with IAB and the college system to improve student career navigation skills and develop diversity and inclusion strategies for digital advertising companies. The DevOps program is collaborating with Ten-X, the San Mateo County real estate company, to develop a first-in-the-nation DevOps apprenticeship program. The Ten-X apprenticeship will be registered with the California and federal governments and will be eligible for additional funding.

On March 27, 2018, marking the culmination of the SlingShot initiative, NOVA and its industry partners convened TalentEvolve2018. The purpose of the event was to explore proven models in inclusive learning cultures to develop talent, with a focus on attracting and retaining diverse talent, increasing productivity, fostering inclusivity and belonging, and incentivizing workplace learning. Participants included representatives from small and mid-size tech companies and from the education and workforce development communities. The guest speakers were powerful and thought-provoking and included: NOVA Workforce Board Co-chair Chris Galy, Chief People Officer, Ten-X; John Boudreau, Professor and Research Director, USC Marshall School of Business; Stacey Porter, Head of Global Talent Development, Intuitive Surgical; Tamyra Walker, Director of Recruitment and Retention, #YesWeCode; Amit Aggarwal, SVP, Product & Technology and A.J. Thomas, Vice President People & Culture at Auction.com; and DeVaris Brown, CEO & Founder, Floodgate Academy, among many others.

One of the lessons learned in this initiative is that despite calls from the federal and state government for regionalism and more efficient and coordinated service delivery across workforce development boards, education, businesses, and other providers in the workforce preparation system, many entities continue to operate in silos, which undermines services to job seeker and employer customers. While the pilot projects launched through SlingShot have moved the dial on effective cross-sector cooperation, there is still more work to be done in this area. As a final step in this initiative, NOVA is working with Social Policy Research Associates to develop a social network of workforce stakeholders and a sustainable method for working together that will serve as a catalyst for future innovative ventures.

NOVA Success Story: Jeanette Somo

I came to NOVA because a board member at my previous employer told me he had HR connections for me, but he wanted me to join a program at NOVA called ProMatch, before he would make the introductions. My circumstances were pretty complicated. I was a stay at home mother for 16 years and then went through a contentious divorce. Toward the end of my marriage, I did have a part-time job that turned into a full-time management job after I divorced, but I felt the need to go back to school to attract better opportunities. I graduated with a bachelor's degree and began my job search in the fall of 2016, but found the transition from management to HR and from nonprofit to corporate extremely challenging. The longer I searched without getting interviews, the more my confidence plummeted. I agreed to take the board member’s advice and joined NOVA.

I have a love of learning, so I took as many workshops as possible at NOVA. Each workshop was very good. I learned much more than I had expected. The workshop about Informational Meetings was the one that I found most beneficial. I realized that I had been doing all the wrong things. I also found great benefit from the career advisors’ input on my resume. Then I joined ProMatch where EVERYTHING was beneficial. Right away, I was put to work on the Interview team where I felt useful and received great feedback. I was encouraged every day to step out of my comfort zone. The safe environment was a wonderful place to try to spread my wings in areas I needed growth in. The networking was fabulous. There are so many talented experts that join ProMatch, it is amazing. There are people with anywhere from 12-20+ years experience to share experiences and stories with (and informational meetings).

As a result, my confidence soared. The ProMatch staff and members saw value and great potential in me. I also first saw my HR connection at ProMatch. She was a guest speaker a few times. I ran into her at another networking event where I introduced myself to the room. She liked my introduction very much (a product of working at ProMatch) and said she would like to get together with me for an informational meeting. A few months later, she introduced me to my current manager. We met for coffee and two weeks later, I was working for ViewRay as HR Generalist. I never had a formal interview, the job had not been posted yet and I would never have known about this opportunity if not for my relationship with her, ProMatch, or the board member.

Don't discount any information received at NOVA. Try to experience as much as possible. There is always something to take away. Learn new things, meet new people. NOVA is a Silicon Valley treasure! It impacts and saves lives. Thank you.

NOVA Awarded State Additional Assistance Grant

In March, NOVA was awarded a $1.5 million State Additional Assistance Grant that will address the increased demand for services from dislocated workers that have been impacted by the turbulent economy and disruption unique to Silicon Valley, despite a robust job market. Last year, NOVA served 4,193 customers and provided 48,538 services. With this new funding, NOVA will be able to serve an additional 421 job seekers.

Spotlight on NOVA Board Member Maria Lucero of the California Employment Development Department

NOVA Workforce Board member Maria Lucero is the Employment Program Manager for the California Employment Development Department (EDD). She is responsible for overseeing the employment and training programs, operations and over 40 staff in the EDD Workforce Services offices that serve the three-county region of Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Benito counties. In addition, Ms. Lucero collaborates with a broad range of partners across the region to deliver seamless and integrated employment services to job seekers and employers.

Ms. Lucero brings to the Board 18 years of experience in workforce development offering unique perspectives from front-line to management-level positions, with a deep understanding of customer need and workforce programs and policies. She is also an invaluable regional partner, tapping into available resources to support the NOVA workforce development area’s shared goals, mission and passion. Ms. Lucero is committed to serving the different workforce requirements of residents in Silicon Valley, so that no one is left behind. She stated, “There are wide-ranging and diverse demographics in this region. Finding the right balance in the programs and services we provide to assist all individuals in need is an important challenge.”

EDD is one of the largest state departments, with hundreds of service locations throughout California. For more than 70 years, the department has connected millions of job seekers to employment contributing to the state’s economic success. EDD focuses on several primary program areas: unemployment insurance; disability insurance; payroll tax collection; job training/workforce investment services for adults, dislocated workers and youth; and labor market information. It also works closely with employers to support them with their labor market needs.

Employer Testimonial: Graphic Packaging International

Graphic Packaging International issued a WARN impacting 127 employees in the fall of 2017. At the HR meeting, we planned for seven Rapid Response presentations with NOVA and EDD for the different manufacturing shifts. There were four resume workshops scheduled onsite as well.

They brought in a team to present benefits and services available to the impacted employees which reduced the stress of the company closure. NOVA showed us where to get the information and how to access services in other areas of California. The Mortgage Assistance Program was of great interest to the employees.

We used their layoff assistance several years ago when an adjacent plant was closed. It is great to have them as a partner because it greatly alleviated employee concerns and gave them immediate hope for fulfilling future employment opportunities.

Rick Horne, Human Resources Manager, Graphic Packaging

New Regional Business Engagement Initiative

This region is home to 3.6 million people, with approximately 2.3 million employed workers. It is prominent in the global, U.S. and California economies as the heart of innovation and entrepreneurism, representing 10% of the state’s labor force and producing 20% of the state’s gross domestic product. Commute patterns have shown that employers draw upon the whole region to meet their employment needs which demands a skilled workforce. There are four local workforce boards that serve the region, with each responsible for a defined geographic area. This poses a challenge for large employers whose operations cross local workforce boards’ boundaries and must navigate the different requirements and business service models unique to each workforce board to access assistance. At the same time, workforce boards often duplicate efforts in supporting the same employer. In response, the State has awarded NOVA a $500,000 grant, on behalf of the region’s four local workforce boards, to promote a shared business engagement strategy through the establishment of a regional business engagement team. The goal is to achieve greater system alignment and “no wrong door” where employers will be able to contact any local workforce board in the region and obtain information about needed resources.

In the Community

2018 Progress Seminar

For over 48 years, the Progress Seminar has convened as an opportunity to bring together business, government, and community leaders to collaborate on key issues facing San Mateo County. The Redwood City-San Mateo County Chamber of Commerce sponsors this annual event, with Progress Seminar Co-Chairs California State Assemblymember Kevin Mullin, San Mateo County Board of Supervisor Carole Groom and San Mateo County Economic Development Association President & CEO Rosanne Foust providing vision and leadership. NOVA Director Kris Stadelman has attended this inspirational event as an opportunity to reconnect with current partners and form new relationships with community stakeholders. This year, the event was held on April 13-April 15 and the director was invited to present on the topic, “Innovation & Disruption & Its Impact on Workforce Development”, with panelists Kristin Pollard of Comcast, Allyne Beach of Kaiser Permanente, and Van Ton-Quinlivan of the California Community College District. For more information, please visit the Redwood City-San Mateo County website.

Presentation to Leadership Sunnyvale

On April 13, NOVA Director Kris Stadelman was invited to present to future community leaders who were participating in the 2018 class of Leadership Sunnyvale. The director presented on the region’s economic and labor market trends and the services that NOVA offers to job seekers and employers to build a skilled talent for the innovative economy.

Visit from Cupertino Mayor

On February 22, NOVA had the pleasure of hosting a visit from Cupertino Mayor Darcy Paul. This was an opportunity to introduce to a valued consortium partner, the City of Cupertino, the programs and services that are provided to Cupertino residents and employers. The visit entailed attending the weekly meeting of NOVA’s ProMatch program, followed by a meeting and discussion with NOVA staff and Board member Judy Miner, Chancellor, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, and concluded with a tour of the NOVA Job Center campus. NOVA looks forward to future opportunities to host visits from its consortium partners.

JobTrain 2018 Economic Opportunity Awards Program

For the second year, JobTrain in Menlo Park has hosted the Economic Opportunity Awards Program. This program seeks to highlight companies in the San Francisco Bay Area whose hiring practices encourage the success of people who have high job skills but barriers to employment that may include: lack of college/university degree, formerly incarcerated, veterans, and workers who have been laid off and retrained. NOVA Director Kris Stadelman was invited to participate on the selections panel again this year, which was comprised of five community leaders representing business, government and nonprofit organizations. The panel reviewed 18 finalists and chose 6 winners who were announced at the March 1 awards event. For more information about this awards program, please visit the JobTrain website.

National Study on Technology-Based Learning

The U.S. Department of Labor has contracted with ABT Research Center to conduct a nationwide study on the use of technology in workforce training and education. On March 16, ABT visited California (one of several states that were visited across the country) to gain an in-depth understanding of how California is using technology for workforce training and learning in five primary areas: soft skills, basic reading and math, technological literacy, job search, and training and certification. NOVA Director Kris Stadelman was one of only two local workforce boards invited to participate in this site visit. NOVA has embraced the use of technology in its services to job seekers in career navigation, skills assessment, job search with LinkedIn profile development/networking and an online job board, and through technology training and certifications.

Federal Updates

On March 23, Congress passed and the President signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill to fund government through the end of Fiscal Year 2018. The Department of Labor was funded at $12.2 billion, $192 million above FY 2017 levels representing a 1 percent increase. Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act training programs were funded at $2.8 billion, an increase of $80 million above FY 2017 levels. This represents the first time in many years that the local workforce development system hasn’t received significant cuts to funding and will go a long way to addressing the continued high demand for services.

Since the passage of the omnibus spending bill, President Trump and House Majority Leader McCarthy have introduced proposals to claw back funding in response to concerns raised over the increase in funding approved in this bi-partisan bill. Any further cuts to local workforce development programs will be devastating to the region’s residents, businesses and economy.