Message from the Director

Low unemployment doesn’t mean everyone has found work. You would think with the region’s low unemployment rate that no one is looking for work, but that would be wrong. With the churn here in Silicon Valley that is synonymous with an innovation economy, workers are losing their jobs at the same time new jobs are being created. In fact, the NOVA workforce area has been ranked consistently among the top three in the state in worker dislocation. In addition, workers who have been unemployed for an extended period of time due to family demands are seeking to reengage with the belief that they will find work quickly given the current economy. Unfortunately, there is often a mismatch between employer needs and the skill-sets of job seekers. To close the gap requires retraining in occupational and soft-skill development, as well as career navigational tools to compete in today’s job market. The added challenge these workers face is maintaining a positive outlook while responding to the expectations of others who wonder why they are still unemployed in this robust economy. So don’t be fooled by the low unemployment reports, because there are still many who are searching for work.

In this latest edition, you will read about NOVA’s new initiatives and successes in getting people back to work. Please share it with your colleagues and enjoy!

Warmest regards,



Kris Stadelman
NOVA Director

Bay Area Tech Apprenticeship Network

On January 11, NOVA hosted a forum to help build a San Francisco Bay Area network of workforce and educational institutions to support the development of regional tech apprenticeship programs. The event included representatives from K-12, colleges, universities, adult schools and workforce agencies from a total of six Bay Area counties. Several years ago, the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) awarded NOVA and regional partners a SlingShot grant to increase access to tech occupations through training and apprenticeships. The SlingShot initiative highlighted the importance of diverse regional networks in creating more effective connections between tech employers and talent from underrepresented populations. NOVA launched a project with the Tech Hire Oakland network in 2018 to learn about regional network best practices. Led by the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development, NOVA and the Bay-Peninsula planning unit, comprised of four workforce boards in the region, will now convene a diverse region-wide team of educators and training providers to work with Bay Area employers looking to recruit and develop new channels of locally-sourced talent through apprenticeships and other approaches. This regional consortium recently received a CWDB grant to pursue this goal. For more information about this endeavor, please contact NOVA manager Luther Jackson.

Spotlight on NOVA Board Member: Stacey Porter of Outset Medical

NOVA Workforce Board member Stacey Porter is Vice President of People Operations for Outset Medical. She is responsible for the development of organizations, teams and individuals in a rapidly evolving start-up environment. Ms. Porter brings to the NOVA Board over 18 years of business experience in the technology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries, academic expertise and in-depth knowledge as a corporate psychologist in assessment, education and career development strategies for adults, and a deep passion for helping employees contribute at their highest levels. Prior to Outset Medical, she served in leadership positions at Intuitive Surgical, VMware and Roche Pharmaceuticals and is an advisor to the technology start-up Zugata. Ms. Porter is a regular speaker on innovative talent practices and high performing teams, an active community volunteer and is completing a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology. In 2017, The Wiseman Group named her a Multiplier of the Year Finalist, an annual award that recognizes the world’s top leaders and “genius makers.”

Ms. Porter’s exceptional contributions will be invaluable to the Board’s work in equipping job seekers with the in-demand skills and confidence necessary for reemployment and as a catalyst for innovative business practices. “People who want to work should be able to do so. I look forward to be able to give back as NOVA customers return to work with the tools to succeed,” stated Ms. Porter.

Outset Medical, headquartered in San Jose, is a commercial-stage medical technology company that produces the first-of-its-kind Tablo, a portable Hemodialysis System for patients and health care providers, with the goal to reduce the cost and complexity of dialysis and transform the patient care experience, providing dialysis wherever it is needed. The company is currently conducting a clinical trial to expand Tablo’s use beyond the hospital/clinic setting to include home use. “There are more than 500,000 end-stage renal disease patients in the United States whose lives depend upon dialysis and Outset is working to improve and expand treatment options,” said Ms. Porter.

Prison to Employment Initiative

Each year, California releases approximately 36,000 people from state prison, a portion of whom have received in-prison job training rehabilitative services or have participated in programs operated by the California Prison Industry Authority. At the same time, the California Workforce Development Board manages federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act funds that are in alignment with the State Workforce Plan with workforce development programs operated by the local Workforce Boards. While these two systems have coordinated informally on meeting the reemployment needs of the formerly incarcerated, there has been no formal systemic relationship established. In response, a new statewide Prison to Employment Initiative (P2E) has been launched with the goal to support regional planning efforts, fund regional plan implementation, and provide resources for direct services to the formerly incarcerated and other justice-involved individuals. A total of $37 million was allocated for this multi-year venture, with up to $14 million released statewide to workforce board regions in fiscal year 2018-19 to fund regional planning grants and up to $20 million to be released in fiscal year 2019-20 for implementation grants that may include supportive services and “earn and learn” opportunities.

Locally, it is estimated that there are over 36,000 justice-involved individuals in the region. The Bay-Peninsula region, comprised of the four workforce boards representing San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and San Benito counties, received $142,500 in funding for the planning phase and has embarked on a regional plan update that incorporates stakeholder input regarding coordination of services for incarcerated, formerly incarcerated and justice-involved individuals in order to determine the best path forward. To review a draft of the Regional Plan modification, please visit the NOVA website. As part of this planning process, expansion of “shovel-ready” projects will also be explored. The Bay-Peninsula has applied for implementation funding and will be reaching out to local community partners to forge new collaborations to better serve the formerly incarcerated and other justice-involved individuals.

Update Mature Worker Program

In 2016, the Peninsula Family Service (PFS) was awarded a multi-year grant from the County of Santa Clara to launch the mature worker program that would be tailored to the needs of mature workers (age 50+) who often face barriers to reentering the workforce. PFS reached out to NOVA to partner on this new project and host the program at the NOVA Job Center in Sunnyvale. Since its inception, the program has been tremendously successful and to date has enrolled over 760 mature worker customers, with nearly 60 percent finding reemployment. To highlight this program, a video was produced that showcases the services provided and the experiences that participants have encountered through this program. To view the video, please visit the PFS website.

NOVA Success Story: Dene' Mathews

After working at AT&T for over 15 years, Dene' was laid off as a result of a company reorganization. AT&T referred her to a staffing agency to assist her with her transition, which is where Dene' first became aware of NOVA. NOVA and the local office of the California Employment Development Department were invited to present to the staffing agency’s customers about the workforce development services they provide to job seekers in the community. After the presentation and at the conclusion of her time with the staffing agency, she joined NOVA in September.

Dene' took full advantage of the services offered at NOVA. She participated in most of the workshops, finding the Beyond the Resume and Interviewing workshops particularly helpful. Through these services, she was able to think about her professional presence, how she presents herself to others and what makes her unique. She formulated her story and learned how to share it with others, further refining it along the way. She joined NOVA's ProMatch program where she had an opportunity to participate in the interactive networking elements of the program, getting to know the community of job seekers and benefiting from their support and encouragement, as well as her contributions to their job search. Through ProMatch, she re-gained her sense of confidence and a newfound appreciation of the invaluable skills she can offer an employer.

The end result is that in January, Dene' was hired as a project manager with EOS IT Solutions. She recognizes that what she learned from NOVA, about who she is and the direction she is going in life, personally and professionally, will continue to be of value to her in her future journey. Her advice to job seekers: “Keep going! A job search is a rollercoaster ride but what helps is consistency in attending NOVA’s workshops and participating regularly in ProMatch.”

Customer Satisfaction Survey Results

Biannually, NOVA surveys its customers about their level of satisfaction with the services they receive at the NOVA Job Center. There are two NOVA Job Centers in the NOVA workforce development area: one in Sunnyvale, operated by NOVA, and one in San Mateo, operated by the Central Labor Council Partnership. Highlights of the mid-year survey results (July 1, 2018 - December 31, 2018) included:

  • 98% and 99% of respondents were satisfied with the quality of customer service they received at the NOVA Job Centers in Sunnyvale and San Mateo, respectively.
  • 95% were satisfied with the overall quality of offerings provided at both Job Centers.
  • 97% and 95% would recommend to family and friends the NOVA Job Centers in Sunnyvale and San Mateo, respectively.
Highlights of the comments received included:
  • “Staff are very knowledgeable and extend their support wholeheartedly.”
  • “Friendly, cheerful, responsive, helpful, professional, patient, informed.”
  • “Thank you for treating us with respect, dignity, and compassion.”
  • “This is an amazing and highly valuable service. It was exactly what I needed to get back on my feet.”
  • “This place is a hidden gem. It’s very retro looking, but the information is very modern! The key is that the people treat you like you matter.”
NOVA will use this customer feedback to continue to improve upon the services it provides to the community.

This past year, NOVA served a total of 5,061 job seekers and provided 53,286 services, with the NOVA business services team serving 400 employers.

NOVA Hosts Business Support Panel

On a quarterly basis, the NOVA Business Services team host employer panels to provide inside information to NOVA job seekers about careers in growing occupations from the hiring professionals in these industries. Throughout this past year, NOVA has hosted panels targeting careers in government, data analysis and nonprofit occupations, and on December 12 convened a business support panel. The December event included a panel of experts in accounting, administration, finance and human resources representing Goodwill of Silicon Valley, Randstad, UCSC Extension Silicon Valley and Power Integrations. The discussion was informative and encompassed career tracks in business support occupations and their respective requirements, hiring trends as it relates to job skills in demand, qualifications that employers look for during the hiring process and the panelists’ personal experiences transitioning into their current roles.

Employer Testimonial: Jameco Electronics

NOVA has been a fantastic partner in helping us fill very hard to find talent positions. We were referred to NOVA by a long-time employee who listed through them years ago. I was having trouble finding applicants for our Tech Support Department through other staffing companies so I tried NOVA. Wow what a difference! I had 5 qualified applicants within 2 weeks and proceeded to hire one who had to eventually move out of state a year later, but the efficiency and pleasure of working with NOVA was very good. Since then I have hired another applicant and he is still here doing great work. I can’t say enough about the pool of applicants and the service provided by NOVA, it was super. I would recommend them to handle any staffing needs anytime. I am sure many organizations like ours can use great employees all the time. Great Job and thank you to NOVA!

Jerry Bushnell, Tech Support Manager, Jameco Electronics

New Federal Grants

The NOVA region continues to experience significant worker dislocation as a result of the churn caused by the technology industry and related sectors where new innovation is continuously replacing obsolete products and platforms. During an 18-month period, NOVA responded to 110 notifications of layoffs, impacting 7,887 individuals, which was among the highest in the state. To address this need, last year NOVA was awarded $2.5 million dollars in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Labor to serve an additional 800 dislocated workers.

In the Community

Bay Area Workforce Funders Collaborative Brain Trust

NOVA Director Kris Stadelman has been invited to join the Brain Trust, an advisory body of the Bay Area Workforce Funders Collaborative (BAWFC). The Brain Trust was formed to increase BAWFC’s knowledgebase and perspective from key workforce stakeholders and provide the foundation for network and coalition building to achieve systems change in the area of worker income, job quality and strengthening the workforce funding community. As a member of the 15-member advisory group, the director will be able to contribute expertise in regional workforce development, share the exciting collaborative ventures that NOVA has launched to promote systems change and learn more about what other community leaders are doing to impact change.

California Disability Employment Initiative and Accelerator Convening

On a quarterly basis, recipients of the California Disability Employment Initiative and Accelerator grants and representatives from the departments of Employment Development and Rehabilitation meet to share information and resources in the field. At a recent convening, NOVA manager Luther Jackson moderated an employer panel comprised of representatives from EY, formerly Ernst & Young. EY has launched a new initiative, Centers for Excellence, with the mission to recruit and hire high-skilled individuals on the autism spectrum to fill positions in demand-driven technology occupations at EY. This company, as with many businesses, is experiencing challenges with recruiting for certain high-demand jobs and recognized that this population was an untapped talent. This initiative, launched in 2016 in Philadelphia, has since opened offices in Dallas and Chicago, with a San Jose office scheduled to open in 2019. Key to the success of the Centers for Excellence, as described by one of the panel speakers, is ensuring that compassion and support is provided to the work team on a regular basis and that the participants are held to high standards. One of the panel speakers was a former customer of Autism Advantage, a collaborative program of NOVA and Goodwill, who has since transitioned to a successful position at EY.

Since the convening, the Neurodiversity Career Pathway Council has been formed, comprised of key partners in California representing workforce, education, government and community organizations that serve individuals on the autism spectrum. Its goal is to provide an efficient and transparent mechanism for individuals to find work and for companies like EY to find talent. Currently, NOVA is working with EY and the new Council to recruit talented individuals on the autism spectrum for positions at EY’s new Neurodiversity Center of Excellence (NCoE) in San Jose that is scheduled to open in July.

Presentation at the “Festival of Two Cities” Conference

NOVA Director Kris Stadelman was invited to present on a panel titled, Exchanging Perspectives — Challenges of Introducing the Dual Professional Education System in California, as part of “A Festival of Two Cities” global celebration series. The weeklong conference brought together the cities of San Francisco and Zurich, Switzerland in a productive conversation about the arts, culture, science and technology. The Switzerland apprenticeship “earn and learn” model, which was discussed by the panel, is embedded in the educational system there where students are enrolled at a young age. The program is administered by the government but funded by businesses that are key partners in this effort. The model provides training for both core and occupational skills with flexibility for workers to change careers throughout their lives. While there are challenges with implementing this model in this country, there are plans to pilot it in Charleston, South Carolina in partnership with the local high school, community college and chamber of commerce. Another apprenticeship-type model, called Skillful, is being piloted in Colorado and Indiana.

Visit from Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology

In December, staff from the Anita Borg Institute for Women in Technology visited NOVA. For many years, the Institute has promoted mentoring from women in leadership positions in the tech industry to support those who wish to pursue careers in tech or are transitioning back into tech after a hiatus. The organization works with women technologists in over 50 countries, with partnerships with leading colleges and universities and Fortune 500 companies. The Institute was interested in learning more about NOVA’s ProMatch program that could provide a model for equipping women with the tools necessary to access and advance in technology occupations. The Institute could also be a resource for ProMatch customers who could benefit from mentoring and networking from executive women in this industry.

State Legislative Updates

New State Laws in 2019

The California Workforce Association (CWA) is a membership organization representing 45 local workforce development boards across the state. Through its lobbyist, CWA tracks legislation that may impact the local workforce development community and its customers and partners. At the close of the last legislative session, several workforce-related bills were chaptered that include:

AB 2915 (Caballero): Workforce development boards: mutual disaster aid assistance: memorandum of understanding. Instructs the California Workforce Development Board to convene the 45 local Workforce Development Boards (WDBs) in order to facilitate a statewide Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between and among local WDBs to enable them to effectively respond to disasters. The MOU would allow for mutual aid activities between local areas.

AB 2420 (Quirk-Silva): Workforce development: soft skills training. Would authorize contracts from the Employment Training Panel to, among other things, include ancillary training for job related soft-skills training and would define “soft-skills” as behaviors and competencies to allow people to navigate professional environments, work well with colleagues, and perform up to standards for professional success.

SB 1348 (Pan): Postsecondary education: allied health professional clinical programs: reporting. Requires for-profit and community colleges that train allied health professionals for certification and licensure to report annually on where they are placing students for clinical internships, and student success related to those internships.

AB 2358 (Carrillo): Apprenticeships: discrimination: prohibition. Establishes a policy to ensure non-discrimination in all construction trades state apprenticeship programs. Among other things, it would require an apprenticeship program to designate one or more individuals to oversee the commitment to equal opportunity in the program and to maintain records regarding compliance with certain requirements, as specified. It would require the apprenticeship program to develop and implement procedures to ensure that its apprentices are not harassed or discriminated against. It would also require each apprenticeship program to include a specified equal opportunity pledge in its apprenticeship standards and other publications and would require a program to reach compliance with these provisions within a specified timeframe.

SB 1428 (McGuire): Minors: employment: work permits. Would prohibit the denial of a work permit on the basis of a pupil’s grades, grade point average, or school attendance if the pupil is applying for the work permit in order to participate in a government-administered employment and training program.

AB 2138 (Chiu and Low): Licensing boards: denial of application: revocation or suspension of licensure: criminal conviction. Would prohibit a person from being denied a license based solely on the basis that he or she has been convicted of a nonviolent crime and would make conforming changes, revise and recast existing provisions to instead authorize a board within the Department of Consumer Affairs to, among other things, deny, revoke, or suspend a license on the grounds that the applicant or licensee has been convicted of a crime only if the applicant or licensee is presently incarcerated or if the conviction, as defined, occurred within the preceding 7 years, except for violent felonies, and would require the crime to be directly and adversely related to the qualifications, functions, or duties of the business or profession.

New State Appointments

Governor Gavin Newsom has named Julie Su Secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. Prior to this appointment, Ms. Su served as California’s Labor Commissioner in Governor Brown’s administration, Litigation Director at Advancing Justice LA, as a civil rights lawyer protecting low-wage workers and immigrant victims of crime and human trafficking and is a winner of the MacArthur Foundation genius grant. NOVA looks forward to working with Secretary Su in the future.

Governor Newsom also appointed Lenny Mendonca Chief Economic and Business Advisor and Director of the Office of Business and Economic Development with the charge to re-engineer the State’s approach to job creation and economic development to increase economic security. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Mendonca served as co-chair of California Forward, launched the first annual California Economic Summit, is director emeritus of McKinsey and Company, Chair Emeritus of the Bay Area Council and Economic Institute of the Bay Area and has served on numerous boards and commissions. The NOVA Workforce Board had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Mendonca at a Board retreat several years ago.

For more information about the Governor’s appointments, please visit the Governor's website.