Message from the Director Subscribe
We’re in this together. COVID-19 has challenged this community in ways we could never
have imagined, yet here we are
meeting this moment in time and finding new and different ways to help our residents and businesses and support those
who are on the front lines taking risks. This community has also been confronted with finding a path forward to
effectively address the issues of racism raised by the Black Lives Matter movement. We can do better.
Silicon Valley has always been at the forefront of forging solutions and it is times like these when I am deeply grateful for the community in which I live and work that never disappoints during crises. I believe we can and will rally to improve the lives of everyone who call this region home.
In this edition and future newsletters, I will be sharing how NOVA and the community are utilizing innovation and partnership to address the urgent needs we face during these particularly demanding times.
Capitalizing on Innovation During Unprecedented Times
NOVA has seized upon this unprecedented time to reinvent its services for a virtual platform, while ensuring a safe
environment for both customers and staff. New technology was utilized to deliver career advising appointments, workshops
and webinars to a remote audience. NOVA’s curriculum, previously offered in person, required revamping that resulted in
more condensed, streamlined sessions. The menu of offerings was also enhanced to include topics tailored to today’s job
market, such as Positivity, Working in a Virtual World, Communication Essentials, remote job interviewing, and Zoom
videoconferencing tutorials. In addition, ProMatch, a networking program for job seekers from professional occupations,
pivoted to an online format.
The customers NOVA traditionally serves have also changed during this pandemic and include more disadvantaged, low-income workers, who have been especially hard hit during this economic downturn. While NOVA continues to serve individuals from the tech industry and other professional fields, additional attention and customized approaches are being offered to lower-skilled individuals who may require more job search tools and retraining to transition to jobs in other industries.
Given the positive feedback from customers and the greater efficiencies that a virtual platform has provided, NOVA expects to continue to offer this model, as well as in-person programming using a hybrid approach when COVID-19 is behind us.
Assistance for Hospitality Workers
There are many industries that have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. One such sector is the
hospitality industry affecting hotel and restaurant workers, who often work in low-wage jobs and are facing significant
hardships during this economic downturn. In the San Francisco Bay Area, employment in this industry has declined 55
On April 24, the California Employment Development Department awarded $10 million in grants to 42 Local Workforce Development Areas to support workers impacted by COVID-19. NOVA received $180,000 in funding to provide supportive services, such as rental and utility assistance, to hospitality workers who have been laid off or furloughed during the pandemic. For more information, visit the news release.
To ensure that this funding quickly reached those most in need, NOVA contracted with Working Partnerships USA, a San Jose-based community organization that NOVA has collaborated with on several projects. Working Partnerships, through UNITE HERE! Local 19, already had an infrastructure in place and has been able to rapidly identify individuals needing supportive services and administer a payment system directly to landlords and utility companies. Funding will be distributed in up to $400 per person one-time payments, with the goal to assist 450 dislocated workers by September 30, 2020. The program participants are also enrolled in NOVA services that will offer job search and reemployment assistance. These partnerships are expected to continue in the future given the enormous needs of this workforce.
New Partnership with FlySFO
The travel industry has also been severely impacted by the pandemic and shows limited signs of recovery. According to a
recent Fortune Magazine CEO survey of the 2020 Fortune 500 List, 51.1 percent responded that business travel will never
return to the level it was before the pandemic, which will have long-term consequences for the future of this industry.
Locally, since the beginning of COVID-19, the San Francisco International Airport (FlySFO) has experienced a 95 percent reduction in flights, from 60,000 to 4,000 passengers, and a 70 percent reduction in its workforce impacting 33,000 workers. In response to this surge in need, NOVA has partnered with FlySFO, the San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development and local labor unions to jointly conduct weekly interactive webinars for FlySFO employees, who have been laid off or furloughed, to assist with their reemployment search.
This partnership has been so successful that the California Workforce Association invited NOVA and its collaborators to present at its annual WORKCON conference that was held virtually this year in June. NOVA is also hosting weekly online webinars every Thursday for any employer and their employees impacted by the pandemic. For more information and to register, visit the NOVA website.
Launch of New Labor Market Intelligence: Impact of COVID-19
Since the pandemic began, economic indicators for this region have revealed a sharp decline in the economy from a robust job market to significant job loss. Decline in industry employment is taking place across most industries, but is most noticeable in leisure and hospitality, which experienced a 55 percent drop from this time last year. Unemployment rates have spiked to nearly 12 percent, up from 2 percent just a few months ago. Not unexpected, initial unemployment insurance claims have jumped dramatically reaching 223,000 and 89,000 for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, respectively. NOVA has launched new labor market intelligence resources that may be of value to local leaders as they plan for the community’s economic recovery. To review the latest report, visit the NOVA website.
Brookings Spotlight on COVID-19 Recovery
Brookings Institution, an internationally recognized nonprofit public policy organization, is conducting research to
collect and showcase promising local practices and policies as part of its COVID-19 Metro Recovery Watch. Solutions will
be offered to promote a more equitable economic recovery that works for everyone. This initiative is being spearheaded
by Brooking’s Metropolitan Policy Program and will entail the publication of a series of case studies over the coming
months. In the first release, one case study featured NOVA’s online MyPlan job search navigation tool. To read the
Brooking’s report, visit Spotlight on Local Recovery Efforts.
MyPlan, a free open-source website, effectively walks a job seeker through the job search process and provides links to invaluable resources along the way. It offers critical fundamentals in career exploration, resume and application development, and job search strategies and networking leading to employment opportunities. This tool is often used as a companion to the career advising appointments and workshops that NOVA provides as well.
Other related publications from Brookings include Actionable Ideas for Economic Recovery in American Cities and the Metro Recovery Index.
Celebrating Americans with Disabilities Act: Advancing Inclusion and Diversity in the Workforce
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act passage, the U.S. Conference of Mayors
Workforce Development Council, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor, produced the Advancing Inclusion and
Diversity in the Workforce report that captures best practices in expanding employment and training opportunities for
individuals with disabilities. NOVA’s Opening Doors Bay Area initiative was featured in this report.
Opening Doors Bay Area is a coalition of businesses, community organizations, workforce agencies, and talent channels that are dedicated to expanding employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities in the region’s technology industry and other high-skill sectors. This venture seeks to connect employers with talented job seekers with disabilities and assist them to create a more diverse organization that is better equipped to problem-solve, innovate and perform effectively.
NOVA, a founding member of Opening Doors, is engaged in a variety of initiatives serving persons with disabilities, including the recent Stanford Neurodiversity Project Consortium on Autism Employment to help neurodiverse individuals respond to the economic challenges from COVID-19.