The U.S. Department of Labor recently reported that the nation’s unemployment rate has reached its lowest level in six years and we’re seeing a similar trend here in Contra Costa County, where jobs are now in considerable abundance across nearly every sector of the economy. Many businesses are hiring and growing, which is great news as we head into the holiday season.
These last few months have been a very exciting time for us at the Workforce Development Board (WDB). President Obama signed the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in July 2014, creating opportunities to better match talent with jobs in high demand. In our five-year strategic plan, the WDB identified the following priority sectors for Contra Costa County: 1) advanced manufacturing; 2) health and life sciences; 3) energy; and 4) information communications technology (ICT) and digital media, with a fifth sector, construction, very likely to be added to this list later this year.
Our Board members and staff have been working hard to increase opportunities for businesses, job seekers, and entrepreneurs alike. Our four job centers are collectively generating about 10 on-site recruitments per month; our Small Business Development Center now has more than a dozen advisors who are helping small businesses and entrepreneurs throughout the county; and our youth providers are now offering holistic life skills courses to young people ages 16-21.
While news of the downsizing of Doctors Medical Center of San Pablo has been disappointing to so many, the WDB’s Business Services Team recently organized a successful job fair that connected more than 300 DMC workers with high-caliber health care employers.
The WDB brings together leaders from business, economic development, education, labor, community-based organizations, and public agencies to align a variety of resources and organizations to enhance the competitiveness of the local workforce and support economic vitality in our region. By continuing to strengthen our regional networks, we can increase opportunity for all, especially those who are not yet benefitting from the recent recovery.
I encourage you to stay better connected to and informed about the WDB’s ongoing efforts by finding us on Twitter and Facebook, where you will find frequent updates about news, events, and other resources that may be useful to your business and professional needs.