As 2014 draws to a close and we look toward a new year that will bring exciting changes to our public workforce system, I would like to acknowledge the Workforce Development Board’s accomplishments and highlight what is in store for 2015.
As the economy improves and hiring is at its highest level in years, our EASTBAY Works America’s Job Center of California (AJCCs) locations are seeing diminishing traffic. Unemployment rates in the region continue a steady decline and more businesses are feeling the competition for qualified candidates, a stark contrast from the environment of just a year or two ago.
As the WDB continued focusing its efforts on supporting priority industry sectors in the region, our job centers offered dozens of workshops to help job seekers learn more about how to develop the skills required for a variety of jobs in each of our five priority sectors (Advanced Manufacturing, Construction, Energy, Health & Life Sciences, and Information Communication Technology – ICT).
In 2014, our business services team focused on identifying skill gaps in the advanced manufacturing sector and convened regional partners to explore solutions. Looking forward, we will continue to partner with employers to implement customized job training strategies and identify high-wage jobs that are difficult to fill in manufacturing and other priority industry sectors.
I’m also excited to report that our Small Business Development Center recently received a $70,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in obtaining capital.
Meanwhile, our youth program has begun working with some new providers, including Bay Area Community Resources, the Contra Costa County Office of Education and Mt. Diablo Unified School District, who will ensure that young people in our community have opportunities for relevant skills development and meaningful employment.
Our partnerships with education, economic development agencies, chambers of commerce, the public sector and nonprofit organizations continue to be strong and we look forward to further leveraging these connections in the year ahead.
Indeed, 2015 promises to be an exciting year as the U.S Department of Labor continues to guide changes to our public workforce system through the newly reauthorized law known as the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). We expect this will create a more streamlined approach to our work and focus on high-needs populations first.
Thank you for your support of our work. Together, we are building a more vibrant community, and we look forward to continued success in 2015. Happy Holidays!