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Executive Director's Message - Summer 2015

Sep 22, 2015
As the 2015 summer draws to a close, the Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County (WDB) has been mirroring the “Fast Forward” theme that was the subject of the California Workforce Association’s Meeting of the Minds conference in Monterey in early September. Here in the East Bay, the East Bay Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (EBAMP) has been moving forward very fast, with more than 200 business leaders, policy makers, and other partners  attending the first-ever East Bay Manufacturing Summit this past Friday, September 18 in San Leandro. The summit was headlined by Rich Wells, Vice President of Operations, Canada and USA North for The Dow Chemical Company and also included panel discussions featuring strategic partners from Tesla Motors, the California Manufacturers & Technology Association, the Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development (GO Biz), the California Labor Federation, as well as local community college and nonprofit partners.

EBAMP is one of several industry sector partnerships that are part of the East Bay Slingshot initiative, which focuses on five (5) priority industry sectors in our region – advanced manufacturing, biomed/bioscience, healthcare, information communication technology (ICT), and transportation/logistics. This business-led initiative, whose coordinating body includes the East Bay Leadership Council, the East Bay Economic Development Alliance, the Contra Costa and Peralta Community College Districts, and our neighboring three workforce boards (Alameda County, Oakland, and Richmond), is bringing together companies from across the East Bay to help them aggregate priorities from their respective industry sectors that can support continued growth. While the evolving needs and priorities within each of these industries are quite distinct, what they all have in common is a deep need to access qualified talent that can effectively meet the requirements of the middle and high skill jobs that businesses are increasingly having difficulty filling.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) went into effect on July 1, 2015, and with that, the WDB and its fellow workforce boards around the United States are better positioned than ever before to meet the needs of businesses and workers. To this end, the WDB has been working with a multiplicity of partners from business, economic development, education, labor, and other organizations in the public and nonprofit sectors to support the development of a highly-skilled talent pipeline that is equipped to meet regional economic and employment needs. With jobs and employment levels near an all-time high in the East Bay, now is the time for us to realize this vision and create more opportunities for businesses and workers alike.