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NOVA Workforce Board awards $150,000 contract to Joint Venture

Award to fund new regional initiative for meeting Silicon Valley workforce challenges in global economy


SAN JOSE, Calif. – June 5, 2008 – Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network announced today that the NOVA Workforce Board has awarded it a $150,000 contract to coordinate strategic planning and development of a comprehensive regional workforce initiative for Silicon Valley.

The award was spurred by a special workforce analysis in Joint Venture’s 2008 Silicon Valley Index earlier this year that noted the challenges facing the region’s mid-wage workers. NOVA cited Joint Venture’s expertise, existing networks of stakeholders and successful history with similar projects in awarding the grant.

“The challenges facing our workforce are formidable and will continue to impact the mid-range earners unless we take decisive action,” said Russell Hancock, president and CEO of Joint Venture. “Joint Venture is the ideal organization to lead this regional approach, and we are grateful to NOVA for the opportunity.”

“This effort is being championed by the workforce investment boards serving the region – work2future (San Jose/South county), NOVA (North Valley) and San Mateo County—and will capitalize on the commitment of the many stakeholders involved in workforce development,” said NOVA Director Mike Curran. “They include business, education and training organizations, organized labor, community-based organizations, government, elected officials and economists. Joint Venture has proven its ability to bring these groups together.”

Curran said the initiative seeks to improve access to skill building, adult training and networks that link job seekers, employers, educators and labor market information providers. It will also develop a new resourcing model that has investments from many benefactors.

The Joint Venture subcontract is part of a $250,000 Regional Innovation Grant (RIG) awarded to NOVA by the U.S. Department of Labor. RIGs focus on regions facing significant worker dislocations, and are intended to support economic growth and competitiveness. Grantees are expected to use the Labor Department’s Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development (WIRED) conceptual framework for their strategic planning activities. WIRED seeks to integrate economic and workforce activities and demonstrate that talent development can drive economic transformation in regional economies.

In a report authorizing the contract to Joint Venture, NOVA says Silicon Valley is “fast approaching a crisis” in efforts to meet the growing workforce demands of a dynamic and increasingly innovative economy. Increasing globalization, Baby Boomer retirements, educational skill challenges of those lined up to replace aging boomers and the extremely high cost of living in Silicon Valley all contribute to the problem.

The report added that the goals of the project are aligned with those of the EDGE (Education, Diversity and Growth in the Economy) Campaign.

Joint Venture will review workforce planning efforts to date, Hancock said, and convene leaders from throughout the region to create a “comprehensive, transformative, strategic regional plan to address priority workforce challenges.”
The regional strategy will focus on achieving such desired outcomes as increased high school completion, improved career technical education for youth and adults, increased post secondary enrollments, higher certification and/or completion rates for first year college students and improved workplace literacy and numeracy competencies.

About Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network
Established in 1993, Joint Venture provides analysis and action on issues affecting the Silicon Valley economy and quality of life. The organization brings together established and emerging leaders—from business, government, academia, labor, and the broader community—to spotlight issues, launch projects, and work toward innovative solutions. For more information, visit www.jointventure.org

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