June 2, 2010 - Silicon Valley must adapt to the economic churn and changing needs of employers for a more skilled workforce in order to remain the epicenter of innovation and entrepreneurship, concludes a comprehensive new report on regional workforce development issued today by Joint Venture: Silicon Valley network.
The study, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor and conducted in partnership with the three Silicon Valley workforce boards – the North Valley Workforce Investment Board (NOVA), the San Mateo County Workforce Investment Board and work2future – urges greater regional collaboration toward improved skill building, expanded workforce readiness and qualified replacement workers as the post-recession economy creates new industries and new occupational skill-sets.
“We’re in a race against time, and this study should be a starting gun for employers, educators and other regional leaders with a stake in Silicon Valley’s future,” said Russell Hancock, CEO of Joint Venture. “The growth in new industries here together with an aging workforce means the demand for newly skilled and replacement workers will only continue to grow. A regional approach is vital to keep pace with the evolving workforce needs.”
Titled A New Foundation for Collaborative Workforce Development in Silicon Valley, the year-long study examines workforce development in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, a region encompassing 2.6 million residents in 2009 and more than 1.2 million pre-recession jobs in 2008.
“NOVA is proud of the work done under this grant,” said Kris Stadelman, Executive Director of NOVA. “Our region has been and must remain a leader and innovator in not only technology but also in the workforce development system that supports our success, and the framework outlined in the study will help assure that continued success.”
“The collaboration begun with this study has already paid dividends for our Workforce Investment Boards and the region,” said Jeff Ruster, Executive Director of work2future. “Today our WIBs are working together to address real-time labor market information development and other needs identified as crucial to our region’s vitality.”
Fred Slone, Executive Director of San Mateo County Workforce Investment Board, commented, “Silicon Valley is a dynamic region whose economy is not dictated by its geography, and this project underscored the importance of our WIBs responding accordingly, addressing workers and jobs across counties and across industries to achieve the best solutions for all our constituents.”
Objectives of the study were to achieve a common understanding of the workforce challenges facing Silicon Valley, develop a regional action plan, form a cohesive partnership of key stakeholders and decision-makers and leverage the strength of these new partnerships to advocate supportive policy in Sacramento and Washington DC.
Key elements of the action plan call for the region to expand and improve the capacity for skill building among Silicon Valley’s current and future workforce, improve workforce readiness among the region’s lowest-skilled and lowest wage residents, and prepare qualified replacement workers, trained and ready to assume the responsibilities of those workers that are leaving the workforce.
The complete study is now available as a PDF on the Joint Venture web site at www.jointventure.org.
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.