This section looks briefly at Workforce Development, a key component of the City’s Economic Development strategy. As in other sections, we argue that the city needs to look less to the boom/bust cycles of real estate development for job placement, but to look at the actual needs of sustainable city, including its social infrastructure.
1. Link workforce development to existing demand in Public Sector jobs, especially in education and health.
The implications of the actual facts of where San Francisco’s jobs really exist are profound (see section on the Public Sector, above). Existing job development programs don’t recognize the fact that local government and specifically schools and colleges offer a staggeringly direct route for unemployed San Franciscans to a job. The primary challenge to all job-training programs is to fit the training with the available jobs. No more direct fit could be imaged that a local government designed program to train people for jobs in local government. With an emphasis on educational and educational support employment resulting in a more robust educational system, lower-income and immigrant communities directly benefit from such programs and employment: no trickle-down, no waiting for indirect tax breaks to actually produce jobs in lower-income neighborhoods. Public health and health care, two activities also in the public sector also offers opportunities for training and placement programs, again with direct and immediate impacts in lower-income neighborhoods. California Pacific Medical Center is the City’s 5th largest employer, Kaiser the 10th, Catholic Healthcare West the 15th, and St. Francis Hospital the 22nd.
2. Make our schools a critical component of workforce development.
The schools are a critical component of workforce development. Neighborhood schools need to be at the core of strengthening neighborhoods, with Beacon programs including afterschool programs, case-management with parents from birth, etc. Learn from the Harlem Children’s Zone, http://www.hcz.org/. Moreover, a significant location for a trained workforce is in expanding this conception of what a school is. We need to support an educational model that links education and work, specifically, high school students to green manufacturing, innovative technologies sectors, and cultural and artistic economic development. See for example, the experiment with the Austin Polytechnical Academy in Chicago, a high school partnership with small manufacturing companies.
3. Link workforce development to investments in childcare and in-home health services.
A critical component of bringing people into the workforce is providing the family support necessary to allow them to work or to participate in workforce development programs. This includes building up a system of accessible and affordable childcare (which San Francisco is sorely lacking compared to other Bay Area cities). An important investment in this respect is building up the childcare and in-home health services components of City College.
4. Link workforce development to existing and emerging Back Streets Businesses, which typically pay more for lower educational levels.
We need to rethink workforce development for San Francisco’s diverse economy of small local businesses. Economic development policies should be to create work opportunities for existing San Francisco residents, especially the most vulnerable populations in the Eastern half of San Francisco. Workforce development needs to not just hinge on real estate development or other booms, but look to the sustainable basis of the economy: the many back streets businesses and creative / cultural work that are the backbone of the economy. How can workforce development support the workforce needs of many small businesses and nonprofits, rather than only large employers? Workforce development needs to rethink One-Step with centralized hiring, referral, and most importantly ongoing case management.
5. Reframe “Green Jobs” to include the social infrastructure of a green economy.
Green Workforce Development (CityBuild, City College Green Academy) should be more than solar installation and/or weatherization. We need to expand the Green Jobs framing to include social services, organizing, and cultural work that helps sustain a healthy, sustainable community. This is particularly important as the City stresses “green jobs” while defunding the critical “green” work of sustaining community that is handled by the nonprofit sector.
6. Tie all large development projects, through community benefit agreements, to supporting the employment needs of current and future generations.
While we look to large private and government development projects for jobs, these are often limited only to the construction jobs. One of the goals of Mission Bay Consortium was that the Mission Bay development would support the job needs of future generations, through support for new schools and workforce development tied to life sciences. This model should be reviewed and updated for other large development projects, such as at Treasure Island and Hunters Point. See section below on Responsible Development Standards.