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The COVID-19 pandemic negatively affected – and still is affecting – workers and employers in ways we previously never thought possible. In spring 2020, to quickly educate people about resources that could help, we developed and launched our #BounceBackContraCosta campaign. We are proud to share we received 1,281 calls on our COVID-19 Resource Hotline from individuals, businesses and other entities seeking information about unemployment insurance, our Layoff Aversion Fund and community resources. Our Layoff Aversion Fund distributed $100,000 in grants to 26 small businesses to help avert employee layoffs and closures. Work to help employers and workers bounce back continues. Read more about our collective efforts in this edition. 

Patience Ofodu, Interim Executive Director, WDBCCC
Health Ambassador Adult Pilot Program Increases Job Skills, COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness

Know Any Jobseekers? Share Our Jobseekers Resource Page

COVID-19 Rent Relief Still Available

Introducing Contra Costa SBDC Interim Director Al Gohary

New Toolkit Helps Businesses Make Vaccines More Accessible to Employees

Mark Your Calendar - June Events

Rubicon Helps Jobseeker With Training That Leads to Fortune 500 Offers

Q&A With Board Member Joshua Anijar

Labor-Market Update
In the News header
The Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County is proud to partner with the county's Employment and Human Services Department and Health Services to launch the Health Ambassador Adult Pilot program

In this innovative program, more than 20 previously unemployed individuals from underserved neighborhoods promote COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts in their own communities. The WIOA-funded program is a win-win-win for jobseekers, citizens and the local economy.

"This program is the most direct and immediate way to get vulnerable populations to work performing critical community services, while building the skills and experience necessary to gain entry to the health field, which is one of WDB's priority sectors," said WDBCCC Program Manager Jed Silver. "Getting people vaccinated also facilitates businesses opening back up and employing people, which in turn revitalizes and contributes to a thriving and sustainable regional economy."

WDBCCC identified and allocated WIOA funding to help Health Services carry out the activities. Participants' employer of record is Heluna Health, and Rubicon Programs assists with recruitment and enrollment of program participants.

The Health Ambassador Adult Pilot program started in January and runs through Oct. 31. WDB is working to help the Ambassadors transition to permanent positions and to identify additional funding to keep the program going past October.

To receive a COVID-19 vaccine, contact Contra Costa County Health Services at 844-729-8410 or visit
Do you know someone looking for a job? Share with them our #BounceBackContraCosta jobseeker resource page. This information-packed resource includes helpful videos explaining how to:

  • Use our resources to launch a new career 
  • Write or refresh a winning resume and cover letter
  • Jumpstart a job search with CalJOBS

Also on this page, jobseekers can complete an online contact form. We will reach out to them, learn about their situation and discuss which of our services may benefit them. 
Housing is Key logo
Extra help catching up on rent can provide welcome relief to renters who are struggling with past due rent due to COVID -19. Although the CA Rent Relief Program appears to be off to a slow start, there are still funds to tap into if you qualify.
The CA Rent Relief Program offers assistance to those who may need help paying rent and utilities, due to financial constraints related to COVID-19. The state launched the program in March to provide emergency rental assistance to tenants and landlords. In Contra Costa County, there are more than 25,800 households at risk, with each carrying approximately $5,200 in estimated total rent debt. More than $75 million in federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds is available to county residents in need of rental relief.
Renters can apply for the program on the CA Housing is Key website, where they can also find many local partner resources in various languages. The County’s Employment & Human Services Department (EHSD) has also produced a COVID-19 Rent Relief Program flier (English) (Spanish) you can share and print to help get this information into the hands of community members who may be eligible.
Al Gohary headshot
We are pleased to introduce Al Gohary, interim director of the Contra Costa Small Business Development Center (SBDC) as of March 2021. Gohary previously served as assistant program director at Norcal SBDC. He also manages the San Mateo SBDC. 

In his 16 years of business advising with the SBDC, Gohary guided entrepreneurs through challenges and ultimately to success. He showed clients how to start their business, grow, get funding and then stay in business.

Gohary said he is passionate about supporting small businesses in Contra Costa County, adding, "I enjoy being part of changing people's lives from employees to business owners, helping businesses stay in business, and creating economic impact, jobs and success."

SBDC offers free educational workshops, webinars and one-on-one consulting conducted by expert advisors. Areas of guidance include accessing capital and funding, business planning, e-commerce and web marketing, human resource management, legal and business issues.
Have you seen the state's new Employer Vaccination Toolkit? It provides employers with vaccine education materials, information on COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave and other guidance for employees, and an online form to request vaccination support.

Announced by Gov. Newsom late last month, the toolkit will ease the process for employers to request a workplace clinic or local provider partner, making COVID-19 vaccines even more accessible for their employees.

Employers interested in requesting group appointments at nearby providers, or setting up a mobile or pop-up vaccination clinic at their workplace, must complete an online form. A representative will follow up within three business days, and requests will be filled as resources allow. There is no financial cost to the employer.
Calendar showing Event
Be sure to mark your calendar for these WDBCCC and partner events in June:

  • Thursday, June 3: WDBCCC and the California Employment Development Department present the Laid Off/Furloughed Employee Resources Webinar. Get answers about workforce services, unemployment insurance and healthcare coverage. More information on the June 3 page of this calendar

  • Tuesday, June 8: AJCC East Bay Works presents a WIOA Info Session – Virtual. More information on the June 8 page of this calendar

  • Wednesday, June 9: East Bay Economic Development Alliance presents The New Normal, a webinar exploring public health during pandemic recovery and implications for economic development. More information here.  

  • Wednesday, June 9: AJCC East Bay Works presents CCWC Resume Writing Workshop II. More information on the June 9 page of this calendar

  • Thursday, June 10: AJCC East Bay Works presents CCWC Job Search with CalJOBS Workshop II. More information on the June 10 page of this calendar

  • Thursday, June 17: WDBCCC and the California Employment Development Department present the Laid Off/Furloughed Employee Resources Webinar. Get answers about workforce services, unemployment insurance and healthcare coverage. More information on the June 17 page of this calendar

  • Wednesday, June 23: East Bay Economic Development Alliance and the Industrial Association of Contra Costa County present the State of the Economy covering economic impacts, resiliency and recovery in a post-COVID-19 world. More information here
Succes Story header
Prior to enrolling in WIOA with Rubicon Programs, Yvette Richardson was only receiving job offers for temporary employment opportunities. She had pursued WIOA to make herself more marketable to employers through training. Her career coach was able to help her enroll in the Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) program through AGI Technologies.
The knowledge gained in that program allowed her to successfully compete in today’s job market. She also received assistance on how to answer critical interview questions and negotiate salary expectations. 

“My plan is to continue gaining more cloud-based network systems experience, in addition to my CCNP certification,” Richardson said. “While it is difficult to compete in the ITA at 50+ years of age, I am so grateful for Rubicon Programs providing access to the necessary training and certification needed to succeed. This enabled me to interview and receive job offers from Fortune 500 companies throughout the Bay Area, of which currently deciding between two offers (a learning content firm and Research & Development Associate at UC Berkeley).” 
Board Spotlight
Joshua Anijar headshot
Joshua Anijar joined the WDB in 2019 and serves on the Executive Committee. 

Q: What is your profession, and how does it intersect with workforce development?   
A: I proudly serve as the executive director of the Contra Costa Labor Council, AFL-CIO, a local federation of 85 unions representing the voices of over 85,000 working families in the county. We partner with the WDBCCC to make sure union workers who know their industries have a seat at the table to make sure other workers have the tools and training needed for future careers in an ever-changing environment. The WDBCCC gives us the ability to partner with other leaders on worker-centered, industry-led and community-focused approaches for our County. 

Q: Why do you choose to serve on the WDBCCC?  
A: The Labor Council represents workers in all the major industries in Contra Costa, and their voices need to be heard to ensure working people are treated fairly, have access to education, good wages, health care, and workplace safety. This partnership helps us achieve these goals. In addition, the board helps connect resources to our members, when needed, for rapid response around layoffs and access to public funding for training and finding ways to help our workers compete in a changing world economy. 

Q: What aspects of your board service are you most passionate about? 
A: To me, it gives Labor an opportunity to showcase how our apprenticeship programs are a gateway into the middle class and change lives. I find the collaboration exciting, connecting with organizations and people whom I normally would not get the opportunity to partner with on training programs, based on Contra Costa’s unique industrial demands. Contra Costa is still growing new communities and economic industries. However, these new economic engines have to be built, operated and maintained with careers for local working families.

Q: How do you see the WDB assisting in Contra Costa's economic recovery from the pandemic? 
A: COVID-19 did not create systemic problems in our economy, but it did highlight severe inequalities that have been ignored by too many for far too long. Throughout the pandemic, working people lost so much while a select few saw record profits. This broken system must change, we need good jobs and a strong investment in our workforce and infrastructure. Essential workers don't only deserve our thanks but our commitment that we will not relive the mistakes of our past. Working families deserve our respect and safety on the job; investments in their health and well-being; and a commitment of real economic security. As we emerge out of the COVID-19 crisis, we need to empower workers by expanding our commitment to economic, social and racial justice while engaging young workers and future workforces for the jobs of tomorrow. 
Labor Market Update header
June Labor Market Update
Bounce Back Contra Costa