American Rescue Plan Includes Additional Relief for Small Businesses
Application Period for Round 5 Grants to Small Businesses Opens Today
ICYMI: Webinars on Work-Based Learning, Innovation in East Bay
Register Now for These Upcoming Events
Video: Learn How to Search for Jobs on CalJOBS
Report: Future of Work Commission Recommends Actions for Growth
WDB Board Member Mike McGill Believes in Long Haul
We were relieved and encouraged this month by passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which provides additional relief for small businesses and the hardest-hit industries. We provide the highlights of the act in this edition of the newsletter, along with links to other valuable resources to help jobseekers and employers through the pandemic.

Patience Ofodu, Interim Executive Director, WDBCCC
The American Rescue Plan Act that President Biden signed into law March 11 provides additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries.

Specifically, the new law includes:

  • An additional $7.25 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, including to expand eligibility to additional nonprofits and digital news services

Capitol building

  • A new $28.6 billion for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund for industry-focused grants

  • A new $100 million to establish a Community Navigator pilot program; grants will go to eligible organizations supporting efforts to improve access to COVID-19 pandemic assistance programs and resources.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce provides a small-business video update that covers everything you need to know about the American Rescue Plan Act and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Watch the video and find more information about the various parts of the act on this U.S. Chamber of Commerce page.
The state is accepting applications for Round 5 of funding for the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program through March 31. The program provides a crucial financial lifeline to traditionally underserved small businesses and non-profits.

About Round 5 funding

  • Eligible applicants: current waitlisted small businesses and nonprofits not selected in Rounds 1, 2, or 3 and new applicants that meet eligibility criteria.
  • Eligible grant award: $5,000 to $25,000
  • Details: Applicants not selected to receive a grant in Rounds 1, 2, and 3 do not need to reapply, as they will be automatically moved into Round 5. New applicants will need to apply on the website.
Check out Contra Costa Economic Partnership’s two-part webinar highlighting local programs that help community members in career transition. The event, which showcases work-based learning in the county, includes discussion about what can be done to increase opportunity countywide.
East Bay EDA’s Meet the Innovators webinar earlier this month featured discussion on what drives innovation in the East Bay and how companies and organizations have remained adaptive and resilient during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other Upcoming Events:

  • March 31, 2021 – East Bay EDA’s State of the Economy, a special presentation on economic impacts, resiliency, and recovery in a post COVID-19 world, featuring Dr. Christopher Thornberg, Founding Partner of Beacon Economics. Register
  • April 15, 2021 – East Bay Leadership Council Signature Event with Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Chief Operating Officer, Mark Gould, about how employers can lead successful equity initiatives and create better, more human organizations coming out of COVID-19. Register
  • April 1 & 15, 2021 – WDB and California Economic Development Department’s laid off/furloughed employee resources webinar for individuals who have lost their job or been furloughed because of the pandemic. Get your questions about insurance workforce services, unemployment insurance (UI) and healthcare coverage answered. 
If you have experienced a layoff or job change during COVID-19, you have online access to free individualized coaching and job resources to help you bounce back. Watch this orientation video to see how jobseekers are using the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA) to prepare for the world of work, connect with employers and launch new careers. 

In this video, you will learn how to:

  • Create your account and profile
  • Search for jobs that match your skill level and interests
  • Set up a Virtual Recruiter that can search for jobs and send them to you by text or email
  • Apply for jobs
California’s Future of Work Commission, a diverse cross-section of prominent leaders from technology, labor, business, education and other sectors, recently released its final report, “A New Social Compact for Work and Workers.”

The report outlines recommendations to help the state create inclusive, long-term economic growth and address the inequities further exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing recession, including:
Future of Work
  • Ensuring there are jobs for everyone who wants to work
  • Eliminating working poverty
  • Creating a 21st-century worker benefits model and safety net
  • Raising the standard and share of quality jobs 
  • Future-proofing California with jobs and skills to prepare for technology, climate, and other shocks

On March 3, Future of Work Commission co-chairs Mary Kay Henry and James Manyika, along with California Labor Secretary Julie A. Su presented the Commission’s findings during the Aspen Institute’s Opportunity in America, an event series hosted by the Economic Opportunities Program. The discussion is entitled, “California’s Plans for the Future of Work, Workers, and a Renewed Social Compact.” Watch the presentation here.
Board Spotlight
Mike McGill
If you are involved in community service in Contra Costa County, chances are good you’ve come across longtime WDBCCC board member Mike McGill. 

Mike is president and principal engineer at MMS Design, supporting community and private development projects through civil engineering design, planning, surveying, project management and engineering plan review services.

Between work projects, Mike fits in community service that runs deep and wide. In addition to serving on the board of the WDBCCC, he serves on the board of directors of the East Bay Leadership Council, formerly serving as co-chair of its Land Use Task Force. He is a commissioner on the Contra Costa LAFCo and a board member and chair of CALAFCo. He served as Antioch Chamber of Commerce vice chair of economic development and co-founder of EC2. His education interests include serving as trustee and board chair at John F. Kennedy University, trustee at National University and City University of Seattle, and member and past president of the Los Medanos Community College Foundation Board. 

Mike says these interests caused his name to surface more than 10 years ago as one who could contribute to the WDBCCC. 

“Between the education focus and the economic development focus [of WDBCCC], people were telling me I would be ideal for the workforce development board because it addresses another niche – what we need to do to have a balanced community, a rounded community, and make sure everybody can participate to their fullest potential if they want to.” 
"Economic development and workforce training programs are long-term and not 'in and done.'"
Mike joined the board of the WDB in 2011, and except for his first year on the board, he has served in leadership roles, including chair or co-chair of one of the organization’s committees. He served as board chair during the transition of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014. 

His current focus is the Youth Committee, which seeks to increase the number of young adults who graduate prepared for postsecondary vocational training, further education, and/or a career. Mike reports that our community has numerous organizations that are “best-kept secrets” for serving youth and wants the community to understand these disparate groups better.

Mike appreciates that the WDBCCC has a real impact on workforce training that can benefit individuals and create work-ready employees. 

“I like to see that linkage come together so individuals have this great income, as well as businesses in the county can fill their need and help the county economy.”

Mike is the longest-serving member of the WDBCCC and plans to stay as long as necessary. 

“Economic development and workforce training programs are long-term and not ‘in and done’,” Mike says. “Many of the goals and responsibilities of programs span many, many years – bridging election cycles, administrations and people’s retirements. These programs require long-haul commitment, and I’m in for as long as I can do it.”
Bounce Back Contra Costa