A Time of Thanks
Still Time to Apply for the Small-Business Layoff Aversion Grant
Labor-Market Update
Bay Area Workforce Community Solutions - Increasing Racial Equity Across the Bay Area
Learn All About Employee Handbooks - Dec. 9 Webinar
Employer Spotlight: East Bay Health Workforce Partnership
As we reflect back on this month of thanks, we are grateful for the ability to make a difference in the lives of families – families of the workers and the employers we serve. Our work at WDBCCC, and that of our partners, is so important at this point in time. Families who have experienced one or more job losses due to COVID-19 are struggling to make ends meet. Employers are doing everything they can to keep their employees on the payroll and their doors open. We are thankful to be a part of the solution.

As the impact of the coronavirus began to unfold last spring, we reacted quickly and worked with our partners to make available resources to help workers and employers bounce back from the pandemic. Our workload increased significantly, and our team has risen to the occasion, stepping up to ensure information and resources are being disseminated and relief funding is rolling out to workers and employers.

Through it all, our board members – we welcomed 10 new board members in 2020 – have all been supportive and engaged, allowing us to respond swiftly to community needs.

As we close out November, we do so with much care and concern for our community, and with gratitude for everyone who works to provide essential support and services to our community; our board members; public agencies; community-based organizations; essential workers; and a multitude of valuable partners, and my special thanks to our WDB staff. 

With gratitude,
Donna Van Wert
Executive Director, Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa
The Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County is accepting applications through Dec. 2 for layoff aversion grants through its Small-Business Grant Program. The program provides up to $5,000 in assistance for micro-businesses within Contra Costa County with the goal of helping businesses retain their employees and keep their doors open.
Priority will be given to these types of women and minority-owned micro-businesses: retail, restaurants, hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, day spas and fitness studios. Also, priority will be given to businesses that have not received any COVID-19 related grants, such as the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or city grants.

Grants will be awarded as a reimbursement on approved purchases only.

Get the details and apply online today!
Labor Market Update header
Five workforce development agencies, including the WDBCCC, have come together to increase racial equity across the Bay Area. Through a project called Workforce Community Solutions, which was funded by a grant from the California Workforce Development Board’s Workforce Accelerator Fund, the agencies have hosted four online events focused on shifting the equity conversation as it relates to workforce development.

The events focused on:

  • Digging Deeper: Redefining Equity in the Time of Health, Economic & Racial Pandemics (stream here)
  • Equity in Practice (stream here)
  • From Equity to Emancipation: Moving Toward Liberatory Economic Advancement (stream here)
  • System Action: Getting Started and Moving Equity Forward (stream here)

Workforce Community Solutions offers opportunities for workforce, education, asset development, justice, community-based organizations, businesses, philanthropy/government and their partners to identify strategies to close the racial and gender income and wealth gaps for the most vulnerable community members within San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties. The other core planning team members are Bay Area Community Resources (BACR), Pathways Consultants, San Francisco Human Rights Commission (HRC) and Oakland Department of Violence Prevention.

Initially, the project’s focus was on breaking down workforce system silos to increase economic equity across the three-county region, explained Kim Coulthurst, Partner and Co-founder of Pathways Consulting. The project leveraged the timing of the triple pandemic and resulting awareness of the disproportionate impact the coronavirus had on the Black and Latinx communities and police violence against the Black community to talk more openly and directly about racial inequities in workforce development.

There were more than 430 participants across the four events, and they opened up in ways Ruth Barajas, Director of Workforce & Education Programs at BACR, had not seen before.

“The people who have been in the conversations have been pleasantly surprised about the openness folks have around race and equity in a way that we haven’t seen in these circles before,” Barajas said.

Barajas encourages system leaders to get involved and familiarize themselves with the equity work being done by their counterparts in the region. Coulthurst adds that the workforce system is changing, and workforce leaders must also work to change systems that are harming people.

“If we’re not addressing them, talking about them, building something different, we are doing harm, and we have a responsibility to communities to not continue to do harm and to continue to uplift folks and empower folks that we work with to achieve what they want to achieve,” Coulthurst said.

The next Workforce Community Solutions event, titled “Community- and Worker-Centered Organizing & Advocacy to Advance Economic Equity,” is Dec. 3. (Register here)
Join WDBCCC and the California Employers Association for a free webinar on Dec. 9, from 12-1 p.m., to learn about the benefits and risks of an Employee Handbook. An employee handbook is one of the most important communications tools you can have between your company and your employees. Not only does it set forth your expectations for your employees, but it also describes what they can expect from you and ensures your business complies with state and federal employment laws.

Also learn about:

  • Essential provisions
  • Policies required by state and federal law
  • Recommended policies such as social media
  • What not to put in an Employee Handbook  
Employer Spotlight header
The East Bay Health Workforce Partnership is an effort of employers, community leaders and education leaders committed to increasing training and hiring opportunities for local, diverse community members. The Partnership’s membership includes all major health providers, large outpatient clinics and safety-net providers, in addition to educational institutions and community-based organizations that share its commitment to workforce issues to improve the lives of community members.
“The real work of the Partnership is to integrate with the community to create career paths and to create a qualified workforce,” said Bob Redlo, coordinator of the partnership. “The Partnership is led by the needs and demands of our employers and with the commitment to train and hire our community residents.”
The Partnership is most effective through the work of its three major workgroups: the Primary Care Workgroup, the Behavioral Health Workgroup and the West County Health Pathway Partnership.
The Primary Care Workgroup has focused its work on career opportunities in allied health and primary care positions. Because of the effects of COVID-19, the Primary Care Workgroup has concentrated its work over the last eight months on primary care wellness and burnout. They have worked closely with the Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association to provide counseling and assistance to front-line primary care providers. Front-line providers now have the ability to receive free assistance during these difficult times.
The Behavioral Health Workgroup has focused on training programs in Alameda, including behavioral health coach training and peer-to-peer behavioral health opportunities. In addition, the Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health Sciences will be offering a brand-new training program in spring 2021 for behavioral health specialists.

The most active workgroup is the West County Health Pathway Partnership, WCHPP, a collaborative of education, community-based and employer partners committed to expanded and equitable access to healthcare careers for youth and community residents in Contra Costa’s West County. This past year, the work group recently merged with the grassroots Healthy Richmond, a move that has resulted in increased enrollment in training programs because of the increased exposure, Redlo said.
Redlo counts the Health Workforce Partnership as a success:
“We’ve been able to create a multitude of training programs – behavioral health, dental, medical assistants, high-level opportunities, as well as certificate programs – that we haven’t had before,” he said. “We’ve been able to break down the barriers in training and hiring so that diversity and equity are acknowledged. Our community residents now have more opportunities in health-related fields to get into career path programs and attain secure, well-paid jobs and have opportunity to grow. We have created a model for success that we need to continue to build on.”
Bounce Back Contra Costa