The Second Stimulus Package: Jobseeker, Employer Highlights
Virtual Celebration to Honor the Life of the Late Tom Guarino
Webinar: Resources for Laid-Off, Furloughed Employees
WDB RFPs for Pre-Apprenticeship Construction, Youth Programs
Find Businesses by City Using Searchable Online Map
Labor Market Update
Board Spotlight: Terry Curley Improving the Lives of Working People
Partner Spotlight: AMBayArea, Partners Create New Tool to Find Online Manufacturing Training Courses
This is our first edition of the new year, and we are looking forward to sharing great news in 2021, as we work with our regional partners to help jobseekers and employers (and our local economy) bounce back from the pandemic. We also are looking forward to the new Biden Administration and its support for workforce development programs.

Patience Ofodu, Interim Executive Director, WDBCCC
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As Congress focuses on the Biden Administration’s proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus plan to help families and the economy recover from the pandemic, relief from the stimulus package signed into law in December is rolling out. What does the $900 billion coronavirus aid package mean for Contra Costa County jobseekers and businesses?

We’ve put together some of the highlights.


For jobseekers, the December stimulus package:

  • Restores the federal increase for all unemployment benefits, which adds $300 to each week of benefits for up to 11 weeks through March 13, 2021.
  • Extends by 11 weeks the The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides jobless benefits to business owners, self-employed workers, independent contractors, and those with a limited work history who are out of business or have significantly reduced their services as a direct result of the pandemic.
  • Extends the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program, providing for an additional 11 weeks of payments to those who have exhausted their regular state benefits, beginning Dec. 27, 2020.
  • Continues the federally funded FED-ED through March 14, 2021, providing up to 20 weeks of additional benefits for people who used all of their unemployment benefits during a period of high unemployment.
  • Provides a supplement of $100 per week to certain “mixed earners” who received at least $5,000 a year in self-employment income but were eligible for regular unemployment, not Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.


For employers, the December stimulus package:

  • Re-opens the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides loans to help businesses keep their workforce employed during the coronavirus crisis to fund payroll costs, including benefits. Funds can also be used to pay for mortgage interest, rent, utilities, worker protection costs related to COVID-19, uninsured property damage costs caused by looting or vandalism during 2020, and certain supplier costs and expenses for operations. Get the details.
  • Creates the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, which includes $15 billion for venues that include live venues, theaters and museum operators. Get the details
  • The second round of the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program opens Feb. 2 and closes Feb. 8, with approval notification going out Feb. 11-18. Get the details.
Paying tribute
tom guano
Last month, we were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of WDB Board Member Tom Guarino. Tom, who worked in governmental relations for PG&E, joined the board in July 2020 and served on the Business & Economic Development Committee.

"We lament our loss," WDB Board Chair Yolanda Vega said. "Although he served our board a short while, we want to recognize his enthusiasm and commitment."  

Tom’s obituary in the East Bay Times described him as "a man of depth, warmth, wicked humor, generosity and complexity. He touched the lives of so many people and will live through each of us in the connections he forged.” 

Come together with others to celebrate Tom on Saturday (1/30), from noon-2 p.m. during a virtual gathering to honor his life. 

If you have lost your job or have been furloughed as a result of COVID-19, you likely are wondering what help is out there to see you through this challenging time and get you on track for the future. Join us online every first and third Thursday of the month at 2 p.m. for a webinar where you can get your questions answered. 
Experts from the WDB and the State of California Employment Development Department (EDD) will be on hand to answer questions about unemployment insurance, healthcare coverage and additional resources.

WDB has issued two requests for proposal – one for the Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training Program and Placement Services and another for Youth Program Services.

The RFP for Pre-Apprenticeship Construction Training Program and Placement Services targets low-income individuals with barriers to employment in East Contra Costa County (defined as the region from Bay Point to the eastern boundary of the county), under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) with Contra Costa County Employment & Human Services Department. 

The RFP for Youth Program Services seeks proposals for the delivery of WIOA Title I Youth Services in Contra Costa County. Successful bidders will provide youth workforce development services, including the required WIOA youth program elements, in an approach designed to enhance participants’ essential employability skills and assist youth in pursuing and achieving their educational and career goals. 

Learn more about these two opportunities.
Check out East Bay EDA’s enhanced searchable regional map for every listing in the 2021 edition of the East Bay Book of Lists. You can filter on different resource categories, search for business resources by city, or even find a contact by searching an organization name. It's an invaluable resource for any business or entity looking to grow or access resources in the region!
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Board Spotlight
Terry Curley
WDBCCC Board Member Terry Curley, executive vice president of the Labor Service Division at United Business Bank, joined the WDB board in July 2018, after former Board Chair Buphen Amin encouraged her to learn more about the organization’s work. Her role in commercial banking has been primarily to provide financial services to organized labor locals, labor trust funds and labor affiliates, so the WDB was a good fit in terms of labor, business and community all working together, Curley said.

“I have a shared vision to improve the lives of working people,” Curley said. “It’s a common social justice mission that is also aligned with the workforce development board. As a woman of faith, I truly believe I have a responsibility to give back to the community. Throughout my career I have been involved with organized labor and have witnessed income, racial and gender inequality, and I feel my service could help to bridge the gap.”

Curley said she didn’t initially know the full extent of WDB’s work in the community, including the variety of resources it provides for disenfranchised and displaced workers, as well as workers who have disabilities or have been incarcerated and how these services help to improve their lives and the lives of their families.

In 2021, Curley is looking forward to continuing to help Contra Costa workers that have been affected by COVID-19. 

“It’s going to be a challenge to help people, especially those who have been displaced, to pivot to alternative employment opportunities,” Curley said.

Outside of her WDB service, Curley serves on the board and finance committee of St. Mary’s Center, in West Oakland. She is married, enjoys yoga and playing golf, as well as cooking and entertaining for her family and friends.
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COVID-19 limited in-person skills training opportunities, even as workers who lost their jobs due to the pandemic needed it. Last summer, EASTBAYWorks and its partner WDB’s (Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Oakland, Richmond), teamed up with AMBayArea (an association of manufacturers) and the Bay Area Community Colleges to create a solution. (WDBCCC is among the workforce development boards that provides funding support to AMBayArea.)

Together, they developed a search tool called the Online Manufacturing Course Catalog. The search tool includes more than 1,400 online manufacturing courses that have been vetted to ensure they offer high-quality training. It also includes more than 600 in-person manufacturing courses offered at Bay Area Community Colleges. Users can filter by training provider, price type, difficulty, format, language, career category and skills, so they can quickly narrow down their search without having to scroll through page after page.

“There are ways of upgrading your skillset through online, and there are quite a number of courses out there, some free, others relatively low-cost, that can help you find careers and find out if you’re interested in those careers,” said Mark Martin, the Bay Area Community Colleges’ regional director of Advanced Manufacturing Employer Engagement, and an AMBayArea Board Member.
manufacturing course search tool
Screenshot of search tool
The training search tool can be accessed for free on the AMBayArea website. 

Martin explained the search tool was designed for a range of manufacturing workers, from beginners to experienced workers. There are introductory courses for workers transitioning from another industry, such as retail or hospitality or other industries hard-hit by the pandemic. There are also courses for experienced manufacturing workers who want to add to their skillset to land a new job. Even current workers can upskill for better performance in their current job.

The search tool is especially helpful for workforce development counselors. It puts training options at their finger tips while working with workers. 

“We really wanted to have a way to find online courses that will make it a lot easier for the counselors to find training opportunities for their clients,” Martin said. “The need for this tool was driven by the lack of in-person courses available during the current crisis.”

Find the training you need to gain new skills in manufacturing or share this link with someone who would be interested:
Bounce Back Contra Costa