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Transcript- Episode 107: The Future of Work Conference: Bridging the Gap Between Education and Employment Episode 107

Nov 21, 2023

V2_FOW_Keynote Recap_11_9_2023


00:00:00 Stewart

The colleges have good connections with the employers, and we have really good connections with employers. How do we become that placement arm for those community college systems so that those folks are actually making that placement at hand in time?


00:00:10 Stewart

And I was just talking to our labor friends today, that's the kind of work that we want to see - is like hand off the hard hat as soon as we finish the community college system so that they're able to go to work.


00:00:22 Christina

The workforce landscape is rapidly changing, and educators and their institutions need to keep up. Preparing students before they enter the workforce to make our communities and businesses stronger is at the core of getting an education.


00:00:35 Christina

But we need to understand how to change and adjust so that we can begin to project where things are headed before we even get there. So, how do we begin to predict the future?


00:00:47 Salvatrice

Hi, I'm Salvatrice Cummo, Vice President of Economic and Workforce Development at Pasadena City College and host of this podcast.


00:00:56 Christina

And I'm Christina Barsi, producer and co-host of this podcast.


00:00:59 Salvatrice

And we are starting the conversation about the future of work. We'll explore topics like how education can partner with industry, how to be more equitable, and how to attain one of our highest goals: more internships and PCC students in the workforce.


00:01:13 Salvatrice

We at Pasadena City College want to lead the charge in closing the gap between what our students are learning and what the demands of the workforce will be once they enter. This is a conversation that impacts all of us. You the employers, the policymakers, the educational institutions, and the community as a whole.


00:01:33 Christina

We believe change happens when we work together and it all starts with having a conversation. I'm Christina Bari.


00:01:41 Salvatrice

And I'm Salvatrice Cummo, and this is the Future of Work.


00:01:44 Salvatrice

Welcome to our 2023 Future of Work Conference located on this beautiful campus of Pasadena City College, it's a pleasure to work here. I enjoy my time here very, very much.


00:01:56 Salvatrice

All of us are friends here in this space and it's also a pleasure to see recognized faces, new friends, old friends, but most importantly, it's just a really another great day of insightful conversations, amazing speakers, and of course, the networking that we were just doing moments ago.


00:02:15 Salvatrice

This year we really wanted to bring together academia, industry, and for the first time labor and trade representation to our conference to really talk about how our systems collaborate or need to collaborate to effectively drive student and work success. Particularly, when it comes to key industry sector of infrastructure.


00:02:35 Salvatrice

So, we're going to keep that in mind as we go throughout the day. Think about how we interpret and how we view, and how we contribute to infrastructure.


00:02:44 Salvatrice

Although little did we know that this would be a year of significant activity that we've seen for labor movement with this past summer now being labeled as the Summer of Strikes. Providing once again that our future of work conference has its finger right on the pulse of key workforce issues impacting our region.


00:03:02 Salvatrice

Our goal this year is to continue this evolving discussion. We started this conversation in 2019, with the important question of how do we better serve our students, our regional employers, and our community as we consider the future of work.


00:03:17 Salvatrice

We are so grateful to have you and our esteemed speakers here with us today for this very, very important conversation.


00:03:24 Salvatrice

Now, it is my distinct pleasure to be able to welcome another great friend to Pasadena College to the podium, Stewart Knox, our Secretary of California Labor & Workforce Development Agency, come on up. That's right.


00:03:40 Salvatrice

Secretary Knox assumed the role in December, 2022. His impressive career includes pivotal roles such as under Secretary of the Labor & Workforce Development Agency, and senior Vice President of Calbright Community College.


00:03:53 Salvatrice

Throughout his tenure, Secretary Knox has demonstrated a remarkable ability to transform workforce development entities into productive, performance-driven and accountable organizations. And we are grateful for the many times that he has taken our calls (my calls particularly) to talk through workforce issues and offer his guidance.


00:04:14 Salvatrice

Please join me in saying a warm welcome to Secretary Knox.


00:04:24 Stewart

Thank you so much for having me today and I appreciate the time. I see we have our division of apprenticeship standards folks here, our labor friends are here, community colleges, our workforce boards are here as well. So, it's good to see that we are all connecting, which is I think the main point of my conversation today on the future of work.


00:04:40 Stewart

But just thinking about how our work has changed in the last three years and just thinking ahead of what AI is going to do for the future of work for us as well, but also, how it's going to change people's jobs and lives.


00:04:52 Stewart

But I think one of the things I want to talk a little bit about is the workforce development system as a whole and how the community college partnership is so key to that. I should also mention I did work for a community college for seven years prior to working for Calbright.


00:05:05 Stewart

I worked for Yuba Community College and I ran the workforce development programs and their economic development programs with contract education. And so, I think also adding in contract debt is a key component of the work that I think from the workforce boards, how we see how valuable the education system is for us.


00:05:21 Stewart

So, here's some stats, the other day, I'm sure we've all heard these before and it's probably going to change from week to week - but a high school student that graduates this year will change jobs 10 plus times in their career in their lifetime ahead.


00:05:32 Stewart

So, I think thinking about that as what the future of work is going to look like, and we have what we call the cradle-to-career programs at the state level as well. And we have these conversations around how important it is the people continue their education in their lifespan because it's going to be an ever-evolving change in the way we do work.


00:05:51 Stewart

I've changed careers seven times in my 29 years of doing workforce development in one way or another, going from a community college system to a workforce board to a health and human services agency director, running the employment training panel for Governor Brown and then for the Newsom administration.


00:06:05 Stewart

So, while it's all streamed around workforce development, for the most part, it's just how key it is for us in the workforce development world to know that these jobs are going to be ever-evolving and changing. AI is going to affect us probably tremendously for many ways and many years to come.


00:06:21 Stewart

And I think one of the things the governor's put out an executive order on is for the state agencies to look at not only how it change its business, but also how it's going to change state operations, how it's going to affect people's lives and work and how we also (I hate to use the word contain it) think about how we do contain it to some level. Because it also isn't always a positive thing as we see transitions in life.


00:06:43 U_UKN

I talk about this often about how I started my career, which was really working with dislocated workers in education component of teaching GED to workers who had lost their jobs. We call this just transition and our labor friends we know this world too well of like there is no real just transition. As we start to see economies evolve and change, we realize that people that have to have these education moves in their life, it's going to be ever-evolving.


00:07:08 Stewart

And so, when I started my career, I worked with timber industry traditionally, and what they did was we saw this spotted ally ... I don't know if anybody remembers this, the Northwest Economic Adjustment Initiative back in the 90s where it just decimated the timber industry in the North State. Policy decision? Probably the right decision, maybe, don't know - thousands of jobs were lost. And so, how did we take those leaders within those communities and regain those jobs back.


00:07:32 Stewart

We're going to see this in the oil industry. We already have 40-plus million dollars we've put out just recently to actually see those transitions as we start to move people out of those jobs into new green jobs. So, a little bit of our work and a look at our workforce boards and friends is thinking about how we have the funding at this point in time.


00:07:54 Stewart

And this governor with our legislature has been amazing in terms of, he mentioned $5.4 billion has been pumped into the workforce development system in the last three years. A lot of it, actually almost $200 million to the division of apprenticeship standards on apprenticeship training programs.


00:08:09 Stewart

How do we start to think about how this is connecting to the community college systems? And so, while the college system is massive and huge, 116 community colleges and 73 districts through the state of California, we have 45 local workforce boards. We want to see that integration. I know it's happening in many areas in the state of California, we want to see it more.


00:08:29 Stewart

Our system is much more focused obviously, on underserved populations, populations that typically haven't had the opportunity to go to community college or to any college. So, how do we start to actually have a case management system for which we run on our side to be better connected to our community college systems. Career centers within the community college system, how do we actually have career centers that we may even operate within your campuses?


00:08:53 Stewart

As a matter of fact, when they came to me and said, "We want you to run our career center at the campus," I said, "Oh, I don't want to run your career center at the campus." It felt like it was just keeping students through the two-year cycle, but they weren't really focusing on actual careers at the end.


00:09:07 Stewart

And they said, "Yeah, you're right, we want to change that." So, I said, "Sure, we can come in and we run your career center." So, we ran the career center, we were also helped by the college, it was a little bit easier. But we ran the career center as a part of the program. And so, we really focused on those CTE programs.


00:09:21 Stewart

So, what we did is we actually embedded our career counselors into those CTE programs in the beginning, into the fall, and in the spring semesters as they started to exit. So, what kind of support services could be provided to folks that may need support services.


00:09:37 Stewart

If they were in post-academy, did they need to close? If they were in the RN training, what did they need? And we could provide those support services to them. So, these are kind of the hands-on examples that we could actually do better I think within our system to work with our community colleges and partner with them.


00:09:54 Stewart

Then for the placement services, the colleges have good connections with the employers and we have really good connections with employers. How do we become that placement arm for those community college systems so that those folks are actually making that placement hand in time?


00:10:06 Stewart

And I was just talking to our labor friends today, that's the kind of work that we want to see, is like hand off the hard hat as soon as we finish the community college system so that they're able to go to work.


00:10:15 Stewart

Talk a little bit about the apprenticeship training programs, I think one of the core components of apprenticeship that we see is these are good-paying jobs. These are typically union-led jobs, these are good-paying jobs. We have worker voice. And so, the three main components of the Labor Agency is worker voice and protections are unemployment and UI and SDI and workers' comp benefit programs, and our workforce development programs.


00:10:38 Stewart

And so, how do we start to align even within our own house, because we have four different workforce development programs under the Labor Agency. We have the employment training panel, division of apprenticeship standards, workforce development board, and a workforce services branch, which is part of EDD, which runs the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act Funds, lots of acronyms. And so, those are our four programs.


00:10:58 Stewart

We've started to put together those four entities in a much broader way for the state of California. The governor is really all in on trying to make sure that our data inputs match our data outputs. Also, same issue with the community colleges. How do we actually have the data that the community colleges need?


00:11:13 Stewart

And when I say that is we also run off of the unemployment insurance is what we call the base wage file. So, the base wage file is how we connect back to how did the student do? Were they successful? Did we actually have earnings increases? Were they employed in the second and fourth quarter? After employment, did they actually get wage gains?


00:11:31 Stewart

We can do some of that through division of apprenticeship standards, especially with our union partners to make sure that happens. But we also can do it through the base wage file. So, I think there's a lot of complexities here that I'm talking about that are actually fairly detailed. But these are the things that the state needs to make sure that we're connecting to our community colleges, and foster that relationship so that your community colleges also know how you're doing.


00:11:52 Stewart

We do that bits and pieces throughout the state now, and it's very complicated and we're trying to streamline that into one comprehensive system.


00:11:59 Stewart

So, for the future of work, I think one of the main components that we really want to just propose I think today, is really thinking about how it's a lifelong journey. I know the community colleges know this really well. How do we get students in, back into the classrooms because I know we've lost a little bit of the population during COVID.


00:12:16 Stewart

I would say look to our system to do that. Our system is ramped back up. It's fully online again. And so, now, we've seen the increase has already started on our side. We had a dip in enrollments as well, just like everybody else did during COVID. Those numbers have increased widely. The apprenticeship training programs, those numbers have increased greatly to hit the goal of 500,000 for the governor.


00:12:38 Stewart

We've gone from about 90 plus thousand per year, we're at 154, 157. This is with traditional and non-traditional under the division of apprenticeship standards. So, we want to continue to grow those. Those jobs need to be the well-paying jobs. And so, that's one of the key components I think that the education plays in this, is those certifications for credit piece is important as is non-credit.


00:13:02 Stewart

And then looking at the non-credit piece, also, of how do we make the non-credit work that is transferable. So, what I'm talking about here is credit for prior learning. And so, from our system, we really look at credit for prior learning as one of the key components that employers look at and say, "How does the work that they've done in the past apply to the work that they're moving towards now? How do we do that in the education system? How does CPL start to work into the education system?" And so, competency-based education is the way to go with this.


00:13:28 Stewart

Now, it's not easy. I understand that, we get that. I work with academic senates in my career as well. And so, we need to make sure that we engage with our academic senates as well, that we're moving folks into these careers and these CTE programs that have credits because as we are going to see cradle-to-career work, they're going to have to have those credits move up.


00:13:51 Stewart

And so, if you're getting non-credit, what's the value add? It is the certification, good paying job, that's great. What happens when that job goes away potentially? And so, this is the stuff that we were thinking about at the state level of how do we make this happen.


00:14:03 Stewart

So, looking to all of you, thinking this through with us is the goal for today. The takeaways from us is going to be how do we actually look at laws? I know that the governor signed the executive order, I think going on four and a half weeks, five weeks ago, where we would do the career pathways.


00:14:18 Stewart

And so, this is the type of work we're going to work with the legislature in the upcoming session is to thinking what laws currently are working, what's not working? Is there trailer bills that we need to actually propose to actually change some of the laws to make this work better?


00:14:33 Stewart

We've got a list of eight or nine and on the workforce development side, we're working with the chancellor's office on. There's a couple laws that need to be updated, we know that for a fact. And so, we're going to work with the legislature to make that happen.


00:14:44 Stewart

In terms of funding, this year's probably not going to be another banner year in terms of our state budget, but I will say because the governor and the legislature has put so much money into the system and especially in workforce and community college system, that I think there's a lot of leverage that we have there, and we have a lot of ways that we can make our money work in a way with the Career Pathways Initiative.


00:15:04 Stewart

These are already initiatives that we've been thinking through. The apprenticeship, the 200 million, the 65 million that's on the youth side, the 135 million for the Apprenticeship Innovation Fund (I always have to remember all my acronyms), AIF we call it - that reimbursement model is much like the RSI model. And so, how do we grow that to a point for which we're starting to get new industry involved, new labor partners involved, and how do we grow that?


00:15:29 Stewart

Examples for me is thinking of UFCW. They have about a hundred thousand plus members within the union, less than 10,000 are apprenticeships. That's the meat cutters union typically. We used to have confectioners apprenticeship. How do we actually grow a confectioners apprenticeship model again? How do we work with the community colleges to set up some models to make that work just like we do with the building trades?


00:15:51 Stewart

So, those are some examples of like what can we do next to actually start to grow, one, the membership, but also grow those jobs and grow good paying jobs in the future.


00:16:09 Salvatrice

Thank you for listening to the Future of Work Podcast. Make sure you're subscribed on your favorite listening platform so you can easily get new episodes every Tuesday.


00:16:18 Salvatrice

You can reach out to us by clicking on the website link below in the show notes to collaborate, partner, or just chat about all things future of work. We'd love to connect with you. All of us here at the Future of Work and Pasadena City College wish you safety and wellness.