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Business and local economy

“Getting a job is the key, the key that unlocks a whole lot of doors for the folks we serve.”

– Supervisor Simitian

Year Up: Jobs for young adults

Year Up’s one-year program works with young adults, ages 18-24, who are unemployed and not in school, and motivated to acquire additional training which includes communication and workplace skills needed in business. After training, students intern with a local company for six months. Year Up then helps them make the transition to new careers or school. In 2016 Supervisor Simitian championed a broader effort that enables the Year Up program model to scale to additional sites. As a result, Year Up now brings its Career Readiness Curriculum to places where students are already pursuing education towards a job.

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Mature workers job-coaching program

Because age-discrimination in the job market is real, and even highly qualified applicants need help transitioning or reentering the job market, Supervisor Simitian successfully pushed to establish an older adults job training and counseling program. Working with trusted non-profits in the community, Peninsula Family Services and NOVAworks, older adults attend workshops and one-on-one career advising sessions helping them learn skills to reenter the workforce or switch careers.

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Good Karma Bikes: Jobs training for disadvantaged youth

The Good Karma Bikes College Opportunity and Outreach Program works with former foster and other disadvantaged youth, ages 18-26. Young adults attend the two-year Good Karma program learning bicycle mechanics, customer service, sales and e-commerce skills before working part-time in the shop. While in college, they become peer-mentors to a new group of participants. In 2015, Supervisor Simitian led efforts to increase funding which allowed Good Karma Bikes to double the size of their small but effective program.

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Job training and placement for the homeless

More than 80% of the homeless in Santa Clara County are unemployed with little access to job-training, transportation and support. Understanding that job creation can lead the way to permanent housing, Supervisor Simitian encouraged a business outreach and development program through the nonprofit, Downtown Streets Team. Two parts make up the program: engaging the homeless in work projects that retool skills and work habits as needed; and, developing relationships with local employers to identify job-placement opportunities for trainees.

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“Mature Workers” return to workforce webinar

In late January of 2022, Supervisor Simitian, along with NOVAworks and Peninsula Family Service, hosted a webinar entitled “Mature Workers: Vital to Today's Diverse Labor Force”. The event showcased how mature workers, those over the age of 50, have relevant experience and abilities they can bring to today's workforce. Peninsula Family Service and NOVAworks were on the panel and discussed how their programs can help mature workers get ready for reentry into the workforce. An alumni of their programs was also on the panel to discuss how the program benefitted them.

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Fee cap to protect restaurants and consumers

During a critical time in the pandemic when restaurants were struggling to find ways to continue to stay open and pay staff and residents were looking for ways to access already cooked food, the Board of Supervisors adopted a proposal by Supervisor Simitian and his colleague to place a temporary cap on commissions and fees third-party food delivery services charged local restaurants. The Urgency Ordinance applied throughout Santa Clara County, including all 15 incorporated cities and the unincorporated County, except in cities with a more restrictive cap on order and delivery fees (the more restrictive provision/ordinance applies).

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Supporting small businesses during the pandemic

In December 2020, Supervisors Simitian and Ellenberg proposed a $100 million-dollar small business loan program. Small businesses across the County were facing the prospect of continued losses, layoffs, and bankruptcy, while they remained closed or in reduced operations due to the pandemic.

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Ada’s Cafe job training

Supervisor Simitian recommended County funding for Ada’s Café, which creates unique employment opportunities for adults with disabilities who face obstacles to full employment. Employees are trained in food preparation, customer service, and other professional skills, interacting with the larger community while also earning a paycheck.

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Restaurant grading

Under Supervisor Simitian's leadership, the Board approved a food safety scoring system readily available to consumers. Based on visits from County health inspectors to restaurants and other food-serving facilities, such as grocery and convenience stores, bakeries, and school cafeterias, the inspection system is designed to ensure that if a restaurant’s door is open, the food is safe to eat.

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The largest career-oriented education organization in Santa Clara County for high school and adult students, MetroED’s Silicon Valley Career Technical Education (SVCTE) program provides career technical education for high school students (and adult students, on a space-available basis) from a half dozen local school districts. With County funding initiated by Supervisor Simitian, MetroED will develop two new programs: a nursing science program to support the growing demand for health care workers in Santa Clara County, and an electrical vehicle program to address the growing demand for service in the electric vehicle market.

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