CAN RESTAURANTS BECOME DRIVERS OF OPPORTUNITY—NOT INEQUALITY?

To Prosper in a New Era, Eateries Will Have to Reckon With Issues Left to Simmer on the Back Burner

Thousands of restaurants have closed for good across America since WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic last March. Many others remain temporarily shuttered; the remainder limp by with sales a fraction of what they were. Even with the arrival of a new administration and new vaccines, millions of restaurant workers continue to be out of work today, as the pandemic rounds its second year.

But the current disruption in the restaurant industry, for all the pain and economic loss it’s caused, provides an opening to disrupt the established models, and reckon with both the decline of hospitality and the reality of restaurant inequality. To recover and thrive in the years ahead, this essential American business will need to bring its time-honored cultural traditions into greater alignment with the social movements that define our times.

To start with, consider the slew of new options to purchase commercially prepared food that have flooded the marketplace in the last year. These options include delivery platforms, meal subscriptions, and online storefronts with offsite “ghost kitchens.” Takeout and delivery sales have skyrocketed, as have lines at the local drive-thru. Clearly, those who can afford to eat out occasionally are still buying and consuming food that they do not make themselves.

A shadowy army of workers has sprung up to staff these operations. Many are precariously employed, armed with some combination of a vehicle, a mobile app, a mask, and hand sanitizer. By connecting people to food through wordless hand-offs or drop-offs of plastic-wrapped edibles, these people are doing the human labor that Silicon Valley would rather automate than improve. It’s paying work, but we should be alarmed by this trend, which represents the decline of hospitality . . . . full article at Zocola Public Square


An even bigger battle for gig worker rights is on the horizon

“The first feeling I had was shock, disbelief and hurt,” Vanessa Bain, a worker-organizer with Gig Workers Collective, told TechCrunch. “It didn’t feel good to think that my fellow Californians voted to strip people like myself and my co-workers of our labor rights.. . . . We didn’t have time for more grieving because as soon as it passed, every company signaled they’re looking to expand this model to the national level, which means our organizing needs to adjust accordingly,” Bain said.”

But Prop 22 does not mark the end of the battle of the status of gig workers. Gig workers, lawyers and activists affiliated with Gig Workers Rising, Gig Workers Collective, the National Employment Law Project and the Partnership for Working Families are all gearing up to redouble their efforts in the New Year.

But the same goes for gig companies. Uber and Lyft are ready to take legislation similar to Prop 22 into other parts of the country and the world. So, really, the fight has just begun. In the year ahead, we will likely see lobbying efforts from both gig companies and gig worker organizations alike, as well as more lawsuits. full story here


Verdugo Jobs Center, Glendale CA – Jobs & Services Information During Covid-19

Covid-19 Assistance Program

The VJC continues to offer its COVID-19 assistance program for workers who access our employment services.
Click here  to learn more about this program.


Covid -19 Information for Workers

Please see our COVID-19 Information for Workers webpage for up-to-date information and resources for job seekers.
Click here for this information


VJC Program Update

To help protect the health and safety of our community, the VJC continues to provide services virtually. Our job search area is closed to the public. To speak to a case manager who can connect you with our career services, please contact us at (818) 937-8000 or AskVJC@glendaleca.gov.


New Training Opportunity for People with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities are invited to apply to participate in our free Safety CQIA training program.
Click here to view the flyer.

Software Developer Drought: Where are you in Demand?

With an increasing need for software by non-tech companies, a developer drought is growing outside of Silicon Valley.

Turns out there’s a major need for software developers outside of the traditional geo-center of Silicon Valley. Despite COVID-19, states in the US heartland are actively hiring developers. Plus, professionals on the West Coast are reassessing work-life opportunities and exploring start-up prospects outside the Valley and other tech hotspots.

This isn’t a shift to remote workers. In July and August, 92% of software developer job ads on three leading employment sites were for work-on-premises jobs. Apparently, employers are slow to embrace remote working.

The data comes from Mendix, a Siemens business involved in low-code application development. The company recently launched the Mendix 2020 Software Developer Drought Index, an effort to track hiring shortages for developers on the US county and state levels. click here for full article . . .


California’s Powerful, But Obscure, Answer to the Covid Jobs Crisis – Workforce Development Boards

Zocalo Public Square, by MICHAEL BERNICK | JULY 10, 2020

You May Never Have Heard of Your Local Workforce Development Boards, but They Know How to Move the State Forward

A “Now Hiring” sign at a CVS Pharmacy during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco. California’s unemployment rate nearly tripled in April because of the economic fallout from coronavirus pandemic. Courtesy of Jeff Chiu/Associated Press.

We can bring jobs back to California, and we can do it right now. The latest employment numbers should provide the sense of urgency. An additional 287,354 new unemployment insurance claims were filed just for the week ending June 20, bringing the total to more than 6.7 million claims filed in California since mid-March, and $33.5 billion in unemployment benefits paid. Our California economy is now surviving in good part on unemployment insurance payments.

To understand how to respond to the current predicament, Californians should turn to the front lines of employment: California’s network of 45 local workforce development boards. Though these boards are not well known, they represent the heart of the public workforce system in California. Overseen by locally appointed business and labor representatives, workforce development boards administer the bulk of the federal and state job training and placement funds in the state, totaling more than $1 billion. They interact daily with job seekers and local businesses. 

Fresno’s board is one of the larger bodies, with a budget of nearly $19 million, 31 direct staff, and more than 200 contractors involved in job training and placement. It serves an area population of just under 1 million, with unemployment and poverty rates that have been well above the state average for decades. Blake Konczal, the board’s executive director since 2002, started his career during the economic downturn in 1992, providing placement services to laid-off Southern California aerospace workers. He has experience with several other downturns since then and is active in current Central Valley recovery efforts.

In my recent conversations with Konczal and other board directors, they emphasize that there is no silver bullet for recovery. Rather, their experiences with the current and previous downturns point to a series of five strategies to bring back California jobs. click here for full story at Zocalo Public Square

Your Employment Network – Verdugo Job Center Has Gone Virtual!

Due to recent circumstances surrounding COVID-19 the VJC is providing virtual services and meetings by appointments only. VJC is closed to walk-in clients. You can still meet with your EN counselor by making an appointment. Please call us at 818-937-8000 for more information or an appointment.

4 sentences to make your cover letter get noticed

Ladders founder Marc Cenedella has reviewed thousands of cover letters. Here’s his advice on writing one that is certain to get attention.

Writing an effective cover letter has changed a lot in the past few years. Gone are the formal, stilted rules governing the “Dear Sir/Madam” page-length introductions. As attention spans shrink, emails pile up, and recruiters and HR people are busier than ever, cover letters have simplified.

Now the cover letter is shorter, to the point, and reinforces your pitch to prospective employers by highlighting what’s great about your “brand.” And its purpose is to get your résumé read.

A great cover letter does this by connecting the positive achievements of your past and future to the present needs of future employers. Your cover letter does this by touching on four points about your career: your yesterday, your today, your tomorrow, and your enthusiasm. One great sentence for each of these points is all you’ll need. And it should invite response by making it very clear what you’re looking to do next and why.

Here’s how it breaks down. . . . full story

10 tech companies transforming retail for 2020 and beyond

From robots that do inventory to stores with no employees – policy makers need to keep an eye on some of these innovations

According to the Commerce Department online only accounts for about 12% of sales, leaving the rest to be made up by physical stores. Technology is bringing some big changes to retail in the coming years. And policy makers need to keep an eye on some of these innovations.

Do we want stores with no employees? AiFI a Calif. startup is using artificial intelligence to fully automate the retail experience. Being able to walk into a market, pick up what you want and leave – while AI tracks you and everything you leave with, charging your credit card post-departure – may provide great convenience, but what about consumer privacy and what about the loss of retail jobs ? Bossa Nova is a robotics company that provides stores like Wal-Mart with a robot that roams the aisles checking inventory. San Diego’s Brain Corp provides robotic janitors for retail spaces. Other companies, like Pixvana are embracing workers and developing software to help in their job training, while RocketFuel another new company is working on ways to enhance the security of consumer online payments.

link to an article about this in Design News