Year End Message from VWDB Director, Judith Velasco

As we approach the end of the year, I would like to wish you and your families a happy and restful holiday season. It is my hope that you enjoy a sense of accomplishment in serving as a board member for the Verdugo Workforce Development Board during 2020. Your continued support, guidance, and contributions made it possible for us to receive distinguished recognitions and provide innovative supportive services that have provided relief to our community.

I am excited to share that the State of California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) approved our application to be a High Performing Board. This designation is conferred only to boards in California who have exceeded the application requirements. To achieve this distinction, the VWDB was required to demonstrate in our application that we exceeded all six performance measures for adult programs; exceeded all youth program performance measures; met the expenditure measure which requires us to spend 30% of our funding on training; and included a Business Services Plan that identified workforce, skill gaps, emerging industries, and growth occupations. To demonstrate the difficulty in meeting these high standards, only 39 of the 46 boards in California earned the designation. This is a proud moment for our organization and an encouraging note on which to end the year.

The end of the year provides an opportunity to reflect on challenges and successes, and when I look back on the work of the VWDB and VJC this year, I feel a profound sense of pride and gratitude for our ability to provide needed support for the communities we serve. We watched thousands of workers lose their jobs and apply for unemployment, and witnessed business owners’ confusion and distress over the uncertainty around whether they will be able to open their businesses again. In response, the VWDB and VJC developed innovative methods to provide our services virtually; and we guided members of marginalized groups, including individuals with disabilities and English Language Learners, through our life-changing resources. According to the Employment Development Department, we are one of the few workforce boards to exceed enrollment goals and almost fully expend our COVID-19 emergency grant funds. These results support the VJC’s effectiveness in getting emergency services immediately to the people who need them. To date, hundreds of participants have received supportive services of up to $3,000 per person to assist them in paying for rent, utilities, medical expenses, and other critical living expenses during this difficult time. Throughout, our board members’ support and participation, both during and outside of our scheduled meetings, have kept us moving forward. 

With all this said, there is still much work to be done. We are focused on writing our compelling Career Services Application to the State of California, which allows the VJC to continue providing our own career services. We are working on our Four-Year Local Workforce Development Plan and are looking forward to releasing our Youth Services Request for Proposal in early 2021. Your participation in these three activities will ensure their success. 

Thank you for your continued commitment to the well-being of our community. –– Judith Velasco, Executive Director Verdugo Workforce Development Board


Entertainment Industry News: Can Plastic Bubbles Make it Safe to Go to Concerts Again?

Concertgoers were escorted to their assigned bubble and ushers in hazmat suits stuck a leaf blower in the zipper of the bubble and blew it up

For those of us who sorely miss live music — count me in — outré rock band the Flaming Lips has an idea — your own personal inflatable plastic bubble. Earlier this week, the band performed live in front of an audience in Oklahoma City. All of the band members and each member of the audience were ensconced in their own “space bubble,” as lead singer Wayne Coyne calls them. They only played two songs from their new album, American Head, but the word on the street is that this was a test run for full-scale shows the band would be touring in the not-too-distant future. full article here


Entertainment Industry Depends a Great Deal on Display Technology: Here Are 16 Trends

image Corning In Vehicle Curved Display

The global display market is expected to grow to roughly $733 B in 2022, more than double the amount just 8 years ago, according to Grand View Research.

To help cover the space, the Society for Information Display (SID) hosts the annual Display Week symposium and tradeshow. Now in its 57th year, the event features an early look at advances in solid-state lighting, OLED, microLED, AR/VR/MR, printed displays, auto tech, e-paper, digital signage wearables, and more.

Like most shows, Display Week 2020 was delivered in a virtual setting. This may not have been a bad thing as the show garnished significant representation from the entire display industry, unlike in previous years when a majority of the attendees were from North America due to cost reasons.  

The gallery at link lists the leading technology and a sampling of products from this year’s symposium.

click to go to gallery and full article


August 2020 Message From the Director, Judith Velasco

I hope that you continue to move forward in health, and have found opportunities to enjoy some summertime rest and relaxation with your families during these times. The pandemic continues to influence how we go about our daily lives, and, after almost 6 months, it seems we have been doing our best to adjust to the new demands that social distancing and other health precautions have placed upon us.

With COVID cases still fluctuating, we continue to watch the job market closely for impacts and opportunities to help our communities. Though there is evidence to support the idea that someday, things will return to the way we have always known them to be, we are coming to accept that the workforce system will see some permanent changes.

We expect to embed our new, virtual mode of providing services into our daily operations on a long-term basis. Yet we are aware that in doing so, we must also take into account the technological limitations of the individuals who come to us for career services. Some may not have WiFi or access to hot spots, and others simply do not have the technological equipment, like laptops, that would enable them to access our services or work remotely at jobs they are placed at.

This will not stop us from making sure that we explore all options available to address this critical barrier to accessing workforce services virtually. We will continue to look to you, our board members, to provide us with your input on how we can address this growing need.

The month of August has also brought with it confirmation that most local school districts, in addition to many universities, will begin the school year with all students participating in distance learning. We are aware that this may impact the ability of adults with children to work full-time, and we will look to understand the full extent of this impact through the lens of the services we offer.

We continue to receive COVID-19 program guidelines and attend online trainings relating to workplace safety from our funding sources. We are communicating these to our vendors to ensure that our participants’ worksites remain compliant and safe. We also continue to enroll participants in our emergency assistance grants as well as our formula allocation. I look forward to sharing details at our upcoming board meeting.

I’d like to thank you for your continued commitment to supporting our region’s workforce through these unprecedented times.

Best, Judith Velasco, Executive Director

 

COVID-19 Giving Touchless Interfaces a Chance to Make an Impression

Touchscreens are everywhere at this point (this one from EMI Designs). But the COVID-19 pandemic could be the big break that touchless interface technologies have been waiting for.

touchscreen EMI Design

By now most of us have used some sort of touchless control. It was most likely voice control whether its Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant. Savvy engineers who use VR/AR in their workflows might even have tried using eye tracking  to control virtual interfaces and environments. Yet all we have to do is look in our pockets to realize that touch is still the king of interfaces.

But several months living in a world where touch can be hazardous to your health might change that. For many people COVID-19 pandemic has transformed ATMs, self-checkouts, payment terminals, fast food kiosks, and other shared, touch-based interfaces from a wonderful convenience into a reason to have an anxiety attack. full article here . . .

Letter from VWDB Director, Judith Velasco – May 2020

Another month has passed since the start of the pandemic, which has brought us into unprecedented and unexpected times. Adaptation, flexibility, and resilience are the traits that we have been forced to hone to make it through, and I want to extend my heartfelt wish that each and every one of you continues to move forward in health and strength.

Though some re-openings begin this month, giving us hope that the pandemic will soon be behind us, we are mindful that even when stay-at-home orders are lifted, our region’s workers and businesses will continue to experience the aftermath of this pandemic for some time to come. We have received three emergency grants which will enable us to support our community, inclusive of services we have not traditionally provided, yet are crucial to individuals’ ability to uphold their lives. I am looking forward to detailing these new grants with you at our upcoming board meeting, and gaining your valued insight and feedback. I am also cognizant that you may have been receiving questions from workers and businesses in need of our services. To address this, we have created a flyer containing guidance for VWDB board members on how to talk about the VJC’s services during COVID-19. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly. Operations continue virtually as staff refer clients to unemployment mitigation resources, recruit candidates for the slew of recent openings in grocery stores and other essential businesses, and outreach to companies experiencing layoffs and furloughs. Now more than ever, we will need your expertise to ensure that our efforts are able to help those who need it most. I would like to thank you for your continued engagement, and I look forward to working together to help our community.

Best,

Judith Velasco, Executive Director 

Verdugo Workforce Development Board

VWDB Board Member Spotlight: Nancy Osipo-Peera, Department of Rehabilitation

The VWDB would like to recognize board member Nancy Osipo-Peera for her outstanding work at the Department of Rehabilitation, serving individuals with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nancy has been a board member since 2013, and represents one of our key partners in serving participants with disabilities. Below, she discusses her work, and how she is passing the time during the Stay at Home order. Read our profile of Ms. Osipo-Peera here.