Education

CEO Survey: Seeking Solutions

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March 5  |  Education, Federal Issues, Housing, Tax Policy, Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . If we want to increase employment, then let’s learn from employers.

Annually, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group conducts a “CEO Business Climate Survey,” seeking direct input from the innovators and entrepreneurs who drive our region’s economy.

This year, 222 executives responded. The results are enlightening:

  • Last year, 2013, 62 percent added jobs in Silicon Valley, with only 9 percent subtracting jobs.
  • This year, 2014, 59 percent expect to add jobs here in Silicon Valley, with only 4 percent anticipating job losses.

Indeed, Silicon Valley continues to lead California and our country when it comes to job growth and economic recovery.

So what do employers, and our employees, need from policy makers to stay successful in innovation and job creation?

  • Locally, CEOs call for improvements on our local streets, roads and transit systems so that employees and their families can get around. We need quality schools for our children, and homes that working families can afford.
  • At the state level, we need meaningful investments in infrastructure to repair aging roads and ease traffic congestion. We need sensible solutions to the high cost of housing and investments in K-12 and higher education.
  • From Congress, we need immigration reform that ensures the best and the brightest can compete for our companies rather than against us, and tax reform that is fair to workers and keep our companies competitive.

This year’s CEO Business Climate Survey underscores that executives are willing to speak out, to search for solutions, to invest in answers. Silicon Valley’s innovation does not end within the walls of our companies, it extends through the neighborhoods in our communities.

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“UC” is Everywhere “You See”

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February 27  |  Education  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . “UC” is everywhere “you see.”

When it comes to California’s higher education systems, the Golden State still rules the world. This includes our global-leading UC, CSU, community college and private university systems. Let’s focus for a moment on California’s ten-campus UC system.

First, our UC System is a ladder that lifts students up our economic ranks:

  • 42 percent of UC graduates come from lower-income households.
  • 46 percent of UC graduates were the first in their families to earn a college degree.
  • Nine of every 10 UC students are from California.

Second, our UC system is a hotbed for cutting-edge research and innovation:

  • Whether it’s high-tech, bio-tech, med-tech, clean or green-tech, innovators throughout the region earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees from Berkeley or from one of the nine other UC campuses throughout the state.

Third, our investment is inadequate. The UC system, a jewel in the crown of our state’s economy, only receives 6.5 percent of its funding from the state of California. In fact, in real dollars, California invested only $6,000 per UC student in 2013. In 1993, 20 years ago, that investment was $16,000 per student. It is hard to get where we need to go when we are headed in the wrong direction.

We can do better, California. One way to ensure that we do is to invest in our world-class UC system; which maintains our world-class economy.

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Priorities for 2014: Strengthening California’s Higher Education Systems

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January 16  |  Education  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Companies need colleges.

Without world-class talent raised or recruited here, our region would be one more one-hit wonder, rather than the innovation capital of the world.

That’s one reason why the Silicon Valley Leadership Group will focus even further on ensuring that higher education serves everyone who wishes to call Silicon Valley and California home.

With tangible goals and specific outcomes, we will be partnering in 2014 with our Community Colleges, UC campuses, CSU system and private sector universities to make them more affordable and accessible for our students, more compelling for faculty and staff, and more transparent and accountable to taxpayers.

Our Higher Education Task Force, under the creative leadership of UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal and Lockheed Martin Space Systems President Tory Bruno, already is working directly with the new President of the UC system, Janet Napolitano, to achieve specific goals that will drive the world’s best research campuses to greater success.

So why does any of this matter to you and me? Bottom line – It’s about jobs. Jobs for us and jobs for our kids. You see, in the United States today, a young person at least 25-years-old without a college diploma, suffers from an unemployment rate of 7.7 percent. The equivalent 25-year-old, with a bachelor’s degree in any subject, enjoys an unemployment rate of only 3.3 percent.

That’s why our work to improve California’s higher education systems is so important to the 382 CEOs who own the Silicon Valley Leadership Group. If we do a good job today, it will lead to more jobs, for more young people, tomorrow.

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The Leadership Group’s Top Five Priorities for 2014

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December 18  |  Education, Federal Issues, Government Relations, Tax Policy, Transportation, Uncategorized  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Make your goals transparent and accountable.

Each year, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group creates a three-year rolling business plan. Designed by our 392 members, it sets priorities in 10 distinct areas in which we can add value to the Valley, state and nation: education, energy, environment, federal issues, local government, health care, housing, tax policy, transportation and the community. All told, we have 62 distinct deliverables in our rolling business plan.

Each initiative is selected, and each effort must be measurable.

For 2014, our top five priorities were set last week at our Annual Shareholders Meeting.

  • Number 1: Work for comprehensive U.S. tax reform that is fair to taxpayers at home and keeps us competitive abroad.
  • Number 2: Strengthen California’s higher education systems
  • Number 3: Advance the BART extension from Berryessa to Downtown San Jose and Santa Clara
  • Number 4: Fight for meaningful immigration reform
  • Number 5: Enhance California’s economic competitiveness through our 14-member Silicon Valley Caucus serving in our state Legislature.

By making our goals public – both to our members and to the broader community of citizens and stakeholders – we make ourselves accountable to everyone in our community.

To view our complete set of priorities in each of our ten priority areas, please visit the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s website. We would welcome the opportunity to engage you and your company in our work.

We face tremendous challenges in 2014, with plenty of opportunities to work together to forge our future success. We do this by setting clear goals that make us both transparent and accountable.

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Women Leaders: From the Classroom to the Board Room

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November 6  |  Education  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . My professional title is CEO, but my favorite title is “daddy.”

Raising two little girls – Jessica, 8, and Siena, 4 – has reinforced the work we must collectively do to empower more women leaders.

The statistics, even in egalitarian Silicon Valley, are startling:

  • While 51 percent of our population is female, only 18 percent of the students studying engineering in American universities are women.
  • Only 4 percent of corporate executives are women, and according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, women make up only 9 percent of corporate board directors in Silicon Valley.

For Silicon Valley to remain economically competitive, we need to raise all of our kids – girls and boys; Hispanics and Asians, Blacks and Caucasians – to succeed in school and in society.

In 2014, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group plans to step up its efforts – with more Women & Girls Leadership Summits, with our inaugural Men & Boys Leadership Summit, through our 1,000 Hearts for 1,000 Minds tutoring initiative, the Educare Early Childhood Learning Center in East San Jose, and our inaugural Heart & Soles 5K fun run for healthy meals for kids.

Our daughters, and sons, need mentors and role models, coupled with inspiration and opportunities, to rise and reach their full potential. To join any of our efforts, please contact me at cguardino@svlg.org. To grow the role of women in our board rooms, we must ensure the success of young girls in our classrooms.

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Educare: Impacting Thousands of Kids in Our Community

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September 18  |  Education  |   Carl Guardino

Ninety percent of a child’s brain development happens before age 5.

Yet ironically, our formal K-12 education system in the United States doesn’t begin until a child turns 5.

Enter Educare. Educare is an early childhood education center first launched nearly 10 years ago in Chicago. Today, there are Educare Early Childhood Education Centers in 20 communities across our country.

Educare focuses on under-served children and their families from birth to 5 years old, providing quality early childhood education for the children, and a full range of education and health services for their families.

Educare of California Silicon Valley will be based on the Santee Elementary School campus in East San Jose’s Franklin-McKinley School District. While it will be life changing for the 200-plus children it will annually serve, the game changer about Educare is its strength as a force-multiplier, a teaching hospital if you will, to educate 600 to 1,000 early childhood education teachers from throughout the region on an annual basis.

Since each early childhood education teacher annually instructs and cares for eight to 20 children, Educare Silicon Valley will annually impact at least 5,000 kids with quality pre-school.

In Silicon Valley, we are accustomed to leading the way. Yet sometimes, we can learn from the efforts of others. Building Educare in Silicon Valley provides us – and under-served kids and families – with a life-changing head start to succeed in Silicon Valley. To impact this effort, visit educaresv.org.

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Childhood Obesity Rates Are Down – More Work to be Done

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August 21  |  Education, Health Policy  |   Carl Guardino

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the percentage of low-income obese children ages 2 to 4 dipped in California from 17.3 percent to 16.8 percent.

Childhood obesity rates went down in 19 states, up in three states and stayed the same in 20 states.

For the math majors who noted the new study only accounts for 42 of the 50 states, the CDC reports that eight states were not included in the study.

Setting aside how troubled I am that any child could be obese – let alone more than 17 percent of the Golden State’s 2-to-4-year-olds – let’s talk about how progress is being made:

  • First, more health care institutions offer weight-management programs, including increased exercise and portion control.
  • Second, better food choices are being offered in schools.

It’s the second area – food choices in schools – where we can all play a role at the local and statewide level. The Silicon Valley Leadership Group is increasing its focus here. In-depth discussions continue with California’s State Superintendent of Public Instruction about how we can ensure that Silicon Valley kids can choose something other than “deep fried fat” in the school cafeteria, and that healthy foods and snacks are presented in a desirable way to capture the attention of our kids. You should speak to your local school and school board about this, too.

Bluntly, our kids deserve a better start – because where you start often determines where you end up. Children are five times more likely to be obese as adults if they were obese as a child. Now that’s a reality we need to digest.

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Partnerships and Progress

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June 5  |  Education, Environment, Federal Issues  |   Carl Guardino

Someone once said, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Last Friday, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group was honored to bring together more than 20 vital community partners for our 2nd Annual “Regional Economic Forum,” with nearly 400 diverse Valley leaders in interactive dialogue on Regional Competitiveness, California Competitiveness, and U.S. Competitiveness.

With our diversity, we found unity – around the need for meaningful California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) reform, comprehensive immigration reform, and bold education reforms that put kids – rather than adults – first.

Our Regional Economic Forum was one of 16 forums around the state, leading up to the November 7-8 Statewide Economic Summit to be held in Los Angeles, thanks to the leadership of California Forward and the California Stewardship Panel.

We often ask, do these forums ever move from rhetoric to results? At last year’s forum, we gathered momentum and allies in our efforts to secure a Regional Patent Office (success) and movement for CEQA Reform (progress).

To learn more about last week’s Forum, read the San Jose Mercury News article here. More important, contact me directly to engage on your priority issues in our work plan. At the Leadership Group, our Members set and direct our agenda, leading to powerful results and meaningful partnerships. Join us.

(Note: The Forum panels were all recorded and will be broadcast on 1590 AM KLIV. One panel will air each week on Friday at 8 pm and you’ll be able to find the podcasts at http://svlg.org/press/ceo-show)

 

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CEO Business Climate Survey: Celebrate our Strengths, Work on our Weaknesses

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March 6  |  Education, Environment, Government Relations, Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

We recently released our tenth annual CEO Business Climate Survey – completed by 177 Silicon Valley CEOs and senior officers, who drive the earth’s innovation economy.

The message was clear – celebrate our strengths, while also acknowledging and addressing our weaknesses.

First, our strengths, which I call the “six “t’s” of Silicon Valley’s secret sauce:

* Access to skilled labor – talent
* Entrepreneurial mindset – temperament
* Proximity to customers and competitors – territory
* World class universities – training
* Access to venture capital – treasure
* The climate and weather – temperature

Second, our weaknesses:

* High housing costs
* High personal income tax rates for our workers and families
* Business regulations – especially the misuse of the California Environmental Quality Act
* Traffic congestion

The full survey results are available on our web site at svlg.org. Let’s make time to make a difference.

State of the Union Address

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February 12  |  Education, Government Relations, Tax Policy, Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Silicon Valley hopes to hear these issues addressed in tonight’s State of the Union address:

  1. Immigration reform; passage of a comprehensive plan that includes high skilled workers with  bi-partisan, bicameral support.
  2. Comprehensive tax reform; ensuring U.S.  companies, domestic and international, can successfully compete and create jobs.
  3. Education reform;  so that kids born in America are equipped with the knowledge to compete with kids educated around the world.
  4. Cybersecurity; that addresses the safety of America and the economic strengths of American companies
  5. Infrastructure; investments to rebuild America’s transportation, energy and water systems to keep Americans and America’s economy moving.

These are the pressing issues facing our nation’s innovation economy today that Silicon Valley hopes to hear from President Obama tonight.