Education

Whine or Win; It’s our Choice

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May 21  |  Education, Housing, Transportation  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Whine or win; it’s our choice.

Are we here to whine about our problems, or work together for solutions?

On Friday, May 29, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and 24 incredibly diverse community partners will co-host our 4th Annual Regional Economic Forum, bringing together leaders from throughout the region.

The purpose of the forum will be to truly tackle what we call THEE issues.

The “T” is for Transportation & Traffic.

The “H” is for Housing & Homelessness.

The “E” is for Education & Workforce.

The second “E” is for Equity & Economic Opportunity.

Yes, we all know those issues are among the top challenges we face in Silicon Valley. But here’s the catch: No one at our Regional Economic Forum is allowed to whine about the problem, or re-state the challenge. Panelists and participants will only be allowed to discuss solutions – and preferably solutions that they will either personally lead or support.

When it comes to real solutions for transportation, housing, education and economic opportunity, it is past time we stopped whining, and focused on winning solutions to these seemingly intractable problems. We can continue to wring our hands together in discouragement, or join our hands together with encouragement.

If you agree, then come join us. Find out more at svlg.org/regional-economic-forum-2015.

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When Policy Gets Personal

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April 29  |  Education  |   Carl Guardino
YWLS2015

Women leaders and middle school girls at our 2015 Young Women’s Leadership Summit

Here’s food for thought . . . Often, the best policies are driven from personal experience.

On May 16, 2009, the call came. A brave 17-year-old Latina from a small town in Utah had given birth to a 5-pound, 6-ounce baby girl — her second child in two years. Without a job or high school diploma, she made the gut-wrenching decision to entrust her newborn into the hands of strangers …my wife, Leslee, and me.

As we look at the trajectory of Latinas in Silicon Valley who graduate from high school, go to college, graduate with a STEM degree and work for one of our Valley’s innovation economy companies, the odds decrease to single digits.

This must change. Silicon Valley’s population is 27 percent Latino, a number that will grow to 40 percent by 2050. Already, kindergarten-aged students are close to 50 percent Latino, yet we are collectively not equipping those kids with the tools needed for 21st Century success.

It’s why yesterday, as one step in a long STEM pipeline, the Silicon Valley Leadership Group hosted its 14th “Young Women’s Leadership Summit” in just the past six years. More than 3,500 middle school girls have been inspired – and inspired us – with their dreams and determination for a life better lived with a diploma in hand.

For the Leadership Group’s workplan, the pipeline for education success is long – early childhood education; transitional kindergarten; tutoring in reading, science and math; healthy school meals, summer fellowships for teachers in tech-companies and scholarships for Latino students studying STEM in college. Yet we know that making meaningful change in the life of a child is not limited to one day of inspiration. Rather, it is a lifetime of validation.

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Role Models Matter

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June 4  |  Education  |   Carl Guardino

Here’s food for thought . . . Role models matter

Over the past four years, we have held 13 Women & Girls Summits at 13 underserved middle schools from San Jose to San Francisco, directly connecting with more than 3,000 girls and young women between the ages of 11 and 14.

Women tech leaders and elected officials have contributed time and treasure to these Summits to further ensure that middle school girls learn, first-hand, that women – often with similar life experiences growing up – have become successful both in their lives and livelihoods.

This fall, the Leadership Group will host our first “Young Men’s Leadership Summit” at an underserved middle school in the Franklin-McKinley School District in East San Jose.

The point is simple yet stunning – it is hard to overcome adversity. Too many low-income kids go to school hungry, have language barriers, are raised by single parents, are confronted by crime and may have inadequate or over-crowded housing.

Kids need – and deserve – to meet successful adults with shared experiences that they can emulate. They need you, and me, as role models and mentors.

Whether a one-day school-based Summit with young women and men, or tutoring opportunities with caring adults, our wealthy Valley can produce more healthy kids – often simply with the gift of time.

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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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