The Leader – August 2016

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Maintaining California’s Climate Change Leadership

By Mike Mielke, Senior Vice President for Environment and Energy

iStock_000003459682Medium-Solar_PanelsSince the 2006 passage of AB 32, the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act authored by then Assemblymember Fran Pavley, California has been a leader in reducing harmful air pollution, attracted billions of dollars of investment and helped spawn the creation of thousands of new advanced energy businesses and hundreds of thousands of jobs. Directly related to this job growth is AB 32’s clear goals to reduce global warming pollution through 2020, which created a stable investment environment for businesses allowing clean energy innovation to flourish.

Now the Golden State is home to the largest advanced energy industry in the U.S. In fact, according to a recent Advanced Energy Economy report, “with over 500,000 workers, advanced energy employs three times as many Californians as the motion picture, TV and radio industry; more than agriculture forestry, and fishing; and approaching construction.”

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group has supported AB 32 since its inception in 2006; in fact, we were the first business association to support the law. And just as in 2006, the Leadership Group is proud to support another pioneering bill – SB 32 by now Senator Pavley, which will help ensure California remains a leader on climate action. SB 32 is important because the state is at a critical inflection point. While California has a clear path forward on climate change through 2020, the state has a long-term goal of reducing global warming pollution to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 by executive order. SB 32 would set interim targets to help reach this longer term goal – in the process reducing California’s climate pollution by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

SB 32 would help cement California’s climate leadership, while also setting bold new direction for the state’s clean energy economy. What’s more, it helps provide both businesses and investors with the long-term policy certainty to help spur even more innovation, investment and job creation. A companion bill, AB 197 authored by Eduardo Garcia, would help expand legislative oversight and ensure increased equity of the state’s climate change policies and programs. The passage of SB 32 is contingent upon the passage of AB 197.

The technology sector sees climate change as a problem to be solved. However, it’s not just businesses that support moving forward. A recent 2016 Public Policy Institute of California Survey on Californians and the Environment shows that “69 percent of Californians favor the emission reduction goals of AB 32 and 68 percent favor further reducing emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030,” the goal of SB 32. Clearly, most Californians want to maintain California’s climate leadership. While some in Sacramento are counseling that it is best to wait, further delay will only cause more uncertainty in the market and harm our state’s economy – particularly the advanced energy sector. Now is not the time to delay. Now is the time to move forward.

For more information or to support the Leadership’s work on climate change, contact Mike Mielke, Senior Vice President of Environment and Energy at


Partnerships in Education: Collaborating in Support of the Leaders of Tomorrow

By Margaret Gray, Education Policy Associate

EdSummit15Only 49 percent of 8th graders in Silicon Valley met or exceeded state standards for math in 2015. If this trend continues, more than half of our students will not be able to compete for high-paying jobs. The statistics are more concerning when broken down by race and ethnicity: 20 percent of Black or African American students and 21 percent of Hispanic or Latino students met or exceeded standards, compared to 79 percent of Asian students and 66 percent of White students. In Silicon Valley’s innovation economy, where jobs in high-tech have strong earning potential, equitable and high quality education is particularly important to promote access and opportunity and lessen growing regional inequality.

The role of educating children to be fully prepared to participate in a vibrant economy has long fallen largely upon the public school system. However, this responsibility is too complex for any single entity to meet. As public institutions continue to advance and implement education reforms like the Common Core State Standards, the Next Generation Science Standards, Local Control Funding Formula and the Every Student Succeeds Act, we must find opportunities for collaborative partnerships to support educational institutions.

Successful partnerships are already taking place, improving student outcomes, increasing access to STEM and computer science education, and diversifying our workforce in the Silicon Valley. Our 2016 Silicon Valley Education Summit on August 25 will highlight several of the successful partnerships in our region that are changing the equation for students.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group invites you to register for the summit to learn more about these local partnerships and how stakeholders can scale, replicate, or inspire more collaborative efforts for education and workforce development. Topics include:

  • EdTech, which will showcase two particularly strong, successful and innovative partnerships – panelists will discuss their partnerships, the technologies they are pioneering, and how they fit within the broader ecosystem of Education Technology.
  • Workforce Development, which will be of particular interest to businesses interested in developing sustainable hiring practices. Panelists will provide best practices in diversity recruitment and retention, as well as ways to strengthen relationships with local schools.
  • Diversifying the STEM Pipeline, highlighting partnerships among schools, industry, researchers, funders, and foundations in the implementation of Oakland Unified School District’s Computer Science Education plan. Panelists will also discuss the conditions for implementing Computer Science Education in local schools and school districts to prepare the future workforce and increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities in tech.
  • Supporting New Education Reforms, focusing on how the new Federal guidelines under the Every Student Succeeds Act align with California’s Local Control Funding Formula and the construction of the accountability system. Additional discussion will cover opportunities for the business community to support the rollout of the STEM-rich Next Generation Science Standards.

For more information on this year’s Education Summit, visit our website or contact Kristina Peralta, Director of Education and Workforce Preparedness at

On August 5th, 2016, posted in: The Leader by