The Leader March 2014

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CEO Survey: Seeking Solutions

By Carl Guardino, President and CEO

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.
 

Celebrating 30 Years of Meaningful Change in Our Schools

By Dennis Cima, Senior Vice President

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the great work being done in teacher professional development by our non-profit friends at Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education (IISME). Throughout its 30-year history as a premier entity for providing teachers with professional development, IISME has reached thousands of Bay Area teachers who have, in turn, inspired hundreds of thousands of students.

IISME is focused on improving instruction in K-14 through partnerships with leading companies and research institutions. The IISME Summer Fellowship Program, its flagship effort, is a simple model: Bay Area teachers are placed in enriching, paid summer fellowships for eight weeks where they learn the latest skills and trends in our industries through hands-on experience. The IISME experience allows teachers to bring the knowledge from their fellowship back to their students and school districts while the host company gains the benefit of teaching and working with a dedicated team member for the summer. IISME’s Summer Fellowship Program can also offer amazing development opportunities for host company employees as they serve as mentors to IISME fellows.

The Silicon Valley Leadership Group and our member companies have been proud partners of IISME for more than a dozen years because we know how important it is to have a high-quality teacher in every classroom, particularly in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). As states and individual school districts grapple with how to implement the new Common Core State Standards, having such robust professional development activities like IISME in our own region can only help to bolster teachers’ abilities to inspire and guide tomorrow’s STEM innovators.

IISME fellowships bring relevancy into the classroom as teachers solve real-world problems. The Bay Area is lucky to have IISME; other regions around the country are often reaching out to IISME in an effort to duplicate its fellowship program.

Yet, there is more to be done here in the Bay Area to broaden the skills of our teachers and to expose them to the region’s leading industries and organizations. IISME and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group would be honored by your support.

If you, your company or organization are interested in sponsoring and hosting an IISME teacher for summer 2014, it’s not too late. Please visit IISME.org to learn more about the process for becoming a host and supporting Bay Area teachers and students.

Here’s to your first 30 years and the decades ahead, IISME!
 

Continuing the Push for Immigration Reform

By Emily Lam, VP of Health Care and Federal Issues

The fight to pass immigration reform continues this year from SXSW to Washington, D.C., with efforts ramping up to move a House bill as soon as this summer and no later than the end of this year.

While an election year is generally considered a difficult time to pass a major policy overhaul, the momentum created last year through our efforts with various stakeholders – including businesses, agriculture, civil rights and religious groups – keeps this issue at the forefront. To get immigration reform over the finish line, companies and supporters of reform need to continue their efforts in underscoring the vital importance to our economy and job creation, and to recruiting and retaining talent from around the world.

The Leadership Group has two upcoming opportunities for companies to help keep immigration reform on the front burner:

  • We will be co-hosting several events promoting immigration reform with high profile tech leaders such as Steve Case at this year’s SXSW Festival in Austin, TX from March 7 – March 11, 2014.
  • Our annual Washington, D.C. advocacy trip on March 25 – 27 will have many visits with key members on immigration reform.

Especially as the economic recovery picks up and the search for specialized talent becomes increasingly competitive, Congress needs to repeatedly hear about talent being lost to locations abroad because of visa issues. In addition, it is imperative to relay the message on what the delay of immigration reform means for jobs and our economy.

We invite you, your company executives and your human resources staff to join us by telling your company’s stories to key legislators at SXSW and in Washington, D.C. To join the Leadership Group’s push for immigration reform at SXSW, consider attending our co-sponsored events:

For more information about SXSW activities, including registration to one of the immigration reform events, or to learn more about our Washington, D.C. advocacy trip, please contact Emily Lam, VP of Health Care and Federal Issues at elam@svlg.org.