Press Release - August 26, 2020

Community Leaders Unveil Plan For Valley Recovery

Silicon Valley Recovery Roundtable Delivers Roadmap to a “Better Normal” for Community—Immediately & Long Term

Mountain View, Calif. – August 26, 2020– The leaders of the Silicon Valley Recovery Roundtable (SVRR) today delivered “Building a Better Normal,” the multi-faceted plan to tackle the Valley’s most pressing problems — those brought on by the pandemic and those that have become more urgent because of it.

“COVID has shone a light on the issues that we have needed to tackle for some time as well as the economic issues brought on by containing the pandemic and deepening issues related to equity,” said Carl Guardino, former CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and the new EVP of Bloom Energy. “Having some of the most Innovative minds in our region coalesce around workable solutions is a true testament to the spirit of Silicon Valley and will help us realize a Better Normal.”

“It was crucial that this effort engage our diverse community across the Valley. We will build a stronger and better future if this recovery is inclusive - specifically of those that traditionally have been left behind,” said Nicole Taylor, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. "This is why we prioritized using equity as an essential lens. The recommended strategies will help fuel a recovery that includes those who are facing the most trying circumstances, including low-income communities and communities of color, and will lead to a more just, equitable and sustainable future for all.”

The SVRR is composed of 59 leaders from the business, education, labor and non-profit sectors that represent communities and industries from across the region. The leadership of 32 Silicon Valley cities formed the Mayors’ Circle to provide direct lines of communication to local governments as the SVRR formed their recommendations. The work was supported by the Boston Consulting Group.

“To say our region’s needs are urgent can’t be overstated,” said Bob Alvarado, Executive Director of the Northern California Carpenters Union.  “Our collective action is needed to keep job sites safe and offer training to the recently unemployed.”

“As our community navigates COVID-19 and racial inequality, it is critical that the technology industry, business community, and public and social sectors come together in support of a more equitable and resilient Silicon Valley,” said Chuck Robbins, Chairman and CEO, Cisco. “By bringing our unique points of view and best practices together in this plan, we hope to spark real progress in addressing the challenges happening in our own backyard.”

The group has brought forward strategies to:

  • drive job creation with a focus on supporting workers displaced by the pandemic;
  • support small and medium size businesses to not only survive but thrive;
  • expand Digital Inclusion for the community to ensure that everyone can harness the power of connectivity from their home;
  • galvanize housing preservation, protection, and production, and further transit goals

“Silicon Valley’s leading tech companies share a deep commitment to help support our local residents and communities to return stronger than ever,” said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD President and CEO.  “Throughout the development of the report, we have had significant engagement from a broad set of stakeholders ready to provide the resources, time, and technology solutions needed to help solve many of the most pressing challenges we are facing and create a ‘better normal’ for Silicon Valley .”

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo put out the challenge in April to bring the most innovative minds together to tackle the tough challenge of coming out of the pandemic even stronger than the way the region went in.

The full report can be found here.

Key Recommendations

Drive job creation with a focus on supporting the workers displaced by the pandemic

  • Prevent further displacement of low-income workers by galvanizing large employers to halt layoffs/furloughs and prioritize reskilling individuals into new roles
  • Bolster job creation and economic mobility to support displaced low-income workers, and scale up wraparound support services
    • Create a collective impact employment initiative for low-income workers through a Silicon Valley public–private partnership
    • Broaden entry points for training programs for higher-paying trades (such as mechanical, electrical, plumbing, or “MEPS”) to include more low-income neighborhoods and support recruitment efforts
    • Provide economic mobility opportunities for undocumented workers
    • Double down on hiring non-traditional talent, specifically in growth sectors
    • Prioritize wraparound services for low-income workers

Support small and medium-size businesses to not only survive but thrive

  • Double down on SME and startup access to capital to support at-risk small businesses and to enable early stage entrepreneurs to grow and innovate
     
  • Create more opportunities for SMEs and startups to capitalize on new waves of innovation by supporting new investments and spurring the public and private sector to prioritize procurement from SMEs
     
  • Streamline regulations and expedite permitting approvals and online inspection services to facilitate new investments and developments that generate new jobs, and ongoing General Fund revenues
     
  • Rethink Main Street and explore new models to revive and redevelop neighborhood business districts and commercial corridors throughout Silicon Valley and adapt to community needs that have changed due to the pandemic
     
  • Bolster SME digital capabilities so they can better compete in the e-commerce marketplace

Expand Digital Inclusion for the community to ensure that everyone has access and the power of being connected

  • Promote equitable connectivity through new financial tools that offset costs of internet service and devices for low-income areas and individuals
  • Lower device and connectivity barriers with innovative corporate investment or donation programs
  • Streamline how local municipalities permit and approve wireless connectivity projects to speed up infrastructure deployment and reinvest cost savings into closing the digital divide

Galvanize housing preservation, protection, and production

  • Keep vulnerable communities housed in their current places of residenceby extending the eviction moratorium and supporting landlords who are housing low-income residents
     
  • Rapidly increase affordable housing stockby identifying new opportunities to quickly create affordable residential units, to particularly support vulnerable communities who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness
     
  • Increase the housing supply by implementing a consistent upzoningand entitlement streamlining framework, with a concerted focus on mixed-use transit, underutilized commercial corridors, and scaling accessory dwelling units
     
  • Support and advocate for state leaders to pass significant housing legislation by joining existing efforts led by big city California mayors, labor leaders, and high profile corporate and philanthropic leaders to break through political barriers
     
  • Address local budget deficits by forming public–private partnerships to make shared capital investments on transportation, housing and community services.

  • Develop an emergency COVID-19 shovel-ready housing and prioritized transportation planfor infrastructure funding from federal, state, private, and/or philanthropic sources

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Media Contacts

General Inquiries
Stephanie Craig (202-329-7545 or stephanie.craig@apeironstrategy.com)
AMD - Drew Prairie (drew.prairie@amd.com, 512-602-4425)
Bloom/Silicon Valley Leadership Group - Pam Kelly  (pkelly@svlg.org, 408-483-2410)
Cisco - Kyrk Storer (kstorer@cisco.com, 650-773-1541)

Northern California Carpenters Union
Augie Beltran (abeltran@nccrc.org,  209-993-7340)

Silicon Valley Community Foundation - Chau Vuong (cvuong@siliconvalleycf.org, 650-450-5426)

About the Silicon Valley Recovery Roundtable

The Silicon Valley Recovery Roundtable (SVRR) is a group of Silicon Valley leaders from the business, education, labor, and social sectors who have come together to chart a path to a Better Normal for all members of the Silicon Valley community.

Composed of 59 CEOs, leaders and thinkers from business, education, labor and non-profit sectors that represent communities from across the region, the Roundtable  was tapped to make policy recommendations to local and regional governing bodies to ensure political leaders are best positioned to harness state and federal resources to tackle challenges brought on by the pandemic and those that have become more urgent because of it. In doing this work, the group identified many cross-sector opportunities to bolster the efforts of policy makers.

To facilitate that conversation, the SVRR created the Mayors’ Circle, a group of leaders representing 32 cities that comprise Silicon Valley.

The first action of SVRR was to produce “Building a Better Normal,” a comprehensive report that details key steps the entire community of Silicon Valley can take to make the community better coming out of the pandemic than when it started.

SVRR intends to continue its work through an open source approach that takes advantage of the marketplace of ideas offered in the report. Members will continue cross-sector collaboration and track progress on key recommendations.