What jobs?

Economic recovery is lopsided — and disorganization in the city's workforce development system doesn't help

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For all its shiny gadgets and gleaming new luxury condo towers, San Francisco nevertheless houses a huge demographic that lives at or below poverty.

Officially, it affects about 12 percent of the city's population, according to the most recent US Census data. Experts from the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality calculated an adjusted poverty figure to capture a more accurate portrait of economic disadvantage. According to that alternative yardstick, which factors in location-based costs such as the price of housing, a full 23.4 percent of San Franciscans live in poverty.

City agencies have documented ethnic identities, languages, neighborhoods of residence, and other data concerning poor people who seek assistance through city-administered services. But even though millions of dollars have flowed through city coffers to boost prospects for those who lack steady work, there's scant documentation showing what this has actually achieved.

Despite budgeted expenditures totaling nearly $70 million for workforce development in 2013-14, not a single San Francisco city official can say how many individuals managed to rise above poverty as a result.

 

FIVE YEARS, NO IMPROVEMENT

At the behest of Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, the city's Budget & Legislative Analyst recently analyzed the city's myriad workforce development programs. It found that there is no standard measure to track the results of the programs, which are administered across 14 city departments.

The analysts recommended convening a committee to get a handle on it, "so there would be somebody accountable for compiling that information," noted Severin Campbell, a principal at city budget analyst Harvey Rose Associates.

The analysis was a follow-up to a similar audit performed in 2007. The previous study concluded that the system to help struggling people obtain job skills and get hired "was fragmented, with inconsistent planning and coordination of resources and inadequate monitoring of programs to ensure that the programs' goals and outcomes were achieved."

Analysts who examined the workforce development system in 2007 discovered a lack of evidence that "individuals receiving services were eventually placed into jobs leading to economic self-sufficiency."

To cure this dysfunction, the Board of Supervisors formulated a plan. In November 2007, it created Administrative Code Section 30, a new policy centralizing oversight of all workforce development initiatives under the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, overseen by the Mayor's Office.

In 2007, OEWD's annual budget for its workforce division was $547,841. By 2012-13, that amount had swelled to $19.3 million. The federal government contributes a lot, but citywide, about 65 percent of workforce development spending comes from local funds.

Comments

SF is blessed to be a world leader in certain vibrant business sectors, and trying to find fault with that is petty.

Ed Lee stood on a pro-jobs, pro-growth, pro-business and pro-development platform. He won easily and is now delivering that. Are you seriously suggesting that he should have ignored the clear mandate given him by the people and instead engaged in the very same anti-jobs policies that Avalos stood on and lost?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 29, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

Extraordinary for this point in a term.

Looks like he may run unopposed for re-election.

Posted by anon on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 6:31 am

this is a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by mfkjghrfi on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 10:45 am

this is only a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by mfkjghrfi on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 10:45 am

Encouraging out-of-town housing investors to come in and push up shelter costs in San Francisco frankly nullifies any effect more jobs have. There are plenty of people who have jobs but can't rationally afford the cost of housing. If you are going to encourage job growth, demand for housing will be taxed enough as it is. Permitting excessive housing investment and speculation in existing rental property wipes out any financial sufficiency jobs provide. Start putting limits on the number of properties people can own in San Francisco, or charge higher property taxes on real estate investors, speculators, or people who own multiple residential properties. Either that, or eliminate the provisions in municipal law that prohibit habitation in vehicles on city streets.

The cost of housing affects the cost of everything else. Keep housing costs down, and both business and employees can stay.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 9:04 am

Nor is there any realistic way of "keeping housing costs down". As long as demand exceeds supply, SF home prices will remain high.

We must house workers whose skills we need here, but current land use polices drive yup the cost for newcomers - both Prop 13 and rent control favor entrenched vested interests over inbound knowledge workers.

There is a class of people in SF who soak up much of the housing but really have no need to be here, and that is all the people who come here not because they have the skills this city needs, but because they think it would be "cool" to live here. Stop helping them.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 9:19 am

this is a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by mfkjghrf on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 10:47 am

I appreciated Rebecca Bowe's essay. Until Neo-liberal, unfettered markets are controlled, the relationship between revenue-funded agencies and participants will be subjected to inferior program outcomes that only fill flexible labor markets that support the same. Problem and solution will circle, ricocheting income inequality and pernicious life degradation. Economists observe that equilibrium best complements when in the dynamic of supply and demand, the two are equal. In the particular case, labor-market supply in San Francisco is inferior to human capital prerequisites and the mission of public agencies responsible to equilibrate social inequalities is crippled.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

Or can you not figure out how posts are uploaded here, in which case why should we listen to you?

Posted by Guest on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

I appreciated Rebecca Bowe's essay. Until Neo-liberal, unfettered markets are controlled, the relationship between revenue-funded agencies and participants will be subjected to inferior program outcomes that only fill flexible labor markets that support the same. Problem and solution will circle, ricocheting income inequality and pernicious life degradation. Economists observe that equilibrium best complements when in the dynamic of supply and demand, the two are equal. In the particular case, labor-market supply in San Francisco is inferior to human capital prerequisites and the mission of public agencies responsible to equilibrate social inequalities is crippled.

Posted by Awayneramsey on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

I appreciated Rebecca Bowe's essay. Until Neo-liberal, unfettered markets are controlled, the relationship between revenue-funded agencies and participants will be subjected to inferior program outcomes that only fill flexible labor markets that support the same. Problem and solution will circle, ricocheting income inequality and pernicious life degradation. Economists observe that equilibrium best complements when in the dynamic of supply and demand, the two are equal. In the particular case, labor-market supply in San Francisco is inferior to human capital prerequisites and the mission of public agencies responsible to equilibrate social inequalities is crippled.

Posted by Awayneramsey on Oct. 30, 2013 @ 1:51 pm

Economic students, forget all that nonsense your professors call the “law of supply and demand” (laws cannot be broken and are naturally immutable) since over-financialization invigorated by Neo-liberal capitalist speculators (Facebook, Google, Twitter (eventually) et al) distorts these inputs disproportionately as expected according to the law of averages. The large numbers increase the averages and these increases become US-dollar signs in the eyes of opportunist real estate speculators. Supply and demand is used as a ruse in courtrooms when litigation becomes necessary and of course, in classrooms.

Posted by Awayneramsey on Oct. 31, 2013 @ 11:59 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 31, 2013 @ 12:12 pm

Thanks for illuminating the wage and housing issue in the city. it seems like number of jobs being created is less the issue, but what types. For being not in the tech industry or construction and development. The jobs just aren't paying enough to live in the city, never mind thrive in the city. Whatever one feels about the tech industry's influence on our economy, the fact that it is hurting the lower and middle class core of SF is very real and needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2013 @ 1:35 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 01, 2013 @ 1:48 pm

Its good that the article mentions the troubling issues facing job training programs such as the Community Jobs Program in the city.Its equally important not to neglect the low class people who are not getting the right work skill training that will lead to better job and improve the middle class.

Posted by David Frias on Nov. 01, 2013 @ 1:45 pm

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