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Meeting Minutes - 11/7/19

Minutes from the general meeting held on November 7, 2019


DVTI Meeting November 7, 2019

3:00 – 5:00 pm

BFL-213

Present: Jim Blair, Ryan Buckley, Kevin Cabral, Amalia Cunningham, Jordan Davis, Dona DeRusso, Vickie Gordon, Joellen Heaney, Kristina Martinez, John Matthesen, Carlyn Obringer, Jennifer Tejada, Mario Tejada, Daniel Will


  • Jim opened the meeting by discussing the model classroom. DVC will model future classrooms after this one using different configurations. Future DVTI meetings will be held in this classroom.


  • Definition and Objectives:

  • DVTI serves as the bridge between DVC and DVC ambassadors (Chambers and economic development partners).

  • Jim shared a video on Michigan State’s Center for Community and Economic Development – a campus-based initiative to create, apply and disseminate valued knowledge. Will become a clearinghouse for employer data.

  • Partnerships in Economic Development:

  • DVTI’s focus is program development. How can DVC better collaborate with the community?

  • Need to identify clusters of tech businesses in the Diablo Valley. Can we develop programs around the clusters? Need to engage local businesses to respect DVC as an institution.

  • Large tech presence coming up in Dublin/Pleasanton/San Ramon areas. Hope to create and foster connections.

  • There is a concern that the exodus from the bay area is higher than expected, with Contra Costa County being #1. Concern that we are considered the “bridge and tunnel crowd.”

  • We need statistically valuable data. Does the business community have complete data? Would a data aggregation service help to paint a cohesive picture?

  • The quality and integrity of data is questionable. Businesses are running their own surveys, not sharing data. Data has to be internally consistent and encompass the Diablo Valley, although may not apply to all jurisdictions. Can DVC act as a clearinghouse for data? Where can we help?

  • Data sources: Crunchbase, SF Business Times, East Bay Update, tri-commercial information, etc.

  • Need data from students as well as employers. What are students looking for? Should we survey them? Do they want this area to be high tech?

  • Jim talked about the DVC Year-Up program designed to help students succeed in their first year at DVC. First term: 32 credits in Information Technology or Project Management. Second term: 35 hours/week at professional internship.

  • Dona: Workforce Development is working on its 2020/2025 master plan with extensive research into student demographics and the economic atmosphere. Hope to have data sewn up by late February 2020. DVC has a reputation as a transfer institution, but awareness of Career Education is growing. There is a focus on skill-based learning. We want to present programs that meet employers’ needs using a variety of information sources (labor market data, centers of excellence, etc.), but data is needed at a granular level in Contra Costa County. Looking to work with employers, chambers, and economic development partners for feedback. Do we need to update or eliminate certain certificates? We currently have more funds in career education than ever before.

  • Vickie: Need a pipeline for students starting at middle school level so they can hone in on what they want to explore. Need to market DVC as a career education school, not just a transfer school. Need to reeducate parents and students about available programs and jobs.

  • Students with BA’s are coming back DVC to learn middle-skill job skills. Mature employees are a big demographic for community colleges and could be an untapped resource.

  • Ryan: Need to review curriculum so students graduate with a sensible skill set. Could have a transfer track as well as a two-year track. Also need to brand the Diablo Valley. Show why businesses should move to Contra Costa County vs. Palo Alto and other bay area communities.

  • Challenge is we get lumped into “the east bay.” Would different communities be receptive to being branded as Diablo Valley? Is the time right for this rebranding? Do you identify more as being in the Diablo Valley or the East Bay?

  • Targeted area for survey is Orinda - Clayton - Martinez - Walnut Creek. Could collaborate with San Ramon campus.

  • Given how many different industries consider themselves tech companies (Kaiser, education institutions, etc.), we need to expand the definition of a tech company, which in turn will expand the distribution of survey.

  • DVTI will begin hosting social events, such as happy hours, inviting Advisory Councils and keynote speakers. Could fly people to Diablo Valley from Silicon Valley. Will combine disciplines at the social events.

  • These events would culminate into a conference which could be used to market the Diablo Valley.

  • Save the Date: January 6th & 7th – Western Academy WASTC 2020 winter ICT Educator’s Conference. Conference for ICT educators and their business and industry partners held at Cisco headquarters in San Jose. Please send presentation proposals to Karen.stanton@wastc.org.

  • Survey Finalization:

  • Comments on Current Questions

  • Intro text is important: how are you using the data, who owns it, etc. Should make sure it comes from an “official” email address, such as Beth’s. In preamble, tell them how long it will take to complete the survey.

  • Questions should be rearranged in order of importance.

  • Order of Questions top 5:

  • #1, 2, 3 most important

  • #15, #16 and #17 important

  • #1 and some others – can we figure out the answers ourselves? What do you most see your business as? In survey monkey can use check boxes. Option to choose no more than 3?

  • It is a good idea to have “several” as an option.

  • Question #5: Employee ranges need to be expanded to include more group sizes (50-99, etc.)

  • Question #14: Should reword as “do you have trouble retaining employees?” With a follow-up: “What is average length of time an employee works for you?” Should be two separate questions.

  • Question #15 – delineate between soft and tech skills. Separate skills – workability, technical? Teamwork?

  • Question #16: Finding skilled workforce, paying high wages, etc. Reword as ranking top 3 most difficult issues retaining and/or hiring. Like #15.

  • Include what you like best about your location? Companion to opposite.

  • Question #16 - convince people to live in the area.

  • Question #17 – what do business or employees need most? Add available public transportation? What are top 3 issues why people leave? Strike 17 and put retaining question.

  • Question #18 – explain the difference between certificate and Associates degree?

  • Question #19: Help define what Diablo Valley means for people

  • Should possibly add a question on revenue info

  • Question #19 – consider relocating? JB dump that question.

  • How many employees would you like to hire in the next 12 months? Separate question

  • Need to create a master target list to send the survey to - Diablo Valley Region Top 20 targets. Target companies could be based on revenue, number of employees, etc. Need to focus on larger companies that have employment opportunities.

  • Who is out there? Are they a cluster? Need to parse the data. Jim will reach out to Chambers for new connections.

  • Dona - Could use grant funds to buy a mailing list. Jim will look into this.

  • Launch survey and have a goal – 800 companies responding. 10% return on cold survey. Will be able to target/make goal. Target companies that provide jobs/have entrepreneurial opportunities. John and Ryan will do data analysis on this.

  • Next meeting: December 5th, 3:00-5:00pm

  • Meeting should be more subject oriented.

  • Tackle marketing problem – need to market area effectively. Define Diablo Valley. Identify “companies in the shadow of the Diablo Valley.”

  • Discuss funding for marketing.

  • Make agenda a google doc so everyone can add items.

  • Get local marketing areas involved

  • Possible Conference in the third quarter of next year. What do we have to accomplish between next meeting and 3rd quarter of next year to make it happen?

  • Jim: could develop a website to disseminate information. Could involve students in creating the website.


Diablo Valley Tech Initiative

The members of the Diablo Valley Tech Initiative include mayors, presidents of Chambers of Commerce, professors, real estate professionals, and local technology professionals and entrepreneurs. It is incubated at Diablo Valley College in Contra Costa County, California.

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