Gilroy Chamber Business Focus May 2023
May 22, 2023
$86 million Capacity Expansion of our South County Regional Wastewater Authority Facility
Why Workforce Development Is a Big Deal for Small Business
By Christina Metcalf
Many small and medium-sized business owners think that workforce development isn’t in their “lane.” They leave it to the big guys to work with the chamber and community leaders to ensure the large businesses have the skilled employees they need for the future. But unless you are a business of one and plan on remaining that way, workforce development should be a concern of all sizes of businesses. Here’s why you should want to get involved:
Why Small Companies Should Get Involved in Workforce Development
While workforce development may seem like a daunting task for small companies, there are several compelling reasons why they should actively engage in these initiatives:
- Access to a Skilled Workforce: By participating in workforce development activities with the chamber and beyond, small businesses can play a pivotal role in shaping the skills and competencies of the future workforce. This provides them with a pool of well-prepared candidates who can contribute to their growth and success. A single small business isn’t the main employer of the area but collectively, there’s a good chance they are. Workforce development initiatives should consider and incorporate the needs of all employers when possible. The chamber can’t do that if you don’t get involved.
- Enhanced Competitiveness: A highly skilled workforce gives small companies a competitive edge in the marketplace. By investing in employee development, businesses can improve productivity, innovate more effectively, and adapt to industry changes with greater agility. While your company may not have the budget to fund employee development, a workforce development initiative might. Working with leaders in workforce development can help you contribute your voice to the initiative while also benefiting from their programs.
- Talent Retention and Attraction: Workforce development initiatives signal to existing and potential employees that the company and area value employee growth and development. This fosters a positive work environment, boosts employee morale, and increases retention rates. Moreover, small businesses that actively participate in these initiatives become more attractive to job seekers who prioritize professional growth and development. And may help get the small company’s name out there in the job market.
- Building Stronger Networks: Engaging in workforce development activities provides small companies with opportunities to build relationships with educational institutions, industry peers, and other stakeholders. These connections can lead to collaborations, partnerships, and access to valuable resources and knowledge.
While small businesses may have limited resources compared to larger corporations, they have a unique opportunity to make a significant impact on workforce development. By engaging with the chamber of commerce, local educational institutions, industry associations, and larger companies in the area, a small business owner can provide valuable insights into what’s needed in the years ahead. Workforce development is not only crucial for individual companies but also for the overall economic growth and sustainability of the community.
Many small business owners think that as an employer of only a handful of people, their insights aren’t critical to the community’s plans. However, small business often comprises the largest employment segment in the area. Hearing from businesses under 200 employees is just as important as hearing from the largest employer. If small business owners don’t step forward to share their needs, the only ones who will be heard are big businesses and unless you think their employment needs and yours are the same, it’s time to speak up.
Two Job Killer Bills Held in Appropriations; 2 Job Creators Move
By CalChamber –
Eight job killer proposals identified by the California Chamber of Commerce this year remain alive after Friday’s deadline for fiscal committees to send bills to the floor. Strong opposition from the CalChamber helped to stop two job killer bills from continuing past the Senate Appropriations Committee. Two job creator bills passed their Appropriations committees and will be heard soon.
Job Killers Stopped
The following job killer bills have been stopped and are likely dead for the year:
- SB 12 (Stern; D-Canoga Park) Arbitrary Greenhouse Gas Target. Arbitrarily changes the state’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goal from 40% of 1990 levels by 2030 to 55%. By the state’s own estimate this proposal will force 17 million gas powered cars off the road in the next 10 years.
- SB 809 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles) Prohibits Consideration of Conviction History in Employment. Prohibits nearly every employer from considering conviction history of an applicant or existing employee in employment decisions and imposes cumbersome process on employers that are legally not allowed to hire individuals with certain convictions.
Remaining Job Killer Bills
The following job killers remain alive:
- AB 259 (Lee; D-San Jose) / ACA 3 (Lee; D-San Jose) Wealth Tax. Seeks to impose a massive tax increase upon all forms of personal property or wealth, whether tangible or intangible, despite California already having the highest income tax in the country. This tax increase will drive high-income earners out of the State as well as the revenue they contribute to the General Fund.
- AB 524 (Wicks; D-Oakland) Expansion of Litigation Under FEHA. Exposes employers to costly litigation under the Fair Employment and Housing Act by asserting that any adverse employment action was in relation to the employee’s family caregiver status, which is broadly defined to include any employee who contributes to the care of any person of their choosing, and creates a de facto accommodation requirement that will burden small businesses.
- SB 365 (Wiener: D-San Francisco) Undermines Arbitration. Discriminates against use of arbitration agreements by requiring trial courts to continue trial proceedings during any appeal regarding the denial of a motion to compel, undermining arbitration and divesting courts of their inherent right to stay proceedings.
- SB 399 (Wahab; D-Hayward) Bans Employer Speech. Chills employer speech regarding religious and political matters, including unionization. Is likely unconstitutional under the First Amendment and preempted by the National Labor Relations Act.
- SB 525 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles) Costly Minimum Wage Increase. Imposes significant cost on health care facilities and any employer who works with health care facilities by mandating increase in minimum wage to $25.
- SB 616 (Gonzalez; D-Long Beach) Costly Sick Leave Expansion on All Employers. Imposes new costs and leave requirements on employers of all sizes, by more than doubling existing sick leave mandate, which is in addition to all other enacted leave mandates that small employers throughout the state are already struggling with to implement and comply.
- SB 627 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles) Onerous Return to Work Mandate. Imposes an onerous and stringent process to hire employees based on seniority alone for nearly every industry, including hospitals, retail, restaurants and movie theaters, which will delay hiring and eliminates contracts for at-will employment.
- SB 723 (Durazo; D-Los Angeles) Onerous Return to Work Mandate. Imposes an onerous and stringent process for specific employers to return employees to the workforce for specified industries, including hotels and restaurants that have been disproportionally impacted by this pandemic, and removes guardrails on existing law by making mandate permanent and significantly broadening the applicability of the law.
By passing their Appropriations committees, the following job creator bills met Friday’s deadline for fiscal committees to send bills on for consideration by the entire Assembly or Senate:
- AB 52 (Grayson; D-Concord) Manufacturing Tax Credit Expansion. Expands investment and production in California by expanding the sales and use tax exemption for the purchase of manufacturing and research and development (R&D) equipment.
- SB 301 (Portantino; D-La Cañada Flintridge) Conversion to Zero-Emission Vehicles. Incentivizes production of zero-emission vehicle parts in the state, increasing manufacturing and jobs, by offering a rebate for zero-emissions vehicle conversions.
Among the priority CalChamber-opposed bills also stopped were:
- SB 556 (Gonzalez; D-Long Beach) Civil Liability. Sets disturbing precedent by creating liability without proof for oil well owners/operators if individuals who lived within 3,200 feet of a wellhead develop certain health conditions.
- AB 331 (Bauer-Kahan; D-Orinda) Bias and Discrimination Through Automated Decision Tools. Regulates all uses of automated decision tools (ADT) making consequential decisions with overly broad prescriptive mandates on how ADT developers/deployers assess and deploy the tools, including by conducting non-confidential impact assessments and requiring notice and opportunity to opt-out to be provided to individuals subject to an ADT. Makes “algorithmic discrimination” violations subject to a private right of action or civil enforcement action. Sets penalties up to $10,000 for each failure to submit the mandated ADT assessment to the Civil Rights Department and allows CRD to share these assessments for any purpose with other state agencies.
- SB 687 (Eggman; D-Stockton) Delta Conveyance. Stops progress on the Delta Conveyance Project until Bay-Delta Water Quality Control Plan is updated and fully implemented. Holds infrastructure project to modernize California’s water system hostage until a lengthy planning process is both complete and “fully implemented.”
- SB 224 (Hurtado; D-Sanger) Investment Ban. Prohibits foreign governments from owning or leasing agricultural land, limiting ability for farmers to get mortgages and invest in their operations.
Overall, the Senate Appropriations Committee had 416 bills on its Suspense File. Of those, 90 (22%) did not pass.
The Assembly Appropriations Committee had 755 bills on its Suspense File; 220 (29%) did not pass.
Gilroy Chamber Receives Inaugural 2023 HR Champion Award
The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is one of 16 local chambers of commerce to be named an HR Champion by the California Chamber of Commerce.
This inaugural award was created to recognize chambers who excelled in helping their members comply with California employment laws. Representatives of the HR Champion chambers were honored on May 17 during the CalChamber Capitol Summit in Sacramento.
“California labor law requirements can be a puzzle for businesses of all sizes, especially smaller operations,” said Nick Ortiz, CalChamber vice president of local chamber relations. “We are pleased to recognize these HR Champion chambers for keeping their members updated on state labor law by participating at a high level in our compliance product resale program.”
The 2023 recipients of the HR Champion Award are as follows:
- Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce
- Corona Chamber of Commerce
- Fresno Chamber of Commerce
- Gilroy Chamber of Commerce
- Imperial Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Oakdale Chamber of Commerce
- Palm Desert Area Chamber of Commerce
- Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce
- Porterville Chamber of Commerce
- Redding Chamber of Commerce
- Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce
- Rohnert Park Chamber of Commerce
- Santa Fe Springs Chamber of Commerce
- The Chamber of Commerce for Greater Brawley
- Whittier Area Chamber of Commerce
- Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce
The California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) is the largest broad-based business advocate to government in California. Membership represents one-quarter of the private sector jobs in California and includes firms of all sizes and companies from every industry within the state. Leveraging our front-line knowledge of laws and regulations, we provide products and services to help businesses comply with both federal and state law. CalChamber, a not-for-profit organization with roots dating to 1890, promotes international trade and investment in order to stimulate California’s economy and create jobs. Please visit our website at www.calchamber.com.
Make Your Voice Heard!
The internet is critical to everyday life. Yet 1 out of 5 Californians do not have access to affordable, reliable broadband internet, devices, or the skills to use them. Due to this gap, referred to as the digital divide, many are unable to obtain jobs, advance in their careers, participate in online education, or access healthcare and essential government services.
The California Department of Technology (CDT) has developed one of the most accessible and innovative digital equity surveys in the nation to help achieve Broadband for All Californians. The survey will help identify digital equity barriers and needs of Californians living in unserved and underserved communities to help inform the State’s Digital Equity Plan, which once submitted and approved by the NTIA, will qualify California for additional funds to ensure that all Californians have access to affordable and reliable broadband internet service, devices, and skills training.
The survey is mobile friendly, available in English and 13 other languages, and has an audio option to hear spoken, recorded questions to collect a wide variety of input, including responses from Californians with vision or reading impairments. The survey also includes an interactive speed test, enabling users to measure their internet speed in real time and report it in their survey response.
Take the Survey for your household now. Hurry, the deadline for collecting feedback is June 30, 2023.
May 15, 2023
Proud Members of the Gilroy Chamber
The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce appreciates the support of our members. Investment dollars are dedicated to vital programs such as economic development, business marketing, leadership programs and more. We applaud each of you for helping make Gilroy a better place to live and work.
Mini Storage of Gilroy
South Valley Internet
Creative Labels, Inc.
Cresco Equipment Rentals
Calpine Gilroy Cogen & Energy Center
Eagle Ridge Realty
Gilroy Sunrise Rotary
Garlic City Cafe
Compass, Lisa Fleming
Tokita Seed America
Edward Boss Prado Found/Cecelia’s Closet
Ace Portable Services
Culligan Water of Santa Clara
Roadrunner Driving School
Bay Area Community Health Center
The Maynard Group, Inc.
Moving Forward with Workforce Development
The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce is continuing to focus on a Workforce Development Initiative, partnering with various agencies and organizations such as the City of Gilroy, Gilroy Unified School District, Gavilan College, the business community, and others, to create pathways for students and workers who want to advance their careers and help connect workers to industry.
On Wednesday, May 10, the Gilroy Chamber collaborated with Mt. Madonna High School (GUSD) on a Career Day. 15 professionals from industries including healthcare, education, law, water management, finishing trades, construction, manufacturing, and hospitality were stationed in classrooms where they each had the opportunity to present to five different groups of students.
Nearly 150 students were able to learn more about careers that could be available to them, as well as ask questions and gain connections to potential employers.
In the past, workforce development consisted of training, or retraining workers for available jobs in the market. Today, post pandemic, workforce development looks a little different. While training workers is a significant aspect of workforce development, there’s much more. Helping those who are soon to enter the job market understand the options available to them is another aspect. Making connections between available workers and the business community is another. Creating internships, job shadowing, and exposure to high tech jobs, the medical field and the trades is yet another. Allowing educators to tour local and regional job sites, tech facilities, and other places of employment will help them guide students looking to enter the workforce.
To learn more about the Chamber’s Workforce Development Initiative, or to get your business involved, please email email@example.com.
Pictured: District Attorney Adam Flores demonstrated the steps attorneys take when deciding if someone has committed a crime.
What's New with Business?
Get to Know CSPAA this May!
Gilroy Chamber of Commerce members are invited to join us on Sunday, May 21, 2023, 2-4 p.m. at 6547 Immersion Loop, San Jose, for our “Get to Know Us” event. Stop by to learn about the California Summer Performing Arts Academy (CSPAA) and what we do to provide quality, affordable performing arts education in our community. You’ll get to chat with some of our board members and learn about our upcoming Downbeat! summer choir camp. Wine and light refreshments will be served. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Misty’s Friends Summer Reading Club
“Misty’s Friends” is a 6-week summer reading club for children ages 8-12 (approximately grades 4-7) who like horses and need or want to improve their reading skills. “Misty’s Friends” will meet for six 90-minute club meetings between June 14-Aug. 4 at DreamPower Horsemanship (7460 Crews Road, Gilroy, CA). The reading club will be reading the book “Misty of Chincoteague” (with a reading buddy), practicing social-emotional learning based on the themes in the book, and learning about the Chincoteague Pony breed and horsemanship with Poppy and Daisy and the rest of the DreamPower therapy horses. The reading club fee of $295 includes six 90-minute club meetings, the book “Misty of Chincoteague,” insurance and all club materials and supplies. There will be two clubs meeting weekly on Wednesdays 3:00-4:30 and Fridays 3:00-4:30 between June 14 – Aug. 4 (no club meetings June 28/30 and July 26/28). Each club member will be in either the Wednesday or the Friday club. Limited partial scholarships are available through a grant from the Gilroy Assistance League. For more information or to sign your child up for Misty’s Friends, message DreamPower Horsemanship on Facebook or email email@example.com.
10th Annual Downtown Live Concert Series
TENTH ANNUAL DOWNTOWN LIVE CONCERT SERIES
Every Thursday from June 15th to August 3rd 2023
5:00 to 9:00 PM
The Gilroy Downtown Business Association is gearing up for a fun-filled summer with its Tenth Annual Downtown Live concert series. From June to August, residents and visitors will be able to enjoy free live music performances every Thursday night downtown.
The eighth week concert series is a popular event in Gilroy, attracting people from all over the Bay Area. Each week, a different band takes the stage to deliver an electrifying performance that will have the crowd up on their feet and dancing. This year’s lineup includes Soul Kiss, B town, Neverland, Sweet Daddy and the Bad Cats, JJ Hawg, The Joint Chiefs, Arena, and San Benito County Line.
Aside from the music, Downtown Live also offers a chance for people to come together and socialize. Food trucks and vendors are on hand to provide delicious treats and drinks. This year we are expanding our offerings to include on-line ordering and delivery from many of our downtown restaurants. The concert series is a great way to enjoy the summer weather and spend time with loved ones in a fun, festive setting.
Overall, Downtown Live is a must-see event in Gilroy this summer. With an impressive lineup of performers, delicious food and drinks, and a lively atmosphere, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Grab your lawn chairs, blankets, and friends, and get ready for a unforgettable summer evening of live music in downtown Gilroy.
Time to Get Influential: Leveraging the Power of the Influencer in your Business
Influencer marketing is a powerful strategy for businesses looking to reach a wider audience and build brand awareness. But it’s not just for the big guys. You can leverage the power of the influencer even as a small business. You may not have the pockets to bring in Michael Jordan, but you can build an audience by working with (smaller) influencers.
Before we get into how you can use influencers, let’s address the influencer in the room. Where are these minor celebrities and how do you work with one?
Where to Find Local Influencers?
First, you can approach all kinds of YouTube phenoms and other social media influencers, but unless you have a deep pocket and plenty of perks to pass along to them, they may be out of your business’s reach unless you have an appeal that is largely emotional for them. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on influencer marketing. Instead, shift your focus to a more localized appeal and look for people in your community who have large followings, are vocal on community sites, and can help you amass appeal.
Here are a few channels to find local influencers:
- Social Media Platforms: Sites like Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Facebook are great places to start your search for local influencers. Use search and hashtags to find influencers in your area or search for popular accounts in your niche and look for those in your region.
- Local Events: Attending local events (like what your local chamber hosts) and networking with others can help you discover influencers in your area. Look for events in your industry, niche, or interest such as conferences, trade shows, and meetups. Don’t forget to attend events that your ideal audience would enjoy. If you own a comic book store, for instance, attending the local Comicon can help you find influencers.
- Online Directories: Check online directories and databases of influencers and search by location. Sites like Buzzsumo, Followerwonk, and Influencer.co are good places to start.
- Google Search: Google search can also be an effective way to find local influencers. Search for keywords related to your business/industry, along with your city or region.
- Referrals: Ask for referrals from other local businesses or individuals who may have worked with local influencers in the past. This can help you find trusted and experienced influencers who are a good fit for your brand.
Resources for Approaching Influencers
Now that you have a few sources for scouting influencers and know how to approach them for the greatest success, what should you do with them to build your audience?
4 Ways to Work with Influencers to Grow Your Brand
Sponsored Content: Sponsored content involves paying an influencer to create content that features or promotes your product or service. For example, a fashion brand might pay a fashion influencer to feature their clothing in a post or video.
Social Media Takeovers: Social media takeovers give an influencer temporary access to your social media accounts to create content and engage with your followers. This can help increase your reach and attract new followers who are interested in the influencer’s content.
Product Reviews: Influencers can review products or services and share their thoughts and opinions with their followers. This can help build trust and credibility with their audience and attract new customers to your business. However, a good influencer is going to give an honest review. Be prepared for that. Hopefully, they’ll give you a heads-up if there’s anything less than stellar, so you have the time to digest it.
Giveaways and Contests: Working with an influencer to run a giveaway or contest can help attract new followers and increase engagement. For example, a bookstore might partner with an author to run a gift card giveaway because an author’s audience is comprised of readers.
Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing pays influencers a commission for every sale or lead they generate for your business. This can be an effective way to incentivize them to promote your product or service to their audience.
You can work with influencers in many ways to build an audience. By partnering with the right influencers, you can reach a wider audience, build brand awareness, and ultimately drive sales and revenue all while having some fun.
May 8, 2023
GUSD Board of Education Announces Superintendency Finalist
The Board of Education is pleased to announce that Dr. Anisha Munshi has been selected as the finalist for the Superintendency of the Gilroy Unified School District, pending Board approval at the May 18 regular meeting.
Dr. Munshi earned her doctorate from San Jose State University. She holds a Master of Arts in Education and a Bachelor of Science degree, both from National University. She currently serves as the Associate Superintendent of Professional Learning and Educational Progress Division for the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE). She has also been the Assistant Superintendent of the Human Resources Division and the Director of Human Resources for SCCOE.
Dr. Munshi began her career in education with the Gilroy Unified School District, first as an elementary school teacher, and then as an assistant principal at South Valley Middle School and Ascencion Solorsano Middle School. She was also the principal at South Valley Middle School from 2011-2016, and served as a Trustee for the GUSD Board of Education from 2018-2020.
Dr. Munshi resides in Gilroy with her husband, and is the mother of two adult daughters, both of whom are graduates of Gilroy High School.
The Board of Education will host an open house for the community to meet Dr. Munshi at the Neon Exchange (7365 Monterey Highway in Gilroy) on Sunday, May 21, from 1:00-3:00 pm. Drop-in for light refreshments and beverages, and say hello. There is no formal program scheduled for the day, so join us at your convenience. All are welcome to attend.
Please RSVP by Monday, May 15, using this form: https://forms.gle/H6EQ1kyzA1SNJgJ66.
The Gilroy Unified School District serves almost 11,000 students in 14 schools, including two comprehensive high schools, one early college academy, one continuation high school, three middle schools and seven elementary schools. With over 1,100 employees, Gilroy Unified School District is the largest employer in the city.
Facing California Deadlines, Automakers Race to Produce Electric Cars
Lea este artículo en español.
Amid the clank and clatter of the factory floor in Dearborn, Michigan, self-moving robotic vehicles transport the 1,600-pound batteries that power Ford’s flagship electric pickup truck to workers in various stations, who rush to bolt them to other parts.
After workers inspect each battery, the robot moves it along a track to the next station, then wedges itself between two idling robotic arms. One arm is overhead, dangling the 2023 F-150 Lightning’s chassis, while the other swiftly moves to pick up the massive battery and attach it to the chassis.
Assisted by more robots, workers quickly assemble the remaining parts: the aluminum frame, tires, cab and truck bed. Then the completed pickup truck — which has a long wait list of potential buyers — undergoes a final round of inspections and testing here at Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.
From Michigan to Georgia to the Bay Area to overseas, a new age of car manufacturing has arrived, spurred by California’s landmark mandate to end new sales of gasoline-powered cars in a dozen years. Already the transition to electric vehicles is exposing automakers to myriad challenges as they rush to ramp up production.
“Demand for electric cars is rising even faster than ever before,” said Darren Palmer, Ford’s vice president of electric vehicle programs. “It’s changed the way we work, it’s changed everything.”
The industry is grappling with supply chain constraints, fierce competition for crucial raw battery materials, and a rush to start producing cheaper, U.S.-made batteries — while also getting new assembly plants up and running in time to meet California’s ambitious timeline. At the same time, the autoworker union has raised fears about job security and workplace safety during the industry’s rapid transformation.
Forty-four major factories already produce electric vehicles in the United States, and several automakers, including Toyota, Hyundai and Ford, are now building massive new factories to assemble electric cars, as well as new battery manufacturing plants. The investment in new U.S. factories: more than $40 billion.
Tesla has long-dominated the market, selling more than a million cars last year. Still, some companies, particularly Toyota — which sold only a few hundred all-electric cars in the U.S. last year and recalled them for faulty wheels — have been resistant and slow to make the change, industry experts say. Instead, Toyota remains focused on its hybrids instead.
At Ford, Palmer says they’re up to the task. By the end of this year, the automaker plans to produce at least 150,000 F-150 Lightnings a year — more than four times the number the company initially planned.
Facing California’s mandate, “we know that we will move to all-electric eventually — we’re all-in,” Palmer said, adding that “there’s a whole load of states that are all following California.”
“A challenge for a company like ours,” he said, “is how do you manage that transition?”
Revamping assembly lines — and the workforce
As one of the Big Three U.S. automakers, the Ford Motor Company has been a leader in the auto market since the company was founded more than a century ago, producing many of the gas-guzzling cars Americans love to drive. But California is now forcing Ford and the rest of the global auto industry to move quickly to zero-emission models.
Vehicles account for about half of all greenhouse gas emissions in California, making them the state’s single largest source warming the planet and polluting the air with smog and soot.
Adopted by the Air Resources Board last August, California’s mandate requires 35% of new 2026 cars sold in the state to be zero-emissions — almost double the current sales — then ramping up to 68% in 2030 until reaching 100% in 2035.
California drives the U.S. auto market — one out of every 10 cars is sold there — and at least 17 other states have pledged to enact California’s rules. Putting even more pressure on automakers, the Biden administration last month followed California’s lead in proposing its own stringent measures to scale up production of electric vehicles nationwide.
Automakers will have to sell almost 12 million electric cars in California by 2035. Only about 838,000 electric vehicles were on California’s roads in 2021.
Such a rapid transformation of the giant industry is unprecedented.
“We just don’t have the production capacity today to satisfy that potential need in the future,” said Erich Muehlegger, a UC Davis professor of economics who analyzes electric vehicle market trends. “Automakers are in the process of developing that, but it’s not something that can be done overnight.”
During California’s rulemaking last year, the auto industry pushed for looser requirements, calling them “too aggressive” and “extremely challenging.” But now, as the state’s deadlines loom, many automakers are focusing their engineering skills and investments on achieving them.
State air-quality officials say they are confident that manufacturers can scale up to meet the deadlines. California is already two years ahead of schedule in achieving its 2025 target of selling 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles. About 19% of new cars in California last year were emissions-free.
“Now we are moving all the way to zero,” said Air Resources Board Chair Liane Randolph. “We’re very optimistic that we are going to see dramatically increasing deployment going forward.”
Ford announced a surge in its investments in electric vehicle production: about $50 billion globally for electric vehicles and battery materials through 2026 — up from $30 billion — with a goal of producing 2 million electric vehicles.
But to manufacture electric cars and pickups, Ford has to totally revamp its assembly lines and retrain its workforce. It’s a vastly different process than building a truck with an internal combustion engine. The all-electric version of the Ford F-150 pickup truck has far fewer parts than its gasoline-powered counterpart: no spark plugs, pistons, fuel tank, oil filter, multi-speed transmission, timing belt, muffler or catalytic converter — to mention only a few. Internal combustion engines have thousands of parts while electric power systems have only six main components.
The union representing General Motors, Ford and Chrysler workers says the transition could threaten job security. United Auto Workers estimated in 2018 that electrification could result in a loss of about 35,000 jobs among its 400,000 members.
For instance, the traditional, gas-powered model of the F-150 is assembled by 4,400 workers at Ford’s Dearborn factory, while the all-electric version, assembled next door, takes only about one-sixth of the workforce, 750 employees.
Laura Dickerson, director of United Auto Workers Region 1 in Michigan, said maintaining good-paying, middle class jobs will be critical to ensuring a successful transition to electric vehicles. Dickerson said workers who build cars don’t enter the industry because they’re passionate about gas-powered engines or electric vehicles — they do it because the jobs provide financial security.
“Moving into the future, we just need to make sure that we protect the work because those are environmentally friendly jobs,” she said.
Ford representatives declined to address questions about employee retention or layoffs, but said the company would be hiring additional employees as it expands its electric vehicle center. Ford will reassign an 800-person crew this fall, moving them from the plant that builds traditional F-150s, and plans to hire 300 new employees this year. In all, the F-150 Lightning plant will employ about 1,800.
The struggle to maintain good-paying jobs while producing electric vehicles has already led to clashes between some automakers and their employees. At a GM plant in 2019, nearly 50,000 unionized employees went on strike during contract negotiations when the automaker announced plans to shut down some plants that produce gas-powered cars and shift to electric car production.
Volkswagen’s top executive also predicted job losses, saying building an electric car takes “30% less effort” than building an internal combustion engine.
Dickerson said auto workers have expressed additional concerns about potential health and safety issues from working with batteries.
Many materials are highly flammable and can be explosive, and exposure to hazardous metals such as lead can cause health problems, she said. Workers had to be trained to safely handle the materials, along with high-voltage electric connections.
“Working in manufacturing can be dangerous and with electric vehicles, some of those dangers — we’re unaware of,” Dickerson said.
Dickerson said some minor accidents have likely occurred, but so far she knows of no fatal or serious accidents. The biggest concerns, she said, are whether the handling of the metals could expose workers to health problems in the future.
“They don’t know if they’ll get burnt by something, they don’t know if something else will develop from that down the line, because all of this is new,” she added. “There are a lot of unknowns to it and so people are very nervous.”
In response to the union’s concerns, Ford spokesperson Kelli Felker said the company takes “the safety of our workforce very seriously. Our manufacturing processes are designed to keep our workforce safe.”
Investing billions in EV assembly plants
When the first all-electric F-150 Lightning was unveiled in a live-streamed event broadcast in New York’s Times Square and the Las Vegas strip, U.S. consumers rushed to buy the vehicle that Ford dubbed “the truck of the future.”
But the demand for the electric version of the nation’s most popular pickup far exceeded the supply, creating long wait lists: Ford received more than 200,000 reservations for the F-150 Lightning in late 2021, creating a three-year backlog — months before the first models were available for sale. Consumers bought more than 15,000 in the first six months it was sold in 2022, according to a January sales report.
So Ford responded with a big surge in production, announcing it will now make 150,000 electric trucks a year, five times more than initially planned. Ford says demand for 2023 F-150 Lightnings is still outstripping supply, but that new customers likely will be able to begin placing orders this month.
“The F-150 is the vehicle that built America, so we made it electric,” Palmer said. “As soon as we realized the demand that was going to come, we started increasing production. Now that normally takes years and years for most companies. But at Ford, that’s what we’re very good at.”
The electric vehicle portion of Ford’s massive, century-old Dearborn River Rouge complex, which one executive called a “cathedral of manufacturing,” is still expanding as pressure ramps up to produce more models.
Ford now sells three all-electric models in the U.S. — the F-150 Lightning, the E-Transit van and the Mustang Mach-e — and will start building another electric pickup truck, called Project T3, in 2025, at BlueOval City, a $5.6 billion, 3,600-acre vehicle and battery mega-factory under construction in Tennessee.
BlueOval City is Ford’s largest investment in electric vehicle production to date, expected to provide about 5,700 new jobs and have the capacity to churn out at least 500,000 electric vehicles annually, according to Ermal Faulkner, the project’s site director.
The factory project has faced delays due to weather, although construction is on schedule with plans to open the plant in 2025, he said. Some supply chain delays and battery problems have also disrupted Ford’s EV production. In February, a battery fire temporarily stalled production of the F-150 Lightning.
To stay competitive, GM is producing the F-150 Lightning’s biggest rival — the new Chevy Silverado EV, an all-electric version of its best-selling pickup truck expected to be released later this year. The 4.5 million square foot factory near Detroit, which opened in 2021 and is expanding, also will manufacture GMC Hummer EVs and the self-driving electric Cruise Origin.
GM, which expects to produce a total of 600,000 electric vehicles a year, is the only major automaker that has pledged to stop selling gasoline-powered cars around the world by 2035.
The EV wars: Fierce competition for car buyers
Economists are increasingly seeing growing competition among U.S. and overseas automakers in the EV market. That includes everything from sourcing necessary battery materials to offering competitive pricing for new models. Last year, U.S. customers bought more than 800,000 all-electric vehicles, nearly doubling from 2021 and totaling about 6% all vehicle sales.
Competition remains fierce as legacy automakers try to catch up to Tesla, which still dominates the market with two-thirds of all electric vehicle sales and the nation’s two top-selling models. Tesla has car assembly plants in the East Bay city of Fremont, as well as in Texas, Germany and China, and has invested in a $6.2 billion lithium-ion battery cell gigafactory in Nevada, with $3.6 billion more expected.
In response to Tesla slashing its prices in January for some of its models by 20%, Ford reduced the price of its Mach-E by up to $5,900.
Still, Ford and other legacy automakers like GM continue to trail behind in sales, although in the first three months of the year, GM did outsell Ford in electric cars by nearly two-to-one.
Ford’s automotive engineers are trying to change that.
Just five miles from the electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Dearborn, teams of engineers behind the glassy, reflective exterior of Ford’s world headquarters are racing to design more efficient and lighter-weight batteries. Their mission: To reduce the high upfront price tag of its electric models.
They’re rethinking battery chemistry and the components they use to hold the battery. The new batteries are one of the most important technologies of the clean energy future, said Charles Poon, the company’s director of electrified systems engineering.
Ford’s new strategy involves creating alternatives to batteries made with expensive nickel, cobalt or manganese, which are in high demand. Instead, the automaker is developing new, cheaper technology to incorporate more batteries made of lithium-iron-phosphate. Both Tesla and VW have announced that it will be the go-to for their standard-range EVs in U.S. and European markets.
Ford also is trying to replace heavy materials in its 1,600-pound battery pack without compromising the power output. The goal is to make future batteries more energy-dense, lighter and cheaper, Poon said.
“We’re working on it super hard,” Poon said. “We have new hardware technology, chemistry design and battery cell design to increase overall acceptance.”
Poon said the new lithium-iron-phosphate batteries would be far less expensive, which will yield vehicles that are more affordable than existing models. Reducing battery costs is critical because the high cost of electric vehicles is a major barrier to consumers. The average price of an electric car as of February was $58,385 — about $9,600 more than the average car — although it dropped from about $65,000 last year. Lower-end fully electric cars start around $27,500.
Teaming with Chinese battery companies
Rob Williams, a maintenance and engineering manager at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, said battery production delays have been one of the assembly line’s biggest challenges.
Access to critical battery minerals poses significant barriers to meeting California’s EV requirements, said Muehlegger of UC Davis. Ford also had to halt production in 2022 due to a computer chip shortage, and he said the industry still hasn’t recovered from supply chain disruptions it faced during the pandemic.
“If we are moving very quickly toward a world in which a high fraction of the new car fleet is going to be electric vehicles and not conventional vehicles, there’s a tremendous amount of battery capacity that needs to be created,” he said.
“There will be a lot of pressure to innovate in this industry. But how quickly the industry is able to innovate — and how quickly the industry shifts away from battery technologies that it’s using now to two new battery technologies that we haven’t discovered yet — it’s hard to know.”
A big part of the reason the auto industry is experiencing supply chain problems is because many materials, including nickel, lithium and cobalt, come from China, which Muehlegger said has become very efficient in refining and producing batteries. There’s only one lithium mine in the United States, located in Nevada.
Switching to U.S.-made components is essential so car buyers can qualify for federal tax credits. For sales to qualify for credits of up to $7,500 in the Inflation Reduction Act, automakers must adhere to strict rules that call for most of its components to be produced or manufactured in the United States or its close trade partners.
Only 14 models qualify for the credit under rules released by the Biden administration in April. Ford’s F-150 Lightning is listed as one of the few qualifying trucks, but the vehicle’s high upfront price tag could make it ineligible for the federal incentives. Currently, Ford’s truck models range from $59,974 to $98,070; to qualify, cars must have a price tag below $55,000, and trucks or larger SUVs under $80,000.
Diversifying and building a new supply chain from scratch in U.S.-friendly countries could delay production, since it takes years to build up, said Muehlegger, of UC Davis.
That’s why Ford has partnered with a Chinese battery supplier, SK On, to build a new lithium-iron-phosphate battery plant in Michigan: By building its own batteries, Ford hopes to obtain a steady stream of materials.
Tesla, in a move to ensure its cars qualify for the consumer tax credit, is trying to secure a similar partnership with a Chinese company to build a lithium-iron-phosphate battery manufacturing plant in Texas.
Palmer, Ford’s vice president of electric vehicle programs, said the company has already secured 100% of the annual battery supply needed for 600,000 vehicles and 70% of the battery materials it needs for an annual global production rate of 2 million electric vehicles by 2026.
“If we hadn’t done this, if we waited two years to invest, we would be in such trouble to be able to secure the amount of materials needed,” Palmer said.
Part of Tesla’s dominating success has been building its own extensive charging network for its vehicles, said David Reichmuth, a senior engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists’ clean transportation program. Other automakers should be prioritizing that, too, he said, because insufficient public chargers have been a huge barrier for renters, multi-family home residents and low-income residents.
“If they’re going to sell these vehicles,” Reichmuth said, “they need to make sure drivers have a positive experience.”
4 Ways Copycatting Can Help You Build a Following on Social Media
By Christina Metcalf
Building a following on your desired platform on social media requires a bit of luck but there are some things you can do to help that luck (and other users) find your profile. But sadly, those things probably don’t have a lot to do with your business.
4 Ways Copycatting Can Build a Following on Social Media
Most business owners I talk to have tons of ideas for showcasing their goods and services. For those with a sexy brand, viewers eat that up. But you need to get there (to sexy brand status) before talking about yourself will be effective in building an audience. For the time being, go for these ideas below that use things that have already been done. Let’s work on gathering a crowd, so you have someone to talk to and hear your offers.
Give Them Something to Connect With
Think of your target market. How old are they? What gender? What stage of life? Now think about what that person finds amusing. What do they reminisce about or love? What are their sacred cows or what events/pop culture made the biggest impressions? Imagine you’re trying to woo Gen Xers. Take a trip down memory lane (in a Little Red Corvette, perhaps) with videos and posts from the 80s. Ask them questions about what kind of lunch box they carried. What posters did they have on their wall? Did they wear jelly shoes or have a Cabbage Patch Doll? Share what you or your employees remember from the 80s. Post pictures of the 80s. The time of our youth leaves a huge imprint on our lives. Use that power to reach your ideal audience.
Many people are feeling lost these days. Financial losses, bank collapses, shootings, lots of bad news and it’s hard to always look past it. Be an inspiration. People need that. Talk about something larger than your business. Share life tips. Matthew McConaughey is building an empire providing logical inspiration. You can too even if it’s only in the form of image quotes. People want to be around a proponent of positivity.
Have a Shtick
Being an unusual presence on social media will get you noticed. But one unusual act is not enough to keep people coming back. Take a note from comedians and get a shtick or a gimmick. If you have a successful one, you’ll become known for it. Get on TikTok or Reels and:
• talk about crazy things your spouse asks you to do
• ask deep questions with funny answers or funny questions with deep answers (a funeral director wrote a book about outlandish questions she gets about the dead)
• point out obvious dumb ideas
• dress up your 4-year-old as your high school English teacher and let her give grammar advice.
Most people don’t like change and they bond with the predictability of a shtick. They’ll come back over and over to see what you’re doing next.
Use Pop Culture and Current Affairs
When it comes to building a social media following, don’t be afraid to hitch yourself to a wagon and ride that gravy train. There are trends on social media, that everyone jumps on and while you may be thinking–everyone’s doing it–do it anyway. If you can’t think of a trend to copy after scrolling through your streams, listen to what people are talking about in entertainment monologues on comedic news programs and late-night shows. Try the opening monologue on a show like Saturday Night Live, for instance. If people are talking about it, you want to be too. Don’t forget local issues or frustrations that may be causing people to roll their eyes. If you can make light of it, people will respond.
The only exception to this advice is the topics of religion and politics. You don’t want to alienate a potential customer or follower by talking about these divisive topics—with one exception. If you are sure your ideal demographic would enjoy it, then go with it (but keep it positive). Some businesses are closely aligned with political or religious ideologies; and in those cases, addressing taboo topics may actually work for you.
It seems like an oxymoron to tell you that to stand out you should be like everyone else. However, the crowd responds to familiarity, and that creates connections. So, if you can play with something people recognize and yet do it in a way that’s all your own, you’ll make an impression and build an audience on social media.
Christina Metcalf is a writer/ghostwriter who believes in the power of story.
May 1, 2023
Show & Shine to Include Non-Profit Expo
We are excited to announce that our 2023 Car Show Kick Off will be at Gilroy Gardens again this year. This year’s Show & Shine will also include a Non-Profit Expo. Attendees can enjoy the experience of the Show and Shine, as well as the wonders of Gilroy Gardens. Last year we had over 500 in attendance and 100 cars on display. Join us to showcase your non-profit! We will have space for 15 booths.
2023 Gilroy Chamber of Commerce Business Expo
Thursday, May 11, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Gilroy Gardens
15 Total booths available
Don’t delay, sign up today!
May 7-13 is National Travel & Tourism Week
May 7-13 is National Travel & Tourism Week, which, according to the U.S. Travel Association, is “an annual tradition to celebrate the U.S. travel community and travel’s essential role in stimulating economic growth, cultivating vibrant communities, creating quality job opportunities, inspiring new businesses and elevating the quality of life for Americans every day.” With this in mind, it’s best to be aware of the travel trends this year that will affect our state and our city.
Visit California has forecasted some positive tourism trends for California for 2023. Visitor spending in California will likely reach over $130 billion in 2023, with leisure spending forecasted to be 16% above 2019 levels. California’s leisure and hospitality employment levels are also nearing full recovery.
Travel enthusiasm is at record levels, and 85% of U.S. travelers have a trip planned for 2023, with 59% planning a domestic trip (based on an Expedia survey.) The average U.S. traveler plans to take 3.5 leisure trips over the next year, with more than 15 days allotted for travel. They are also prioritizing domestic leisure travel as a spending priority in their 2023 household budget, with 35% saying it will be an extremely high or high priority, followed by food and dining (32%), education (24%), clothing and accessories shopping (20%), and entertainment (18%).
This year, Visit California is focusing on luxury and family travel trends. A survey by Booking.com showed that 49% of travelers in 2023 will likely spend more on their next trip, particularly on luxury hotels, flight upgrades, and special experiences. This trend extends to younger generations. An Expedia study found that 80% of those surveyed between 18-34 years old are willing to pay for upgrades.
Gilroy Gardens will be offering luxury-level cabana rentals by the new Lakeside Splash water play area this summer. They will include comfy couches, flat-screen TVs, personal refrigerators, waiter service, and more. Local wineries are offering upgraded luxury options, such as the luxury private picnics at Besson Family Vineyard. Gilroy is also perfectly poised for family travel, with Gilroy Gardens, family-friendly wineries, the Gilroy Premium Outlets, and plenty of parks and trails for hiking and biking.
If your business practices encourage visitors to follow these trends, then, just like the goal of National Travel & Tourism Week, we’ll see the benefits year-round in our city’s economic growth, job market, and the vibrance of our community.
Here’s What you Need to Know About California’s New Pay Transparency Law
Starting on Jan. 1, employers with at least 15 workers will have to include pay ranges in job postings. Employees will also be able to ask for the pay range for their own position, and larger companies will have to provide more detailed pay data to California’s Civil Rights Department than previously required.
California isn’t the first state to force businesses to put their cards on the table. Colorado took that step in 2019, and a similar requirement went into effect in New York City in November. Washington state has its own version that will also kick in on Jan. 1, and a similar statewide bill in New York was just signed by the governor.
The goal of the California law is to reduce gender and racial pay gaps. But New York City’s measure had a bumpy start, with some employers posting unhelpfully wide ranges the first day the law was in place. When Colorado rolled out its law at the beginning of 2021, some companies posted remote jobs that they said could be done from anywhere in the U.S. — except Colorado — dodging the requirement. That wasn’t widespread; about 1% of remote job listings included a Colorado carveout, according to reporting in The Atlantic.
But since California has nearly 7 times as many people as Colorado, according to U.S. Census data, excluding Californians in a remote job listing would come at a higher cost.
“California’s just such a huge economic center,” said Lisa Wallace, co-founder of Assemble, a compensation management platform. “There just aren’t that many industries that are not going to be touched by this.”
What’s the pay range?
Here’s what California job seekers can expect to see more frequently come January: $44 an hour to be a plumber in Berkeley; $18.38-$28.51 an hour for an assistant teacher job in Los Angeles; $74,600 – $141,000 per year for a future compensation analyst in Davis. If companies aren’t adding ranges, people can sue or file a complaint with the Labor Commissioner’s Office, which can issue a penalty of $100 to $10,000 per violation. Companies that don’t have pay ranges in job postings won’t get penalized for their first violation, so long as they add the information.
In addition to preparing to post pay ranges in job listings, companies that don’t already have pay bands for current employees should put them in place, and they should make sure that there aren’t pay disparities based on race, sex, or other protected classes between employees doing substantially similar work, said Jacklin Rad, a lawyer who advises employers on California workplace laws at Jackson Lewis, a law firm.
Businesses are about to have their pay scrutinized by job candidates and employees, said Wallace, the compensation platform company co-founder. “You better make sure that you have a really strong answer for why an employee is paid less,” than the posted range for a similar-looking job, she said. The new California law is uncovering that a lot of organizations have been operating without pay bands, Wallace said. Many of the company’s earliest customers were tech and biotech businesses, Wallace said, but since the bill was signed into law she’s seen increased interest from other sectors, including manufacturing and utilities.
One question that arose immediately when New York City’s law went into effect was how wide can a pay range be without violating the law? Some postings included ranges where the high end was about $100,000 more than the low end.
California’s law explains the required payscale as “the salary or hourly wage range that the employer reasonably expects to pay for the position.”
“It’s really ambiguous,” said Rad, the lawyer. “A lot of attorneys that work in this sphere ask themselves: ‘You know, if the range is too wide, then does that defeat the purpose of pay transparency?’”
CalMatters reached out to the Labor Commissioner’s office, which is charged with enforcing the payscale component of the law. The office didn’t make anyone available to be interviewed, and did not respond to a detailed list of questions about how the law will be interpreted.
California government agencies include pay scales in job postings, and some of the ranges are large. The Civil Rights Department, for example, recently had a posting for an “Assistant Deputy Director, Workforce Data Officer” with a listed pay range of $7,976 – $19,321 per month, which translates to about $96,000 – $232,000 per year. Another posting, for a Deputy Chief Counsel at the Civil Rights Department had a similar range.
Pay ranges are set by the state’s human resources agency, CalHR, and are influenced by bargaining with unions, said Adam Romero, deputy director of executive programs at California’s Civil Rights Department. Those two positions are “very senior,” and most roles don’t have pay ranges that wide, Romero said.
Reporting pay data
The second major component of the new law is that businesses with 100 or more employees will have to start reporting more detailed data on what they pay workers to the state.
It builds on a 2020 law that required companies to submit reports to the state’s Civil Rights Department breaking down how many employees they have in each job category and pay band by sex, race, and ethnicity. The goal was to enable state agencies to more identify wage disparities more efficiently, and to prompt companies to assess their own pay.
The reports are used “in individual investigations of complaints of pay discrimination or other types of complaints of civil rights violations against employers,” said Romero at the Civil Rights Department. The data on its own doesn’t prove there’s been a violation of the law, but it provides context, said Romero. The Civil Rights Department cited the pay data, for example, when it sued Tesla for race discrimination and harassment in February.
The law taking effect Jan. 1 requires employers to add median and mean hourly rate for each demographic group within each job category and include pay data for contractors.
“We are really trying to shine more light on this growing shadow workforce of contract workers,” said Mariko Yoshihara, policy director for the California Employment Lawyers Association, which supported the new law. Google, for example, has more temps and contractors than full-time employees, according to New York Times’ reporting. The new law will reveal how contractors’ pay compares to that of full-time employees, Yoshihara said.
An early version of the new law would have made each company’s pay data public. But after intense pushback from business groups — who said the data is not a reliable measure of pay disparities and that it would “set up employers for public criticism with incomplete, uncontextualized reports and create a false impression of wage discrimination where none may exist” — the bill was amended to keep the reports private.
If companies don’t submit their pay data, the Civil Rights department can take action. It sued Michaels, the craft store chain, and JP Morgan Chase Bank for not submitting the data; both companies settled, paying a combined total of about $23,500 to cover the department’s fees and costs.