Gilroy Chamber Business Focus September 2023

September 25, 2023

Don’t Have Time for Events? A Chamber Membership Is Worth a Lot More Than That.

By Christina Metcalf

When I speak to small businesses about their local chamber, the businesses that have let their memberships lapse often make it sound like a gym membership. “I didn’t really use it.” What they’re missing when they make comments like that is the behind-the-scenes benefits of chamber membership. Just as your investment grows in a savings account in a bank, your business investment in chamber membership is growing even when you aren’t actively participating. Here’s what you’re getting that you may not even realize:

7 Ways a Chamber Membership Is Always Working for You


Even if you never attend a single event, the Gilroy Chamber is advocating for the needs of business. They work with local, state, and federal governments to influence policies and regulations that impact businesses. This advocacy often leads to favorable business conditions, tax incentives, and regulatory changes that benefit businesses without members having to actively lobby for them. The Gilroy Chamber is also instrumental in protecting businesses from harmful legislation and “job killers.” During COVID local leaders turned to the Chamber to learn more about business needs. Many chambers were essential to helping businesses remain or reopen by advocating for more outdoor dining areas and other protocols.

This advocacy is occurring behind the scenes, but you will get more out of it if you work with them in promoting your own voice and industry/business needs.

Economic Development

The Chamber is involved in initiatives to promote economic growth within their communities. They work on attracting new businesses, fostering innovation, and improving infrastructure. Some chambers, like Gilroy’s, are working toward creating an economic development brand, like establishing their area as a “tech corridor.” As a result, businesses within their area experience increased economic opportunities and growth even if they’re not directly involved.

Educational Resources

They offer valuable educational resources and workshops on topics like business management, marketing, and regulatory compliance. Members can benefit from these resources to improve their skills and knowledge, ultimately enhancing their business operations.

Even if you never attend a single session, chamber membership (and thus, the learning opportunities associated with such) extends to all your employees. The Gilroy Chamber is also a great host for speakers and may bring in people to share their knowledge and skills for a very affordable price, an additional asset to the community.

Marketing and Promotion

They frequently promote their members through directories, websites, social media, and community events. This exposure can boost a business’s visibility and reputation, attracting potential customers or clients who might not have discovered the business otherwise.

Community Engagement

They play a vital role in fostering a sense of community and social responsibility among businesses. They support local charitable causes, events, and community development projects. When a business is part of a chamber, it indirectly contributes to these efforts, enhancing the overall quality of life in the area and potentially improving its reputation.


The Chamber is actively engaged in destination marketing by promoting the unique attractions, events, and experiences available in our community. This marketing effort results in increased visitor numbers, leading to more revenue for businesses.

Infrastructure and Grants

They advocate for improved infrastructure, such as better transportation options, the development of tourist-friendly amenities, and the preservation of natural or historical landmarks. These efforts can enhance the overall visitor and resident experience, making the area more attractive to tourists, relocating businesses, and resident retention, while boosting local commerce.

They get involved with bringing money into the area for quality-of-life projects through grants and other forms of funding. Their ability to work with the public and private sectors is unparalleled. They can easily act as a bridge between groups and bring leaders of all areas together for the betterment (and funding) of the community.

They provide a range of benefits to businesses beyond what may be immediately apparent. Even if you don’t have the time to give to chamber membership activities, the Chamber is working on things like advocacy, economic development, marketing, community engagement, and tourism initiatives to improve your quality of life and add to your business’s potential for growth. We work tirelessly to create a more favorable business environment, helping our members thrive without requiring them to take individual action on these fronts.

Downtown Events Build a Better Gilroy

Gilroy’s downtown district is an eclectic hub of arts, culture, and community engagement. Events like the Art and Wine Walk, Third Friday Art Walks, mural unveilings, Garlic City Car show, and Thursday Night Live concert series aren’t just entertainment; they drive economic growth for local businesses that define our community.

What makes Gilroy’s downtown unique is its historic preservation, setting the stage for diverse activities that attract visitors from across the state. As visitors flock to these events, they discover the broader Gilroy experience, benefiting the city’s overall prosperity.

These downtown events have a clear impact on local businesses. For instance, Old City Hall Restaurant and Station 55 Seafood & Mexican Cocina both witnessed a significant sales boost during events such as the Garlic City Car Show. Breweries like Pour Me Taproom also report increased sales during the Thursday night Downtown Live concert series. Matt Gallion, Co-Owner of Pour Me Taproom, highlighted the event’s positive impact, including drawing new customers and out-of-town visitors.

Gilroy’s experience isn’t unique; cities nationwide recognize the economic benefits of downtown events, such as increased foot traffic, higher sales, and stronger community bonds. The summer season in Gilroy has demonstrated a direct correlation between event attendance and revenue for some downtown businesses. Looking ahead, Gilroy’s downtown events, including the Tamal Festival, Chalk Festival, Beer Crawl, La Ofrenda Festival – Gilroy’s Inaugural Dia de Muertos Festival and Wellness Fair, and Holiday Festival and Parade, will draw local and out-of-town visitors alike. For example, this year’s Garlic City Car Show entertained approximately 13 thousand attendees, with nearly 7 thousand of them traveling from outside of Gilroy, according to Placer.AI.

Hosting an event in the downtown area has far-reaching benefits that extend beyond the host itself. In a small town, businesses rely on regulars, weekend explorers, and passing travelers, and downtown events amplify these connections, fostering unity and shared purpose essential for long-term growth and resilience.

It is abundantly clear how critical it is to strengthen relationships with neighboring businesses and work towards a common goal. By supporting and participating in downtown events, we build a strong business climate that’s foundational for a healthy, vibrant community. Gilroy’s downtown isn’t just a place for businesses; it’s where culture and community flourish.

Our downtown events celebrate our shared identity, fostering collaboration among businesses, residents, and visitors. They create a dynamic, inclusive, and prosperous environment, upholding Gilroy’s status as a welcoming place where everyone can thrive.

CalChamber Urges Governor to Veto Job Killer Bill Imposing Onerous Return to Work Mandate

By CalChamber 

A California Chamber of Commerce job killer bill that removes business’ flexibility and autonomy over hiring is awaiting action by the Governor.

The CalChamber is urging Governor Gavin Newsom to veto SB 627 (Smallwood-Cuevas; D-Los Angeles) because it imposes an onerous and stringent process to hire employees based on seniority alone for public-facing and health care businesses, including hospitals, retail, restaurants, and movie theaters, which will delay hiring and eliminates contracts for at-will employment. The bill also likely violates the Contracts Clauses of both the federal and California constitutions.

Undermines Basic Management for Businesses

SB 627 seeks to micromanage the rehire process for the affected businesses.

Several of the provisions, or lack thereof, will only delay rehiring and increase costs on employers. Specifically:

  1. SB 627 forces an employer to repeatedly offer newly available positions to qualified employees, no matter how many times the employees have turned offers down, failed to respond to previous job offers, or explicitly declined previous offers to return to work.  Further, there is no opt-out option. Under SB 93 (2021) and similar local ordinances, this slowed down the hiring process significantly and upset former employees who obtained other employment, moved out of state, or changed career paths entirely.
  2. SB 627 would essentially eliminate the use of severance agreements, which benefit employees. No employer subject to such a retention right would have any reason to offer a severance agreement.
  3. SB 627 forces an employer to send notices to all eligible, qualified employees for an available position and then wait five business days before analyzing acceptance offers based upon seniority. Under SB 93 (2021) and similar local ordinances, this waiting period has slowed down hiring and will have the same impact here.
  4. SB 627 forces employers to hire based on seniority, not skill. The bill ties the employer’s hands as far as hiring because they are only allowed to consider seniority, not who is most qualified for the job. It further prohibits them from considering other applicants that may be best suited for the position.

Likely Violates the Contracts Clauses

As defined in the bill, “chain” would include a multitude of businesses and industries, such as retail, restaurants, grocery stores, hotels, hospitals/health care facilities, movie theaters, and more. For all of these industries, SB 627 creates a problematic, permanent statutory scheme that eliminates at-will employment and mandates hiring based on seniority alone.

Unlike prior right-to-recall laws, there is no common tie between these industries or their circumstances. Further, there is no justification for the bill. For example, in 2021, the Legislature passed SB 93 as a result of the unique obstacles presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and limited to hospitality.

In fact, in its first iteration, Governor Newsom returned AB 3216 (2020) without his signature for creating too large a burden on employers and not being sufficiently tied to a narrow justification. SB 93 was a subsequent, more narrow version. SB 93 was limited in both time and scope and specifically tied to the impacts of COVID-19 on jobs with a sunset. No such justification exists for the permanent mandate proposed by SB 627, and it is completely unlimited as to time.

For this reason, SB 627 likely also violates the Contracts Clauses of the United States and California constitutions because it modifies existing at-will contracts. Any law that substantially impairs pre-existing contractual obligations violates the contract clauses of both the federal and California constitutions.

SB 627 creates a novel, long-lasting retroactive right.

Under California law, and absent an agreement otherwise, all “employment may be terminated at the will of either party on notice to the other” (Labor Code Section 2922). Nearly every employment agreement in California either impliedly or expressly recognizes the at-will nature of the relationship. Employers hired workers assuming that, if the viability of their business was threatened, they could lay off these workers without granting them a possible cause of action.

Given that there is no justification for SB 627 and its broad applicability to nearly every industry without any limitation in time or scope, it is unlikely that the state would be able to show that SB 627 is “appropriate and reasonable” in serving a specific interest.


AI for Business: Bewares and Boasts

By Christina Metcalf

Practical ways to use it in business and what to avoid.

At first glance, especially for people who have trouble writing or have difficulty starting out and collecting their thoughts at a keyboard, AI can feel like the smartest kid in the class offering to do your homework for free, forever. It seems like a huge win and I’m not saying it isn’t. But there are a few things you should be aware of as well as some tasks it does tremendously well that could save you a lot of time and energy.

AI “Doesn’t Always Get It Right”

Google’s new Bard (AI) issued this statement to all users, “Bard will not always get it right.
Bard may give inaccurate or inappropriate responses. When in doubt, use the ‘Google it’ button to check Bard’s responses.” This is true of all AI. AI is not a sentient being. It gets its answers and content by crawling the web and condensing information. Sometimes that can cause problems.

It doesn’t:

  • Fact check or verify stats and attributions/citations
  • Sift out bad info (if that information is mentioned in a variety of places)
  • Have any vested interest in producing SEO-rich content for you (unless you use an AI program that is created for that)
  • Know what your audience responds to


AI Has Different Levels of Sophistication

There are many free options out there as well as AI/bot starters where you can build your own “in minutes.” It’s important to know that each one has different capabilities and claims—some have a plagiarism detector, for instance, so you needn’t worry about the copy it creates for you being flagged as duplicate content.

It’s Only as Good as What You Feed It

The real benefit of using AI lies in its ability to create content in a fraction of the time it takes for a human to write it. Even talented writers using dictation software or ones blessed with 100+ words per minute typing skills, can’t research and write a 300-word blog post in a minute.

But the content is only as good as the instructions you give it. For instance, if you were producing a blog post about Golden Retrievers, as a dog walker your blog would be different than that of a dog breeder/dog show participant, which would be different still from a vet’s perspective written for other vets. The level of sophistication and knowledge is different for each of those audiences. You will need to express that in the directions you provide the AI if you want a good piece of content that fits the needs and understanding of your audience.

AIs Struggle with Same Names

When I asked Google’s AI Bard what Bard does really well as research for this article, it responded with things that a bard/storyteller excels at, not what it does. (However, when I asked “what do you do well?,” it provided a satisfactory answer.

So, if your business shares a name with something else or you’re using a play on words or employing a name/word in a different context, the program may not produce helpful results.

5 Things AI Does Well

Now that you know what to watch out for, let’s cover a few things it does really well. Using AI for these things can save you lots of time.

  1. Help you brainstorm. If you’re rewriting your business tagline and you have part of it but can’t think of the perfect ending, try giving an AI writer a prompt such as, “help me finish my <insert type of business> tagline <insert what you have so far>.
  2. Come up with invite language. Basic invite language is a breeze for AIs. Canva has one built in.
  3. Write simple emails or letters. Creating form letters can be a pain but not with AI. Feed it the necessary info and you can move on to a better use of your time.
  4. Create an org chart. Provide your positions and it will give you what you need.
  5. Produce content without colorful language. Many writers lament that the content AI creates is boring. It lacks colorful language and stories. While it can create stories for you, it won’t add a story example to a blog post. However, “boring” is not always bad. If you want to create content that lacks biased language AI might be the way to go. Don’t ditch your editor yet but I have not come across any use of language bias when employing an AI assistant.

Is using AI right for you and your business? Perhaps. But keep in mind, it is a tool, not an additional employee. It can produce content in a fraction of the time, but it requires oversight. It does not always generate content ready to be used as is. If you envision what it creates as a starting point product like how a sous chef does the prep work for a top chef, you have a good understanding of how you might use it in your business.

September 18, 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.

60 Years & over
Chiesa Family
New SV Media Inc.

40 Years & over
Fritter, Shultz & Zollinger Physical & Occupational Therapy
Round Table Pizza
Amy N. Tran D.D.S.

30 Years & over
California Landscape Company
El Camino Packing
Paymaster Payroll Service

20 Years & over
Blaettler Accountancy Corporation
Farmers Insurance, Maria Cid Agency
GMH Today
Headstart Nursery
Heritage Bank of Commerce
Intero Real Estate Services – Susan & Rick Patereau
Pembrook Development
Staples, Inc.
West Side Nursery

10 Years & over
GB Landscape Services
Gilroy Express Car Wash
Gilroy Sister City Association
LJB Farms
Rotary District 5170
Z-Best Composting Facility

5 Years and over
Big 5 Sporting Goods
Sunny Smiles Dentistry
The Neon Exchange

More Weekday Caltrain Service from Gilroy/Morgan Hill to San Francisco

Caltrain, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), and the Cities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill are thrilled to announce a significant enhancement to the weekday Caltrain service that will further strengthen the transportation network for South County residents. Starting Monday, September 25, a fourth train will be introduced to the Gilroy/Morgan Hill morning and evening weekday service, offering commuters greater flexibility and convenience when traveling by Caltrain.

The decision to expand the service comes as a result of collaborative efforts between Caltrain, VTA, and the Cities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill, with a strong focus on improving accessibility and connectivity for residents in these areas. The additional train aims to accommodate the growing demand for commuter rail services, ultimately enhancing the overall transportation experience.

This development has been met with enthusiastic support from local officials and community leaders, recognizing its significance in addressing the region’s transit needs.

Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley expressed her excitement, saying, “We are ecstatic about the expansion of weekday Caltrain service from Gilroy and Morgan Hill to San Francisco. Until now, weekday service from Gilroy has been limited to three, sometimes two trains. This enhancement to a four-train schedule will provide our residents with more convenient and reliable transit options, reducing congestion on our roads and contributing to a greener, more sustainable future. While we are not yet where we’d like to be, it’s a significant step forward in making Gilroy and Morgan Hill even more connected to the job growth of the wider Bay Area, fostering economic growth that includes south Santa Clara County, and improving the quality of life for our communities.”

Commenting on the collaborative effort that brought the fourth train to South County, Morgan Hill Mayor Mark Turner added, “The addition of the fourth train is both a short-term and long-term victory for South County residents. A lot of credit goes to those staff members from Morgan Hill and Gilroy who have remained committed to seeing this day come to fruition. My sincerest gratitude to the Caltrain and VTA Board and staff for their part in bringing this fourth train to South County. Generating more connectivity options to other Bay Area locations through mass transit positively impacts our environment. Caltrain’s vision and efforts toward electrification will be an additional benefit by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

“Caltrain will soon offer the best rail service South County has ever seen,” said Jeff Gee, Chair of the Caltrain Board of Directors. “We want to make sure that everyone can take advantage of all the benefits Caltrain has to offer, and with this fourth train, residents all over South County can find out for themselves.”

County Supervisor, Caltrain Board of Director Representative, and VTA Board Vice Chair Cindy Chavez added, “I am thrilled about the addition of a fourth train to Morgan Hill and Gilroy. This is an important connector for South County and has been a long time coming.”

To ensure that the new schedule aligns with the needs and preferences of commuters, Caltrain conducted a survey in June 2023 to gather feedback. The new train service was adjusted based on the valuable insights received from the community, making it a truly customer-centric initiative.

For more information about the expanded Caltrain service and to stay updated on the latest developments, please visit Caltrain’s official website.

Joint Press Conference to Celebrate the Fourth Train

Caltrain, VTA, and the Cities of Gilroy and Morgan Hill will be holding a joint press conference to celebrate the fourth train on its first day of service.

The press conference will take place at the Gilroy Transit Center, located at 7250 Monterey Highway, Gilroy, California, at 7 a.m.

Following the press conference, the members of the press are invited to join elected officials in riding the 7:29 a.m. train from Gilroy to Morgan Hill.

What: Joint Press Conference to Celebrate the Fourth Train

When: September 25, 2023 at 7 a.m.

Where: Gilroy Transit Center, 7250 Monterey Highway, Gilroy

Speakers: Mayor Marie Blankley, Mayor Mark Turner, Board Representative Cindy Chavez, and Board Chair Jeff Gee

September Spotlight with the Mayor: City Collaboration with Gilroy Unified School District

by City of Gilroy Mayor, Marie Blankley

City of Gilroy/Gilroy Unified School District Collaboration

The Gilroy Unified School District and the City of Gilroy collaborate on many programs to bring services and resources to our community members. Through it all, we mutually recognize the overriding importance of child safety, physical and mental well-being, and healthy active programs.

  • Joint use of the Aquatic Center at Christopher High School. The City of Gilroy runs a summer recreation program allowing the public to use the water slides and pools for swim lessons and playtime during the summer.
  • Joint use agreement for playgrounds at two of the District’s elementary schools: Luigi Aprea and El Roble. The playgrounds are used by students during the school day and are open to the public during non-school hours.
  • We share facilities the City or District owns, including Caesar Chavez Gym, Christmas Hill Park, and the Gilroy High School Theatre.
  • The City keeps the District apprised of new proposed residential developments so that the District can incorporate population impacts in its multi-year planning process for facilities and staffing needs.
  • The City and the District together review traffic safety near schools and jointly fund certain traffic safety measures, such as the rectangular rapid-flashing beacon (RRFB) crosswalk over Tenth Street at Gilroy High School.
  • Most recently, the District made the City aware of health and safety dangers posed to children at a school campus from individuals residing at a nearby encampment. The Gilroy City Council enacted an ordinance that requires a minimum of 500 feet between encampments and school campuses within the jurisdictional boundaries of the City of Gilroy.
  • Two full-time School Resource Officer (SRO) positions are jointly funded by the District and City. The SROs are Gilroy Police officers with special training in managing emergency situations at schools and strong working relationships with district administration who would take the lead in an emergency. SROs are familiar with how the schools operate and know the school’s safety procedures. They maintain positive relationships with students and school staff and have been trained in Restorative Justice practices.
  • The County of Santa Clara Public Safety Agencies have an Active Shooter and Mass Casualty Response Protocol, which includes the District and Gilroy Police Department routinely conducting training scenarios at one of the District’s secondary schools during summer break to prepare officers for steps to take in the event of an intruder or shooter on campus.
  • Joint training in the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to plan for situations when both the District and City can pool resources, including transportation and sheltering.
  • The District and City’s communication departments have collaborated on public awareness campaigns to educate residents about the dangers of fentanyl. Collaborative communication was essential during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The Superintendent, Board President, and Board Vice President meet with the City Administrator and Mayor monthly to discuss important issues in the Gilroy community and how best to address them.

Share your time with us on October 7th at 9:30am to discuss and learn more about how the City and the School District interact and collaborate on these and other concerns of mutual relevance throughout Gilroy.

Santa Clara County Emergency Preparedness Fair
Community Preparedness Month Returns to Santa Clara County
Come join Santa Clara County for a great opportunity to learn more about how to prepare for emergencies and disasters, as well as the potential risks and hazards in Santa Clara County.
And be sure to stop by the City of Gilroy booth and say “hi” to their amazing team.
Everyone has a part in the emergency planning process! It takes the whole community, including government, first responders, and the community, working together to respond to and recover from an emergency or disaster. When we work together, our communities are stronger when faced with and more resilient after an emergency or disaster occurs. For more information, go to: Santa Clara County Emergency Preparedness Fair.
What: Emergency Preparedness Fair
Who: Open to all community members
When: Saturday, Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: County of Santa Clara Animal Services, 12425 Monterey Rd., San Martin, CA 95046

September 11, 2023

Rock the Mock, Rocks

By Victoria Valencia, President/CEO – Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

Members of the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, Gilroy Unified School District, volunteers from the business community and educators alike will come together on November 3 and 9 to conduct job interview training workshops for over 200 high school students. The event, called, “Rock the Mock,” is designed to allow students the opportunity to experience real life interviews with bankers, small business owners, HR personnel, general managers and others.

Giving students this opportunity allows them insight to what a job interview might be like. This event helps students to see there’s more to the interview process than simply sitting down with a prospective employer and having a conversation. Students will learn they need to be properly prepared long before the interview occurs.

Rock the Mock consists of a series of workshops which last approximately 30 minutes each and provide helpful hints from properly greeting someone to researching the company where a student is hoping to be hired. In the workshop, “How to Prepare for the Interview,” students learn about researching a company, important information to include on a resume, how hiring managers research potential candidates and why caution should be applied when posting information on social media platforms.

In the workshop, “Dress for Success,” students are instructed on topics such as professional clothing styles, how too much bling can ruin a good thing and not overdoing colognes and perfumes to name a few.

In the workshop, “What Social Media Says About You,” students are shown how posting inappropriate information on social media can come back to haunt you when you apply for a job. Employers do extensive background checks and information posted on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and other platforms. What’s posted says a lot about an individual.

Students also learn the proper way to shake someone’s hand and introduce themselves in the “Handshake” workshop that occurs just before the interviews.

The “Interview” workshop places students squarely in front of adult volunteers who ask various behavioral style questions causing students to think beyond “yes” and “no” answers. In some cases, a single student may interview with two volunteers experiencing a type of interview panel.

Students from Gilroy High School and Mt. Madonna High School will participate on Friday, November 3 at Gilroy High School while students from Christopher High School and Gilroy Early College Academy will participate on Thursday, November 9 at Christopher High School.

The Business and Education Committee of the Chamber of Commerce first implemented this program in 2014. Members of the Committee wanted to provide an interactive experience for students that would help them learn the skills necessary to be prepared for all aspects of a job interview.

If you are available either November 3 and/ or 9, and would like to participate, please complete this Google form: as soon as possible, and return the required information through the Google form or email a copy to

Spice of Life Awards Highlights Local Leaders

The 70th Annual Spice of Life Awards took place on Saturday, August 26 at Fortino Winery where award recipients and attendees were treated to a champagne reception and live music from Micaela Stites and The Soft Lights, as well as quite a few laughs at the expense of former Chamber CEO and the 2023 Man of the Year, Mark Turner.

The Chamber worked with local youth-focused organizations leading up to the event to emphasize the current workforce development initiative, highlighting career-building opportunities available within our community. The Chamber worked with CMAP to spotlight each of the award recipients and sponsors on social media, and the night of the dinner, Kneaded Bakery presented cake shooters and a variety of their signature cookies.

This year’s award winners were presented their awards by the Chamber’s Incoming Chair, Manny Bhandal and Past Chair, Carlos Pineda.

The Chamber Board and staff would like to congratulate all the award winners for the great work and lasting impact they have on the community.

  • Jane Howard – Woman of the Year
  • Nissan of Gilroy – Large Business of the Year
  • One Life Prints – Small Business of the Year
  • Mark E. Jacobsen – Young Professional of the Year
  • Alexandra Beyret – Susan Valenta Youth Leadership Award
  • Mike Brownfield – Firman B. Voorhies Volunteer of the Year
  • Michelle Andersen – Educator of the Year
  • Latino Family Fund – Non-Profit of the Year
  • Mark Turner – Man of the Year

To nominate a person or business for the 2024 Spice of Life Awards, go to: Spice of Life – Gilroy Chamber of Commerce

 The Chamber would also like to thank this year’s sponsors and volunteers for their support and assistance with making this year’s event a success. 

Event Sponsors

  • Amazon Web Services
  • Pinnacle Bank
  • Fortino Winery

Award Sponsors

  • Integrated Financial Benefits
  • Pinnacle Bank
  • Intempus Property Management
  • Bracco’s Towing & Transport
  • Amazon Web Services
  • Heritage Bank
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Cline Glass Contractors

A Special Thank You

  • Johnny’s Custom Auto
  • Gilroy Gardens
  • Valley Water
  • Meineke
  • A&S Metals
  • Performance Food Service
  • Guild Mortgage- Jayson Stebbins
  • Kneaded Bakery
  • Visit Gilroy
  • Clorinda Sergi
  • Jennifer Van Gundy
  • Debbie Russell
  • Chris Bevilacqua

Centerpiece Sponsor

  • State Farm – Gina Lopez Agency


Dessert Sponsor

  • Bhandal Bros. Trucking, Inc


Music Sponsor

  • Tempo Kitchen & Bar

Media Production



Nacho Moya, Award Winning Artist Exhibits at Gavilan, October 13 

Nacho Moya, recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Award and the Poppy Jasper award, comes full circle as a Gav alum this Fall semester for an evening art exhibit at the Gilroy Campus on October 13 at 6:00 PM.

Gavilan College’s “El Centro,” the one-stop resource center for meeting basic student needs, hosts the “Nacho Moya Art Reception: From Retail Worker to Artist,” where more than 20 of Mr. Moya’s latest paintings will be displayed.

The FREE reception will start at 6 pm at the Gilroy campus library gallery space. Attendees will be able to chat with Mr. Moya and enjoy light refreshments, while viewing the paintings and networking with community dignitaries.

This event is open to the entire community and those wishing to attend are strongly encouraged to RSVP:

Gavilan Superintendent/President shared:

“We are excited to welcome Mr. Moya back to Gavilan to showcase his incredible artistic talent at our Gilroy campus. His journey as a Mexican immigrant and transformation from retail worker to artist is not only inspiring but empowering for the communities we serve. We look forward to welcoming everyone to our campus this October to enjoy art reflective of Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Mr. Nacho Moya, enthusiastically expressed:

“I’m so excited to be back at Gavilan College. Years ago, I was a student here. Now with my exhibit, I’m returning full circle to share my art with the community. I’m dedicated to the arts and how it’s used as a form of therapy. I hope to share this love and the notion that anyone can become an artist.”

For more information email:

About Gavilan College: Gavilan College is one of 113 California Community Colleges, a part of the largest system of higher education in the world. At Gavilan College you can prepare to transfer to a university, get training in a skilled career, build your academic skills, or attain needed classes for career advancement. As a small community college, Gavilan offers a more community-oriented and personalized experience than you might find at a larger school, with high educational quality and access to technology.

Prepare Now for the 2024 Minimum Wage Increase

Just as employers throughout the state had gotten used to the current $15.50 minimum wage, and many mid-year increases took place in various cities throughout the state, the California Department of Finance has announced that the state minimum wage is set to increase to $16 per hour on January 1, 2024.

California Labor Code Section 1182.12

Many business leaders are asking, “why is there another increase?” The state mandates an increase in minimum wage when certain inflation-related events reach specific thresholds. California Labor Code requires the Director of Finance to make an annual determination that economic conditions can support a statewide minimum wage increase and certify to the Governor and Legislature that such conditions are met.

Specifically, the CPI (Consumer Price Index) for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers increased by over 6% in the time period of July 2022 to June 2023 as compared to the previous 12-month period. The director calculates and recommends the increase using one of the following options:

  • A 3.5% increase or
  • The actual rate of change per the U.S. CPI (6.16%)

Full-Time Exempt Employees Are Impacted

This new increase will not just impact hourly employees. The hourly increase also adjusts the minimum salary requirement for salaried, exempt employees, which is set at two times the hourly minimum wage x 2080 hours.

The current exempt minimum salary sits at $64,480 per year. The 1/1/24 increase means that as of January 1, 2024, exempt employees must earn a minimum of $66,560 per year to maintain their exemption status.

Preparing for the Increase

Remember that when a wage increase takes effect, employers must also ensure that wage statements are updated and issue non-exempt (hourly) employees a revised Wage Theft Protection Act Notice (under Labor Code section 2810.5). This notice should reflect the new rate of pay and overtime rates, and must be issued within seven calendar days after the time of the changes. Local government websites also provide required minimum wage postings.

Budgeting Tips

As you budget salaries for 2024, pay attention to exempt employees who are currently near the minimum salary threshold, such as foremen, leads, supervisors, etc. If this new wage increase does not look financially possible for you, now is the time to start analyzing your options. You may want to consider moving some salaried employees to an hourly (non-exempt) status in January.  This would not be considered a demotion, nor would it mean your employees would have different responsibilities, however, this does come with its own set of challenges: tracking meal and break periods, overtime, scheduling issues, etc. CEA members can access our fact sheet “Exempt to Non-exempt—Employee Relations Tips” for additional guidance on our HR Forms page.

Remember, California employees are presumed to be non-exempt unless they meet the duties and salary test to be exempt. Best practice is to convert employees from exempt to non-exempt before the salary increases to level your budget.

If you are concerned about your compensation plan, want to design a brand new compensation program, or just modify your existing one, CEA can help. We offer Compensation Services including pay structure design & assessments, market pay structure maintenance assessments, and executive compensation plans among other things.

For a current list of all local minimum wages in effect, CEA members may refer to our Local Minimum Wage and Paid Sick Leave Fact Sheet on our HR Forms page for the various local requirements.


September 4, 2023

New Law Requires Businesses to Provide Medical Access to Employee Bathrooms

A bill that didn’t get much attention back in January is something many employers need to be aware of to avoid fines and lawsuits. California enacted Assembly Bill 1632, which requires many businesses to allow certain individuals to use their employee toilet facilities, even if they do not normally make those facilities available to the general public. The new requirement went into effect on Jan. 1, 2023.

Covered Businesses

A place of business is subject to the new requirement if it:

  • Is open to the general public for the sale of goods; and
  • Has a toilet facility for its employees.

Conditions for New Requirement  

A covered place of business must allow any individual who is lawfully on its premises during normal business hours to use its employee toilet facility if:

  • The individual has an eligible medical condition or uses an ostomy device; 
  • Three or more employees are working onsite at the time of the request;
  • The facility is not in an employee changing area or an area where providing access would create obvious health, safety, or security risks; and
  • A public restroom is not immediately accessible.

Proof of Eligibility 

A place of business may require reasonable evidence that an individual has an eligible medical condition or uses an ostomy device. If a business does require this, it must accept a signed statement by a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant on a form developed by the California Department of Public Health as sufficient proof.

Eligible medical conditions include Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, other inflammatory bowel diseases, irritable bowel syndrome, or another medical condition that requires immediate access to a toilet facility. Under the new law businesses with employee toilet facilities may be fined up to $100 if they fail to open those facilities to individuals with eligible medical conditions under certain circumstances.

California Governor Signs Executive Order to Help Prepare Students, Workers for High-Paying Careers

By CalChamber

California Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday signed an executive order launching a new career education effort to prepare students and adults for the workforce of tomorrow and calling for additional steps to reduce employment barriers for state jobs. The order directs the state to align and integrate the implementation of programs supported by billions of dollars in funding to prepare students and workers for high-paying careers.

Master Plan on Career Education

The order directs state leaders in education, workforce development, and economic development to work collaboratively with leaders of the state’s public education systems and employers—along with legislative partners and stakeholders representing diverse students, parents, education professionals, labor, business, and community groups—to develop a Master Plan on Career Education.

The Master Plan on Career Education will guide the state in its efforts to strengthen career pathways, prioritize hands-on learning and real-life skills, and advance universal access and affordability for all Californians through streamlined collaboration and partnership across government and the private sector.

Removes Degree Barriers for State Jobs

Recognizing that many state jobs do not require four-year college degrees for success in a position, the Governor’s executive order directs the California Human Resources Department (CalHR) to evaluate whether a college degree is needed for a particular position whenever its classification is reviewed. CalHR is currently engaged in outreach efforts to help more Californians access state employment.

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