Op-Ed: NextGen of working Californians by Todd Stevens
Todd Stevens, President and Chief Executive Officer for California Resources Corporation, penned an important op-ed this week on the future of California’s workforce in honor of Labor Day. We have an excerpt below. Be sure to check out the full editorial here.
Labor Day is a time for all Californians to appreciate the contributions of working people, and ensure that we are doing everything we can so that the next generation of California workers can earn a livable wage and provide for their families.
Jobs and the economy must be at the forefront of our politics, and our state’s next set of leaders should be focused on supporting good jobs that offer a pathway to the middle class.
That is particularly true in the Central Valley, which has lagged behind other parts of the state in job creation and growth. Too often, policies made in Sacramento are crafted to benefit coastal communities, while those in the heart of the state are an afterthought, or left behind completely.
The Central Valley’s rich history of oil and gas production has helped power our growing economy, enhanced and enriched our lives in ways most don’t recognize and provided good, honest careers. Oil production in the San Joaquin Valley accounts for more than 52,000 jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in business sales, according to research conducted by economists at Cal State University, Fresno.
We are on the heels of a dramatic revolution in our society. We are transitioning from the heavily industrial economy of the 20th century to one where the technology and service sectors are dramatically expanding. This shift has created exciting new opportunities, but has also led to division within our society. Too often, those in high-wage tech jobs are able to live by one set of standards, while many new jobs in the expanding service sector barely provide a living wage.
This new economy tends to fracture along regional ethnic lines as well, with Latinos, African Americans and other diverse groups disproportionately stuck with service jobs, and left out of the high-wage tech jobs. While coastal cities are booming, inland areas of California lag behind on everything from job creation to wage growth.
Our industry continues to offer a pathway for many people who do not have college degrees or are otherwise at risk of being left behind in the new economy. It continues to be a way for thousands of workers who are not pursuing higher education to earn a good living wage, have a career and provide for their families.