Every resident in San Jose, regardless of their ZIP code or identity, should be able to access basic city services that ensure workers and business can thrive. And no, the long wait lines at the Planning Department and the shortened public library hours are not a normal part of city life. Instead, they are the result of over a decade of disinvestment in our public workforce that has crippled the cultural and economic growth of our city. For the past 10 years, more than one out of 10 City of San Jose positions has been vacant; not only is hiring challenging, but turnover has risen so high that recruitment simply cannot keep up.

Right now, San Jose has more than 800 open positions — while offering some of the lowest salary ranges in the region. Empty positions mean neighborhood services not provided, permit applicants waiting far too long, residents’ requests for help going unanswered, and even more pressure on the workers who remain. Our people are our infrastructure, and it is time San Jose committed to building a stronger city where everyone has the resources they deserve.

Not filling these positions follows a decades-long trend in the United States of devaluing public sector jobs that are most often held by women and workers of color. This furthers economic and racial disparities within our city by denying women and workers of color quality jobs to apply for and feel supported in, while also denying residents access to city workers who come from their same communities.

City employees provide services to the entire community; we have all spent Saturdays enjoying local parks or trails or relied on the city to ensure our roads and buildings are safely up to code. The choices we make about who works for the city and how they are treated will either ensure an equitable and thriving city for all or continue to perpetuate the imbalance of resources and responsibilities that have hindered equitable growth.

As local labor and business leaders, we know that solving persistent workforce issues begins with creating intentional goals and a long-term strategy, one that incorporates the experience and wisdom of under-served neighborhoods, businesses and city workers themselves. We must prioritize resources to analyze the current vacancy crisis, set benchmarks for hiring and retention, and identify the resources necessary to adequately support HR in each department. When city workers are supported, they stay on the job, building …read more

Source:: The Mercury News

      

Opinion: To build a better San Jose, start by filling 800-plus jobs

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