The Forum is K-EARTH 101′s public affairs show aired every Sunday from 6-7am, which focuses on local issues important to you. This week’s show featured Adam Christian, Director of Planning & Research, Center for Urban Infrastructure at UC Irvine and Eddie Purtuas, Manager, California Employment Development Department (EDD) with William Sola, Account Executive, Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) – Marina office.

Here’s what was discussed on this week’s show.

Part 1 -Center for Urban Infrastructure

The Center for Urban Infrastructure (CUI), is an interdisciplinary forum that brings an objective, innovative approach to a wide range of emerging policy issues relating to transportation infrastructure, urban development and community design.

CUI considers urban issues at the local, regional and national levels, connecting key experts’ insights and capabilities from throughout California and around the United States in search of practical solutions. Among the issues addressed by CUI are transportation, land use, water, energy, urban design, housing and the relationships between urban centers and the use and integration of natural resources.

Recently, a report entitled, Thinking Ahead: High-Speed Rail in Southern California, was released by CUI and showcases the benefits of a fast, convenient, and efficient intercity high-speed rail system on southern California’s economy. The report was presented to a conference on August 26, 2010 entitled, “The Light at the End of the Tunnel: Planning for High-Speed Rail in Orange County and Southern California.” Over 100 government, business and civic leaders from Orange County and Southern California attended the conference held at Brandman University in Irvine.

Some highlights from the report:

  • The short-term impact of CAHSR construction-related spending could be 57,200 full-time one-year jobs and a payroll boost of $701 million into the regional economy, amid an unemployment rate of 12.6%.
  • If built, the CAHSR Project will deliver 127,000 new permanent jobs to Southern California by 2035, 77% of which are likely to be “green” jobs in the fast-growing clean energy, technology, manufacturing, and financial services sectors.
  • Up to $132 million in medical costs could be saved over a 15-year period by Southern California HSR commuters who are healthier from walking or biking on part of their trip.
  • High-speed rail will prevent the emission of nearly half a billion pounds of CO2 annually by 2035, helping Southern California to comply with the greenhouse gas reduction targets recently set by the Air Resources Board under AB 32, which survived a state ballot initiative challenge this past Tuesday (61.2% voted against).

Part 2 – California Employment Development Department

  • The State of California Employment Development Department has been in existence since 1945. Has been known by a few different names including the Department of Employment.
  • The EDD was created by the Wagner-Peyser Act of 1935 (co-sponsored by two Senators)
  • The primary funding for EDD comes from employers who contribute to the Federal Unemployment Insurance program, and the funds are distributed to States throughout the country by the U.S. Department of Labor
  • EDD has continued to change the way it provides programs and services over the years to better meet the needs of our labor force.
  • The EDD is now partnered with other agencies that provide services for the workforce.
  • EDD provides several services for both job seekers and employers including workshops to help job seekers better equip themselves for the job hunt; career guidance in areas such as providing information about the local and national labor markets, professional job clubs where participants can come together and network, and services that are targeted for specific groups such as military veterans.
  • EDD also assist employers by helping them with qualifying for special tax credits when they hire new workers; bonding programs to help hire new workers that would otherwise cause their insurance rates to increase.
  • The Department also helps employers find new workers by conducting targeted recruitments which can save employers money in recruiting cost.
  • The Department provides assistance to help a company’s whose employees are facing layoff by conducting on-site rapid response services that may help avert layoffs.
  • The EDD operates the Employment Training Panel program which helps businesses with retraining their workers to keep up with new technologies and improved business practices. The Department provides funding for employers to help with that training cost.
  • The Department is sponsoring the 4th Annual Honor a Hero, Hire a Vet Job and Resources Fair that will take place on Wednesday, November 10th at the Proud Bird Event Center in Los Angeles near LAX. It’s free and open to all veterans and the general public as well.

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