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21st Century Workforce – A Year in Review

By Hilary Tellesen & Liz Kilkenny

Valley Vision’s 21st Century Workforce impact area provides relevant, data-driven research to advance responsive and equitable career pathways. To that end, we regularly hold regional industry advisories to examine skill gaps and labor demand to inform workforce development partners. The events throughout the year offer insights into skills gaps and labor demand in varied industry clusters. The advisories are conducted in collaboration with the Los Rios Community College District and supported by the Capital Region workforce boards.

In 2023 we hosted a total of 6 avdisories with almost 450 registrants. As we enter 2024, we want to reflect on a few of these memorable sessions that showcased how employers and workforce stakeholders are working to build connections for equitable pathways to growth.

Advanced Manufacturing

The first advisory of 2023 was our most attended of the year with over 115 registrants.

The Advanced Manufacturing Advisory was held on February 9th with an employer panel that included Siemens, TSI Semiconductors, DMG Mori USA, Origin Materials, and Tomra. The event showcased the breadth of career pathways available in the manufacturing sector and the higher-than-average earnings potential. The Sacramento region’s manufacturing jobs are projected to continue to grow, with many positions not requiring a Bachelor’s Degree. Additionally, the advisory showcased initiatives designed to increase equity and inclusion in the manufacturing workforce with a highlight on the Industry and Inclusion Cohort Program, in which Sierra College is participating.

Mental and Behavioral Health

Our advisories feature presentations and panels from experts in the focus industry. From left to right: Jessie Armenta, Clincal Director at La Familia Counseling Center; Shanine Coats, Director of Strategic Iniitiatives at the Sacramento County Office of Education; Christie Gonzales, Chief Program Officer at WellSpace Health; Jeneba Lahai, Execeutive Director at Yolo County Children’s Alliance.

The Mental and Behavioral Health Advisory on September 21st featured two keynote addresses, one from California’s Department of Health Care Access and Information, providing insights into newly available state funding. The second address was from WellSpace Health on the organization’s extensive work in the Sacramento region and the need to bolster and diversify the mental and behavioral health workforce. Employers from Yolo County Children’s Alliance, La Familia Counseling Center, Sacramento County Office of Education, and Kaiser described the local labor demand and significant hiring opportunities. Job postings in the Greater Sacramento subregion have increased by 22% in the 12-month period spanning September 2022 to August 2023.

Information and Communication Technologies

Since the pandemic all of our advisories are hybrid events. Project Associate Liz Kilkenny (center left) and Project Coordinator Gustavo Garcia (center right) take the lead on tech to ensure both virtual and in-person attendees have a smooth experience.

The Information and Communication Technologies advisory on October 12th emphasized the importance of stackable credentials, promoting collaborative efforts and post-event networking. Notable panelists included representatives from Placer County, Microsoft, the City of Roseville, and Swinerton. These employers engaged in insightful discussions about the regional job market and effective recruitment strategies. The Greater Sacramento region’s Information and Communication Technologies workforce anticipates a 6% job growth over the next five years, translating to 2,741 annual job openings from 2022 to 2027. This thriving sector boasts a median annual wage of $102,497.

Water Careers

Senior Project Manager Hilary Tellesen (center) introduces the keynote speakers for the Water Careers Advisory.

During the Water Careers Advisory on October 27th, employers discussed upcoming career opportunities in the Greater Sacramento region due to the retiring workforce. The Office of Water Programs at Sacramento State and Valley Water were the keynote speakers who emphasized the need to diversify the talent pool and develop additional skills. Employer panelists included the California Department of Water Resources, the City of Sacramento Water Department, the State Water Resources Control Board, and Stantec. The demand for water-related jobs is projected to increase, especially for Electrical and Instrumentation and Maintenance/Repair Workers. The trajectory indicates a substantial 12% growth in water careers from 2022 to 2027.


Valley Vision regularly conducts post-event surveys to gather participant feedback and gauge the advisories’ impact. The results reflect an overall positive impression of the advisories with 100% indicating satisfaction with the information and materials provided.

These testimonies underscore the importance of collaboration through mechanisms like this, providing valuable information and connections for future planning and continuous improvement of educational and workforce pathways.

Looking Ahead

A huge thanks to our workforce team for their efforts planning these advisories. From left to right: Diangelo Andrews, Project Associate; Gustavo Garcia, Project Coordinator; Hilary Tellesen, Sr. Project manager; Liz Kilkenny, Project Associate.

Looking ahead, Valley Vision remains committed to creating opportunities for information sharing, collaboration, and innovation. Thank you to the employers, educators, and partners who contributed to these convenings. We invite all partners to join in building a resilient, inclusive workforce that reflects the collective strength and diversity of our shared region by attending upcoming advisories that can be found on our events page here. Your participation is vital as we strive to meet the region’s evolving workforce needs.


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