Sam Liccardo

Mayor

San Jose, CA

Sam Liccardo represents San José’s downtown district on the San José City Council, where his priorities have focused on neighborhood empowerment, environmental stewardship, accelerating downtown’s economic development, improving the valley’s transit system, expanding affordable housing opportunities, and creating health care services in the downtown.

Prior to winning election to City Council in November of 2006, Sam served as a prosecutor of sexual assault and child exploitation crimes in the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. He previously worked as a federal prosecutor and at private law firms. Sam’s previous work in the community included tutoring homeless children, serving on the boards of several affordable housing organizations, and advocating for a successful countywide transit ballot measure in 2000.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

Manufacturers consistently report a shortage of skilled workers as a key challenge to their operations in the U.S. As manufacturing today involves complex tools requiring technologically skilled operators, managers, and technicians, there is a strong need for increased access to the training and skills needed to fill these jobs and boost local economic activity. 

Solution

Mayor Sam Liccardo launched an initiative this summer to preserve and strengthen manufacturing activity in San Jose. By leveraging partnerships with industry leaders, energy providers, and educational institutions, he hopes to help San Jose boost its manufacturing base and provide a pathway to the middle class for residents in the wave of next-shoring taking place. These kinds of partnerships can provide students with a clear path to employment, and help boost flagging public college budgets. By focusing upon sites, space, and skills, this initiative will help revive dozens of underutilized warehouses and industrial sites and restore the wages and dignity of thousands of our unemployed neighbors. 


Problem

San José is the largest city in Santa Clara County where nearly 110,000 Legal Permanent Residents reside who are eligible for citizenship but have not applied for naturalization. Obstacles such as language barriers, lack of reliable and accessible information, cost and fear are major barriers. Citizenship allows individuals to engage in civic life and contribute to the economy.

Solution

New American Boost promotes citizenship through information and resource displays located in the businesses and meeting places frequented by the immigrant community. In addition to providing information about the naturalization process, community resources and support services, New American Boost websites highlight and explain the advantages and opportunities available to citizens. With policies like New American Boost, Mayor Liccardo hopes to make it easier for immigrants to fully participate in civic, cultural and economic life in San Jose.


Problem

Youth unemployment remains as high as 20% in some San Jose neighborhoods while a troublesome trend shows an increase in the number of younger youth (14 – 16 year old's) committing burglaries and other crimes. The City’s gang- and crime-impacted neighborhoods fall short in opportunities for youth to be safe, engaged and productive over the summer months and gainful employment is a seemingly unreachable concept. A program that has long-targeted at-risk youth in these neighborhoods—The Mayor’s Gang Prevention Task Force—has long addressed the social, health and safety aspects confronted by at-risk youth and traditional youth employment programs have focused on the 18 and older group. An age-appropriate youth employment program for younger youth had not been attempted. 

Solution

This summer, Mayor Liccardo helped launch SJ Youth Works, a five-week summer youth employment program for younger, at-risk youth recruited through the public and nonprofit agencies already supporting them. SJ Youth Works improves on an already-existing youth employment program with the priority of addressing the reality faced by, and the needs of younger, at-risk youth. The methodology is one that coordinates with the support services already available through public and private continuum-of-care agencies like the County government’s social services programs and probation department or non-profits like TeenForce and Unity Care. By exposing younger youth to well-supported employment experiences that are supplemented with case management, life-skills and financial literacy training, SJ Youth Works is creating pathways for these youth to envision a career while making some money. Youth employment programs, even for younger at-risk youth, have been shown to decrease the likelihood that the youth will become an offender and decrease recidivism rates for those that have.