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Sofia Navarro Oakland Workforce Development

Sofia Navarro Is The New Oakland Workforce Development Board Executive Director

On February 22nd, 2022, the Oakland Workforce Development Board will get a new boss to replace Executive Director John Braun: Sofia Navarro. Ms. Navarro announced the news herself on her Linkedin page by posting the letter announcing her as the new Oakland Workforce Development Board Executive Director. But who is Sofia Navarro?

Sofia Navarro comes to the City of Oakland after serving as Vice President of Community and Government Relations at Planned Parenthood Northern California. In that role, she writes that she was…

Responsible for the regional oversight, development and implementation of the vision and plan for Planned Parenthood Northern California’s (PPNorCal’s) Community & Government Relations(CGR) department. CGR includes Case Management services, Education and Public Affairs. In addition, direct the operations of the organization’s political arm, Planned Parenthood Northern California Action Fund and its state PAC.

Prior to her job with Planned Parenthood Northern California, Ms. Navarro was with The Unity Council for over nine years, rising from Executive Co-Chair to Chief Operating Officer. As COO, Sofia…

•Provided direct oversight of ten different programs with a total operating budget of $15+ million.
•Reported directly to the CEO and worked in partnership to develop a strategic plan to advance the mission, vision, and values of The Unity Council.
•Analyzed the operations and finances of each management and program operation in terms of its financial, management and staff capacity to determine future needs and operations.
•Actively participated and represented The Unity Council in community and civic activities, including serving on committees and boards that enhance programs and strengthen community partnerships.
•Fostered an employee culture that advocated and promoted the mission of The Unity Council.
•Fundraised, cultivated donors, and reviewed and wrote program-related grants in collaboration with the development department, directors, and program managers.

What The Oakland Workforce Development Board Does

So, just what does the Oakland Workforce Development Board do? The Oakland Workforce Development Board is described as controlled by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and overseeing the federally-funded employment and training programs and services in Oakland. Those programs and services are supposed to job seekers gain employment and connect businesses with Oaklanders seeking jobs and services. This is the paragraph in the “about” section of the website for the organization:

As mandated by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), on March 31, 2016, by Executive Order, and as Chief Local Elected Official of the Local Area Designation (the City of Oakland), Mayor Libby Schaaf disbanded the former Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and established the new Workforce Development Board (WDB). The Oakland WDB oversees the federally-funded employment and training programs and services in Oakland. These programs and services help job seekers gain employment and connect businesses with a qualified workforce. The Mayor appoints the board positions on the Oakland WDB. A majority of these positions are reserved for business-sector leaders. The Oakland WDB currently has 27 members. Generally speaking, the Mayor and the WDB share equal authority according to the federal legislation. The Oakland City Council authorizes the City Administrator to appropriate funding and enter into contracts with service providers.

How Well Does The Oakland Workforce Development Board Do What It’s Supposed To Do?

With all of that, just how well does the Oakland Workforce Development Board do it’s job? Well, there’s no way to answer that question easily. There’s not an available real-time document that answers that question, but there should be. How many people were served annually? How many Oakland businesses were helped? We don’t know, but we should.

Stay tuned.

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