Oakland Economy Now! June 2015

Oakland Economy Now

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Breaking News!

Sunset Magazine announced today that they are moving their headquarters from Menlo Park to Oakland. The San Francisco Business Times reports that the magazine signed a 20,000 square feet lease in 55 Harrison Street in Jack London Square.  In explaining the move, Editor-in-Chief Peggy Northrop said “Cities like Oakland are at the heart of some of the most exciting trends and innovations coming out of the West, and we’re thrilled to be where the action is.” Welcome Sunset!

First Anniversary of the Broadway Valdez Plan

More than 1,200 housing units and 150,000 square feet of retail and commercial uses are in the City’s approval process for the Broadway Valdez neighborhood immediately north of Uptown, near Lake Merritt. Adopted one year ago, the Broadway Valdez Specific Plan included innovative zoning to encourage new mixed-use development and retail. Projects underway include a Sprouts Grocery Store, CVS and the multi-use Hive Oakland development by Signature Development Group. Three additional mixed-use projects have been approved and another application has been submitted in the area. All of these projects are taking advantage of the streamlined entitlement and environmental review process provided by the adopted Specific Plan. For more information, please contact Strategic Planner Laura Kaminski.


Development Proposals in the Broadway Valdez Specific Plan Area

Tech Talent Growing Throughout Oakland

With high demand for professionals who have tech and programming skills, an increasing number of organizations and services are popping up across the City to train workers and cultivate talent. Oakland’s first coding school will open downtown at TechLiminal in August 2015. LearnTech Labs will offer multiple courses and internships through their new location at Oakland’s first co-working facility. In East and West Oakland, Google Impact Challenge winner Hack The Hood will offer summer coding programs for youth ages 16-21. Business owners looking to get a beautiful, free website should visit http://www.hackthehood.org/business.html. And on June 6, the OpenOakland brigade celebrates the National Day of Civic Hacking with events bringing together civic hackers and coders in all seven Council districts.

Oakland Workforce Investment Board offers Free Services, Training Funds for Local Businesses

Oakland businesses who want to connect and hire locally can receive substantial support from the Oakland Workforce Investment Board (OWIB). The OWIB helps connect Oakland businesses with a large, diverse applicant pool and provides recruitment and training assistance to businesses at no charge. The OWIB also offers funding for On-the-Job Training, reimbursing up to 90% of new employees’ wages during a training period at their new employers. For more information about OWIB services, please contact Tamara Walker.

Help the OWIB better meet your business needs and launch the next generation of training programs by completing this short survey!

Scaling Up Worker Cooperatives

Some of Oakland’s most original and successful local businesses are also worker cooperatives, including Design Action Collective, Dig Cooperative, Arizmendi Bakery and Mandela Foods Cooperative. Local nonprofits are also leading the movement to support and scale this business model. The Sustainable Economies Law Center is partnering with Project Equity, the Green Collar Communities Clinic (GC3) and Laney College to offer a new academy for worker-owned enterprises. Applications for the Worker Coop Academy are due June 14 and an info session for potential applicants will be held on June 2.

The New Oakland Family Businesses 

Married couple Rachel and Keba Konte are the trailblazers behind two of Oakland’s most creative new businesses. Rachel Konte opened Afro-Scandinavian clothing and design boutique OwlnWood on Grand Avenue and was one of the first businesses to use Oakland’s KivaZip lending platform. Successful artist and entrepreneur Keba created Red Bay Coffee Roasters in Fruitvale, quickly generating a dozen local jobs and some of the best coffee in the Bay Area. Supported by their work with Inner City Advisors, Red Bay is now aiming to expand with a worker-owned co-operative café at Hive Oakland in Uptown.


Public Art Inside and Out at 19th Street BART

A new, dynamic public art project commissioned through the City of Oakland Public Art Program, “Shifting Topographies” by Dan Corson, is now in place at the 17th Street entrance to the 19th Street BART. The installation is part of Luminous Oakland, a Public Art Program initiative to develop a media-arts corridor in the Uptown District emphasizing illuminated and light-based public art. Luminous Oakland also includes temporary sculptures at Uptown ArtPark (19th & Telegraph), and initial partnership support for the media projection program on The Great Wall of Oakland at W. Grand Avenue and Valley St. Now BART has put out a call for California artists to create light-based installations for the interior of the station. As part of a larger station modernization, BART is seeking up to three artists to complete large scale graphic work to be illuminated by lightboxes inside the 19th Street BART station. For more information, visit http://www.bart.gov/about/planning/19th or attend an Open House at the 19th Street station during First Friday from 4-7PM.



Take the WIB Workforce Survey

New Business Recycling & Compost Services start July 1

Opening a Business? Contact us!

Business Assistance Center

Zoning & Permit Information

New Minimum Wage & Employment Laws Information

KivaZip Oakland

Foreign Trade Zone

Take Our Survey on Economic Development in Oakland!


Bombay B’s
Mad Oak Bar N Yard
Next Thing Co.
Noble Brewer
NSEWest Co. (previously therethere)
Sequioa Café
The Town Business


The Blackstone Group Commits to Bring Housing, Retail to Oakland
June 1, Contra Costa Times

206-Unit Tower Designed by Global Architect Firm to Land In Oakland
May 28, SF Business Times

Introducing A Blog That Will Cover Entrepreneurship in Oakland
May 18, Forbes.com

5 Reasons Oakland is the Next Big Thing
May 14, BisNow.com

This Tiny $9 Computer Blazed Past the Million-Dollar Mark on Kickstarter
May 13, Fox News

Intel Partners with Oakland Schools to Expand Computer, Engineering Programs
May 12, Post News Group

New Boutique Hotel Heads to Downtown Oakland
May 6, SF Business Times


State Payroll Tax Workshops
June 3 @ 1515 Clay St
June 10 @ 1515 Clay St

Workers Academy Coop Info Session
June 2 @ Laney College

First Friday
June 5 @ Multiple Locations

Call for Artists: BART Open House
June 5 @ 19th St BART

Application Deadline: Summer Institute
June 9 @ The Workers Lab

Application Deadline: Worker Coop Academy
June 14 @ Laney College

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