Grounded in a comprehensive assessment, this report distinguishes between two facets of employment trajectories in Stockton. At one end of the spectrum, there is occupational employment around a subset of rapidly growing, but relatively lower-paying occupations. On the other, there is a subset of higher-paying occupations in need of a skilled workforce. This analysis illustrates career planning ladders to help workers connect these opportunities, and it describes an equity-focused and employer-responsive system to grow more good-paying jobs in Stockton. Threaded throughout are community-based worker voices that remind us of the scope and scale of the need.
Current employment trends in the Stockton area clearly illustrate the need for action. Between 2010 and 2019, the median wage of a job in the Stockton area has plummeted from 75% to only 69% of the California median wage. Nearly half of the Stockton area’s job growth in the past five years has been driven by fulfillment centers where typical jobs pay only slightly above the minimum wage. Education funding has increased; however, because of a dearth of qualified teachers, Stockton’s schools have among the highest concentration of substitute teachers and teaching assistants in the nation. Other industries, including healthcare, show similar patterns – lower-skill and lower-paid jobs grow while higher-wage opportunities go unfilled.
The analysis and insights developed in this report can help change the trajectory for workers in Stockton. Using real-time employer data, we developed a unique job-skills relationship map. That map is designed to describe integrated pathways to build both career lattices and ladders that foster and expand middle-skilled job opportunities in Stockton. We describe pathways to current middle-skill opportunities in healthcare, education and construction, and we illustrate emerging industries that could help Stockton further expand higher-paying jobs. We also recognize the role that exogenous factors play; industries are shape-shifting with technology and regional dynamics are guiding the private sector. Policy priorities at the state are generating public sector investments that will transform new workforce opportunities for the future. In an increasingly complex environment, career lattices, or non-traditional paths, will become an incredibly important tool to equip workers and employers alike as they navigate the workforce landscape.
Based on the analysis, the action-oriented, place-based report concludes with insights and recommended actions developed in partnership with City of Stockton Mayor’s Office. To further this work, it will take collective effort and impact in partnership with local workforce stakeholders, including economic development entities, educators, employees, employers, entrepreneurs, trade associations, residents, unions, and workforce development providers. The four recommendations include: 1) Systems Building: Navigate Learning and Training Pipelines, 2) Employer Engagement: Expand Apprenticeship Pathways, 3) Emerging Partnerships: Nurture Workforce & Technology Opportunities, and 4) Worker Supports: Develop an Equity-Oriented Training Fund. These actions will support Stockton’s workers and businesses, encourage new investment in people and technology, and generate a more prosperous future for the people of Stockton.