Mae Torlakson and the economy

I believe that one of the State’s main responsibilities is to stimulate economic growth, create good paying jobs, help lift our most vulnerable residents out of poverty, and bridge income and wealth gaps. In order to do this, I plan on:

  • Supporting efforts that provide equal pay for equal work, ensuring that fair and equitable wages are distributed;
  • Working to ensure that everyone is paid a livable wage, so that all of our families are lifted out of poverty;
  • Creating “Jobs Teams” composed of representatives of local government, transportation, labor and small business owners to help find ways to expand businesses and job opportunities in AD-14;
  • Taking my experience as an active member of the Coalition of University Employees (CUE) to Sacramento to fight to secure collective bargaining rights and fair wages for workers of all skill levels;
  • Advocating for career technical education and apprenticeships so that we can encourage local hire and stimulate the district’s local economy.

Expanding California’s Competitive Edge

I will focus on expanding California’s competitive edge. Our technology companies have made our state the envy of the world. But, too often these companies cannot find people with the skills they need. Increasing the number of students trained in the STEM fields will connect Californians to the technology companies that have strengthened our economy.

I will push for a full scale Cal State University in Contra Costa County at the former Naval Weapons station near BART. With a comprehensive set of programs and course offering for 4 year completion of Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees both Contra Costa and Solano County residents will be well served. Universities are job magnets.  There is great potential for public/private partnerships and incubator start -up businesses at this location. Such opportunities and new jobs could create a “Silicon Bay-Delta” similar to what has happened in Silicon Valley with San Jose State University.

Career Tech and Jobs of the Future

I am a strong proponent of more career education – the modern version of what we used to call vocational education. I will work to expand programs and schools that provide technical training to students by:

  • Increasing career technical education course offerings, apprenticeships, and skills certification programs;
  • Creating links between schools and fields such as engineering and construction, medical sciences, business and accounting, law and justice, the arts, computer sciences and coding;
  • Connecting our learning standards to real world jobs, and linking high schools and colleges with our regional employers to form partnerships that will fill current job needs and stimulate new job opportunities

Mentorship Programs

Mentors provide us with the guidance, reassurance, and support needed to succeed in today’s expanding global economy. In 2013, I developed a one-on-one mentoring program for MESA community college and university students with Cisco employees, and this concept has inspired me to continue to advocate for mentorship programs across the state. Mentorship programs allow companies to “home-grow” their talent by investing in their communities and in our students, and allow our students to refine their career ambitions and start stable careers.