SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — The city of San Jose looks to be one of the first cities in the nation to offer a jobs program to young adults who have been unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, along with city council members and community partners, announced Monday the proposal to create a new Resilience Corps.

The Resilience Corps would build on San Jose’s role as a pilot city for Governor Gavin Newsom’s Climate Action Corps, which aims to put young adults to work immediately. 

“This pandemic has not impacted everybody as we know, in particular in our community, there are communities that are going to take a long time to recover and we have to do everything we can to accelerate that recovery for our hardest-hit residents,” said Liccardo. 

“And as we look at unemployment throughout the country right now, the rate of unemployment for young adults in their early twenties is twice the rate of unemployment for everybody else.”

How it works

The jobs program aims to create 500 jobs primarily — but not exclusively — for young adults focusing on five critical tasks of community resilience: pandemic response, environmental resilience, overcoming the learning loss of struggling students, economic recovery, and disaster preparedness.  

Through the program, unemployed and underemployed young adults will get living-wage employment and work experience opportunities. 

Liccardo tells KRON4 News young adults are not looking for handouts, but an opportunity to earn some income as the pandemic continues to impact those living in the hardest-hit areas by COVID. 

San Jose has many potential jobs that offer critical work to create a more climate-smart and resilient future for the city. 

“Particularly a lot of young adults who are living in our highest poverty communities, if we can have them back working and most importantly doing things that help support the resilience of our community,” said Liccardo. 

“Helping address learning loss that thousands of our children are suffering from, helping us prepare for climate change, by countering the effects of wildfires by making sure there’s defensible space in many of our neighborhoods, or planting trees where we know that will counter the heat-island effect and help to reduce temperatures in many neighborhoods that are exposed,” Liccardo added. 

“There are a lot of things that we can do today that boost our communities resilience and particularly at a time of a pandemic.”

The city says members of the Resilience Corps would receive a living wage with health insurance, with employment-focused on San Jose residents living in high-poverty census tacts, regardless of immigration status or citizenship. 

Local outreach

Locally, the city says it collected extensive input from community organizations across a variety of sectors about potential employment opportunities through the Resilience Corps, including the following: Save the Bay, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority, Guadalupe River Park Conservancy, Keep Coyote Creek Beautiful, Hunger At Home, Mexican Heritage Plaza, Gardner Health, Innovate Public  Schools, and San Jose Conservation Corps.

Mayor Liccardo has also led a bipartisan coalition of nearly two dozen mayors from across the county to advocate for federal and state funding for a Resilience Corps in every city. 

Fundings will include a FEMA 100% reimbursement for pandemic-related jobs and will utilize up to $20 million in deferral relief dollars to create more than 500 job placements with community partners. 

The Budget Message proposal will be considered by City Council on Mar. 16.