gmhTODAY 11 gmhToday Nov Dec 2016 - Page 98

President’s Message From Bedroom Community to Balanced Community By John Horner, President /CEO Morgan Hill Chamber of Commerce 98 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN the workforce in a way that enables them to fill the available well-paid jobs. Over the past several decades our educational organizations have been pushed hard to pursue the ideal of all students having the opportunity to pursue four years of college, get a degree and then become employable in well-paid jobs. Along the way, we dropped some traditional “vocational” course and programs because they were hard to provide, were perceived as out-of-date and/or were not measured by traditional standardized tests. Meanwhile, the need for people with particular skills, yet short of a full bachelor’s degree, has continued to grow. The annual Chamber run All Morgan Hill Science Fair is an example of business people and students working together to learn essential skills. Fortunately more and more policy makers realize that our people and our businesses need these kinds of skills and the educational programs are returning to meet the need. The Chamber’s role in this is two fold: First, to encour- age the initiation and growth of what are now called CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs. Second, and even more importantly, to bring local businesses to the table in the ongoing evolution of these programs, the providing of internships for students, and the eventual employment of the graduates. The recent grand opening of Gavilan College’s Aviation Maintenance Technology program site NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2016 CHAMBER T he end of a year is always a good time to take stock of where we have been and to lay plans for where we are going. Much has been going well for the community of Greater Morgan Hill and for our organization, and yet much still needs to be done. Morgan Hill has made outstand- ing progress in redeveloping the historic downtown, building a much needed parking structure to support the downtown’s growth and starting to build some of the medium density housing which is necessary in these times of exploding land costs and ever worsening commute traffic. In other ways, however, we have not kept pace with our evolving needs, particularly with regard to professional job growth, modernized mid-skill level job training and a consistent and persistent approach to thoughtfully growing our visitor-based economic sector. Collaborating to address these issues is thus our top priorty. According to the US Census Bureau, in 2002 Morgan Hill had a roughly balanced inflow and outflow of workers on a daily basis with 12,853 people coming into the city to work and slightly fewer (12,681) leaving for work. By 2014, the inflow had increased marginally to 13,122 people while the outflow had increased by nearly 50% to 18,058. Meanwhile those living and working in the city had actually dropped from 3,377 to 3,138. In 2002 Morgan Hill was a balanced community. Now we find ourselves leaning toward more of a bedroom community. For the long term, bedroom communities are not economically or socially healthy or vibrant. Fortunately Morgan Hill is both healthy and vibrant at the moment, but we must reverse these demographic trends in order to be so in the future. Consequently we believe that a focused, multi- organizational effort to make professional job growth the top economic priority for our local government and business associations is absolutely essential. Our second major priority is ensuring that programs and connections are in place to provide educational opportunities required for people entering, re-entering or re-training for