CalFLEXI was planned before the pandemic. Long Beach has been nationally recognized for pioneering support for individuals in the hourly labor market. Work Long Beach aims to support anyone in the city who needs irregular work.
Our region is leading the nation towards support for hourly workers.
Even before the Coronavirus emergency, 35% of adults were at least partly reliant on irregular employment. As businesses shutter increasing numbers of people will be seeking extra hours of work. We believe public agencies can be there for them.
As a public workforce board, Pacific Gateway already provides support, training, recruitment and data gathering for the traditional workforce. Creating jobs will always be core to our purpose but we also want to extend services to breadwinners who can’t be available for regular hours of work because of other issues in their life.
To do that sustainably, we need an online platform for hourly labor. It has to be built around protections, control, stability and progression for work-seekers, plus alignment and quality for businesses and households.
The first Long Beach business to publicly declare its support for the new platform was Cambrian Homecare. They originally saw it as a tool for expanding services aimed at seniors and their families. Their non-profit arm, Skills4Care, is a key player in the CalFLEXI collaboration.
The platform powering CalFLEXI was developed in British government programs. The technology is called a CEDAH (Central Database of Available Hours). Initial videos of the platform for our region are here.
A new labor market like this is demanding to launch. It needs an immediate supply of work-seekers and businesses. Working with philanthropic funders our team has prepared a manual on how to build this aligned supply and demand for a new market. Analytics tools in the platform can help.
The first US launch was planned for our region in Spring 2020. Funded by national and state philanthropies, the program won US Conference of Mayors’ prize for best economic development initiative in America. that launch relied on demand from hospitality, events and other companies who have temporarily stopped operating.
Our plan for the pandemic
Because of the national emergency with Coronavirus, we have bought forward the launch of this marketplace. Many households now need childcare, many workers trained and vetted to work with children need extra hours of work. This is our first focus but we can move into other sectors as businesses opt to use CalFLEXI.
To maximize opportunities for citizens needing flexible work as the economy recovers we are:
Continuing dialogue with Regional Centers, City Halls, L.A. County and other public agencies who hire flexible workers (directly or indirectly).
Ensuring the public are aware they have a locally run platform for booking childcare, homecare and other services that might be suddenly required during the health emergency.
Engaging with businesses who use flexible labor for ad-hoc projects or peak times.
In parallel, we are exploring how public workforce services and public assistance can interface into the new platform, making sure anyone who’s struggling gets targeted support.
It will take time to build this new labor market to its full potential. We currently have little sense of how long the emergency will last and what the path to recovery will look like. Work Long Beach is ready to play its part where ever there is need for flexible, motivated, quality workers.