Annual Report 2009: Training & Resources

Industry Certified Training for Diverse Communities

As you might know, California entered 2009 facing runawayunemployment and arguably the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.For BAVC's Training and Resources department, this precarious economicenvironment represented both a challenge and an opportunity for BAVC todemonstrate its value as a training center dedicated to helping build a diverseand skilled 21st century workforce. After all, it is this workforcethat brings companies to the Bay Area and makes this region a leading center ofinnovation, art and technology. And it is the success of those companies thatallows our diverse mix of students to make a career out of media.

Last year, as media makers looked to improve and add totheir skills in an increasingly competitive job market, BAVC worked to supportthose needs by: adding new classes to its catalogue; working to maintain theETP training program for employees of California companies; launching a newtraining program for unemployed media workers; developing a new trainingpartnership to address the specific training needs of journalists; andcontinuing to provide free media training to K-12 teachers.

Hands-on, industry-standard training

In 2009, BAVC offered more than 600 sections of more than 100 different classes on video post-production, graphic design, web design, digital photography, motion graphics and effects, and 3D modeling and game design. We offered a slate of new classes including several new Maya and Final Cut Pro classes, as well as new classes on compression, typography, portfolio development and more. More than 4,500 students passed through our labs last year including a dynamic mix of media and marketing professionals, transitioning workers, artists, journalists, non-profit activists, and teachers among others.

New classes introduced in 2009 include:

Arduino: Intro to Microcontrollers
Cinema 4D: Introduction
Final Cut Pro: Documentary Techniques
Final Cut Pro: Experimental Techniques
Flash ActionScript: For Designers
Game Design: Unity
Maya: Dynamics
Maya: Materials
Maya: Modeling
Motion Builder

Employment Training Panel (ETP) Program

The year 2009 marked BAVC's tenth year of partnering with the state ofCalifornia to offer technology training to incumbent workers. The EmploymentTraining Panel (ETP) is a business and labor supported state agency thatassists employers in strengthening their competitive edge by providing funds tooffset the costs of job skills training necessary to maintain high-performanceworkplaces.

With the rise of social and mobile media, and the continuing growth ofweb-based applications, media skills are becoming more and more valuable acrossdepartments in all types of companies. BAVC's ETP program has become even morevaluable over time as employees of all functions come here to keep up with theskills their companies need to stay competitive.

In 2009, BAVC trained nearly 700 workers from a diversearray of California companies including: Williams Sonoma, Viz, Video Arts, BBDO West, CBS Interactive,Cisco, Current TV, Exploratorium, Frog Design, Lonely Planet, LucasFilm Ltd.,John Wiley & Sons, Safeway, San Francisco Ballet, UbiSoft, and many more.

BAVC's current ETP contract ends in July of 2010 and we hopeto renew it to continue serving a diverse group of employees from companies asclose by as across the street and as far as afield as Los Angeles.

FUSE: Training for Unemployed Media Workers

At the beginning of 2009 the Training and Education department saw one of ourlongtime dreams come to fruition - being able to offer the sameindustry-standard classes we've been offering to hundreds of companies throughour ETP training program to individual, unemployed digital media workers.

BAVC spent years trying to explain the changing nature of our industry toworkforce development funders. Media work is often project-based and as such,the workforce is often a combination of full-time staff and independentcontractors, with independent contractors long left out of workforce developmentprograms primarily because many programs are funded by company contributedpayroll taxes.

BAVC believes this lack of training for independentcontractors is a dangerous gap in the state's efforts to keep Californiacompanies competitive, so we were thrilled when the Employment Training Paneldecided to invest in a test project we called FUSE. FUSE included 256 hours ofadvanced digital media training including portfolio building and jobdevelopment for unemployed, project-based workers or unemployed workers needingto make the change from an older technology (like print) to new technologies(like Web and mobile).

The catch was - since we contracted with ETP to pilot FUSE -each participant had to land a full-time job for at least 90 days right after training.And just when we launched the program (in the Fall of 2008), the economy took aturn for the worse, and companies stopped hiring.

Ninety-five percent of our FUSE students did get jobs -part-time or contract jobs - but BAVC was unable to get reimbursed for thetraining we provided because we couldn't meet ETP's somewhat restrictive, full-timework requirements. BAVC actually lost money on the pilot project and we havesuspended the program until we can make the program work better for ourcommunity and us. ETP was the wrong funder for FUSE, but we were bombarded withapplicants, and we still believe there is a strong need for a program likeFUSE. As we move on, our learning from this program will inform our futureplanning.

Bay Area Media Training Consortium (BAMTC)

Across the U.S., the embrace of information-on-demand hasfueled a universal digital transition in all aspects of our culture. Along withpioneering advances, however, business models too slow to evolve have led to acollapse of catastrophic proportions in the publishing, graphic design andnewspaper industries, with a resulting displacement of workers who lack a newmedia skill set. At the epicenter of the digital media industry, the Bay Area'straditional information - sharing businesses - newspapers and broadcasters -have rapidly shed jobs and services to digital savvy readers and viewers. 

In the summer of 2009 BAVC entered into a partnership calledthe Bay Area Media Training Consortium (BAMTC) - a collaborative venture withstakeholders from education, business, training providers, a nationalfoundation, a Workforce Investment Board, and labor - that is helping toretrain former newspaper employees whose lack of digital media skills areimpeding their ability to apply for jobs within or outside of the field.BAMTC's vision is to create a dynamic workforce system that is an engine ofregional economic growth that helps workers and industry meet the challenges ofan increasingly dynamic economy. The consortium worked last year to beginfundraising for a program that will train 700 workers.

Train the Teacher (T3): Creating a Digital ClassroomCommunity

Train the Teacher (T3): Creating a Digital Classroom Community is a unique teacher training program designed to enable K-12 teachersto incorporate the use of digital applications into the classroom. Withgenerous support from Adobe Systems, Inc., the T3 program offers freeinstruction to K-12 teachers in a series of hands-on workshops that buildexpertise in selected Adobe software platforms, as well the integration ofthese digital applications across a range of curricular activities.

In 2009, we trained more than 240 K-16 teachers inPhotoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash and more. We also awardedFellowships to four teachers - Joseph Alter, Henry Machtay, Christian Hollifield and Nathan Burks. Each Fellow received $1,000 in cash, a CS4 Master Suite license and 30seats of any Adobe software for his classroom.