California

2 Charts That Put the Chinese Pollution Crisis in Perspective

4/18/14

Everyone "knows" that China is badly polluted. I've written over the years, and still believe, that environmental sustainability in all forms is China's biggest emergency, in every sense: for its people, for its government, for its effect on the world. And yes, I understand that the same is true for modern industrialized life in general. But China is an extreme case, and an extremely important one because of its scale.

Here are two simple charts, neither of them brand-new but both easily comprehensible, that help dramatize how different the situation is there. The first, by Steven Andrews for China Dialogue via ChinaFile, compares official Chinese classifications of "good" air conditions with those in Europe or North America. 

Here is the point of this graphic: The green and yellow zones in the left-hand column, showing official Chinese government classifications, are for "good" or "OK" air—while those same readings would be in the danger zone by U.S. or European standards. When you're living in China, it's impossible not to adjust your standards either to ignore how dire the circumstances are, so you can get on with life, or to think that any day when you can see across the street is "pretty good."

The scale for all countries stops at 250 (micrograms per cubic meter). Everyone who has spent time in Beijing or other bad-air cities knows what it is like with readings of 500 or above. Even Shanghai had a 600+ "airpocalypse" this past winter. No one now alive has experienced anything comparable in North America or Europe, except in the middle of a forest fire or a volcanic eruption.

Here's the other chart, comparing the 10 most-polluted Chinese cities with the 10 in America. It is from The Washington Post a few weeks ago:

The U.S. readings on this chart show something about challenges in the Central Valley of California, which is where six of the seven most-polluted cities are. (And the other is Los Angeles.) More on that shortly, in our American Futures series. But the scale difference of Chinese pollution is sobering. Even the worst American cities would be in the tip-top most excellent bracket in the chart at the top.

More sobering still: Air pollution, while the most visible (literally), is not the most serious of China's environmental problems. Water pollution, and water shortage, are worse.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.








2 Charts That Put the Chinese Pollution Crisis in Perspective

4/18/14

Everyone "knows" that China is badly polluted. I've written over the years, and still believe, that environmental sustainability in all forms is China's biggest emergency, in every sense: for its people, for its government, for its effect on the world. And yes, I understand that the same is true for modern industrialized life in general. But China is an extreme case, and an extremely important one because of its scale.

Here are two simple charts, neither of them brand-new but both easily comprehensible, that help dramatize how different the situation is there. The first, by Steven Andrews for China Dialogue via ChinaFile, compares official Chinese classifications of "good" air conditions with those in Europe or North America. 

Here is the point of this graphic: The green and yellow zones in the left-hand column, showing official Chinese government classifications, are for "good" or "OK" air—while those same readings would be in the danger zone by U.S. or European standards. When you're living in China, it's impossible not to adjust your standards either to ignore how dire the circumstances are, so you can get on with life, or to think that any day when you can see across the street is "pretty good."

The scale for all countries stops at 250 (micrograms per cubic meter). Everyone who has spent time in Beijing or other bad-air cities knows what it is like with readings of 500 or above. Even Shanghai had a 600+ "airpocalypse" this past winter. No one now alive has experienced anything comparable in North America or Europe, except in the middle of a forest fire or a volcanic eruption.

Here's the other chart, comparing the 10 most-polluted Chinese cities with the 10 in America. It is from The Washington Post a few weeks ago:

The U.S. readings on this chart show something about challenges in the Central Valley of California, which is where six of the seven most-polluted cities are. (And the other is Los Angeles.) More on that shortly, in our American Futures series. But the scale difference of Chinese pollution is sobering. Even the worst American cities would be in the tip-top most excellent bracket in the chart at the top.

More sobering still: Air pollution, while the most visible (literally), is not the most serious of China's environmental problems. Water pollution, and water shortage, are worse.

This post originally appeared on The Atlantic.








Building on What Works With My Brother’s Keeper

4/17/14

When President Obama launched the My Brother’s Keeper initiative in February, the response from communities across the country was immediate and overwhelmingly positive.  We quickly began hearing stories of creativity, collaboration, and triumphs from community leaders and organizations doing grassroots work to enhance opportunities for boys and young men of color. Some organizations, having done this work for a while, shared what types of programs and coordinated efforts they have seen work through the years, while others have responded to the President’s call to action with new initiatives and commitments of their own.

We heard from a financial services firm in Long Beach, California which has partnered with an 8th grade mentoring program to arrange field trips to their office. Students fill out applications, interview with managers, and go through mock hiring processes. They are then connected with mentors, and offered serious rewards (like laptops) when they reach GPA goals set by the company. 

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The U.S. Could Get More and More Super-Freezing Winters

4/17/14

For the eastern U.S., this winter and spring have been like a brutal revival of the Ice Ages. One strong blast of polar weather after another sent temperatures plummeting deep into the country, and as yesterday's miserable weather attests, this frigid free-for-all has life in it still.

As unusually cold as it's been, super-bitter winters might be something our grandchildren will frequently complain about. That's because the pattern in the jet stream that routed arctic air down to the East could become more common as the climate changes. Conversely, America's West might expect more of the kind of hot weather that's now causing droughts, high food prices, and a jacked-up risk of wildfires.

This unpleasant assessment comes from an international group of scientists who just released a study examining the past and the future of the jet stream. Working with lake-sediment cores and climate models, they discovered that the stream's pattern shifted about 4,000 years ago into a "positive" or curvy phase – the same dynamic responsible for the ongoing hot/cold divide in America. And the fact that the planet's poles are warming faster than the equator could "enhance the pattern so there will be more frequent or more severe winter weather extremes or both," they predict.

Here are a few more specifics about what the future could bode, explained by University of Utah geochemist Gabe Bowen:

"In [the positive phase], the jet stream is very sinuous. As it comes in from Hawaii and the Pacific, it tends to rocket up past British Columbia to the Yukon and Alaska, and then it plunges down over the Canadian plains and into the eastern United States. The main effect in terms of weather is that we tend to have cold winter weather throughout most of the eastern U.S. You have a freight car of arctic air that pushes down there." 

Bowen says that when the jet stream is curvy, “the West tends to have mild, relatively warm winters, and Pacific storms tend to occur farther north. So in Northern California, the Pacific Northwest and parts of western interior, it tends to be relatively dry, but tends to be quite wet and unusually warm in northwest Canada and Alaska."

To help visualize these atmospheric fluctuations, the researchers generated this pair of maps showing a typical year under a curvy jet stream. The top map displays winter temperatures as regions of biting cold (blue) to comfortable warmth or unusual heat (orange and red). The bottom displays precipitation patterns as wetter (blue) and drier (orange) zones. This past winter hewed close to these models, although it was drier than average in California and abnormally frigid in the upper Midwest: 



(Zhongfang Liu, Tianjin Normal University, China)

The scientists' report is especially timely in that the nation just endured its coldest March since 2002. The average temperature across the contiguous states was 40.5 degrees, about 1 degree below the 20th-century norm. For a few more facts about the past month's weather – for instance, it was the coldest March on record in Vermont – take a look at this graphic put out by the National Climatic Data Center:

Top image: A car's license plate in Brooklyn was covered with snow after a winter storm on Tuesday. (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)








The U.S. Could Get More and More Super-Freezing Winters

4/17/14

For the eastern U.S., this winter and spring have been like a brutal revival of the Ice Ages. One strong blast of polar weather after another sent temperatures plummeting deep into the country, and as yesterday's miserable weather attests, this frigid free-for-all has life in it still.

As unusually cold as it's been, super-bitter winters might be something our grandchildren will frequently complain about. That's because the pattern in the jet stream that routed arctic air down to the East could become more common as the climate changes. Conversely, America's West might expect more of the kind of hot weather that's now causing droughts, high food prices, and a jacked-up risk of wildfires.

This unpleasant assessment comes from an international group of scientists who just released a study examining the past and the future of the jet stream. Working with lake-sediment cores and climate models, they discovered that the stream's pattern shifted about 4,000 years ago into a "positive" or curvy phase – the same dynamic responsible for the ongoing hot/cold divide in America. And the fact that the planet's poles are warming faster than the equator could "enhance the pattern so there will be more frequent or more severe winter weather extremes or both," they predict.

Here are a few more specifics about what the future could bode, explained by University of Utah geochemist Gabe Bowen:

"In [the positive phase], the jet stream is very sinuous. As it comes in from Hawaii and the Pacific, it tends to rocket up past British Columbia to the Yukon and Alaska, and then it plunges down over the Canadian plains and into the eastern United States. The main effect in terms of weather is that we tend to have cold winter weather throughout most of the eastern U.S. You have a freight car of arctic air that pushes down there." 

Bowen says that when the jet stream is curvy, “the West tends to have mild, relatively warm winters, and Pacific storms tend to occur farther north. So in Northern California, the Pacific Northwest and parts of western interior, it tends to be relatively dry, but tends to be quite wet and unusually warm in northwest Canada and Alaska."

To help visualize these atmospheric fluctuations, the researchers generated this pair of maps showing a typical year under a curvy jet stream. The top map displays winter temperatures as regions of biting cold (blue) to comfortable warmth or unusual heat (orange and red). The bottom displays precipitation patterns as wetter (blue) and drier (orange) zones. This past winter hewed close to these models, although it was drier than average in California and abnormally frigid in the upper Midwest: 



(Zhongfang Liu, Tianjin Normal University, China)

The scientists' report is especially timely in that the nation just endured its coldest March since 2002. The average temperature across the contiguous states was 40.5 degrees, about 1 degree below the 20th-century norm. For a few more facts about the past month's weather – for instance, it was the coldest March on record in Vermont – take a look at this graphic put out by the National Climatic Data Center:

Top image: A car's license plate in Brooklyn was covered with snow after a winter storm on Tuesday. (Mark Lennihan / Associated Press)








Why UberX Will Win in the End

4/17/14

A few times a year I head to Los Angeles (more specifically, Glendale) to visit my grandmother. Each trip begins with the same burst of enthusiasm — I will finally appreciate L.A.'s urban form as something more thoughtful than the random spray of an exploded water balloon — and ends shortly after I land at LAX and realize that without access to a car the city eludes me. But my last trip was different.

After finishing dinner at my grandmother's house, I texted a friend about meeting in Silver Lake. Normally we slip into our roles as transit-ready New Yorker and car-ready Angelino: I offer to take the bus, and he volunteers to pick me up. Only this time his offer was different: "Why don't you just UberX it?"

A half hour later I'd registered an Uber account, requested an UberX ride, scored a $20 credit which covered the $13 trip, had an interesting conversation with the driver, and met my friend 5 miles away in Silver Lake. The same journey by bus would have taken over an hour, required a transfer, and involved two miles of walking. For this specific trip, the transit option was woefully inadequate, and without UberX I would have foregone the trip.

Did travel in Los Angeles — nay, in any American city — just get ridiculously easy? Over the course of three days, UberX enabled me to conquer L.A. on my own terms without reverting to a childlike dependency on someone with a license. UberX isn't free; it's still more expensive than transit. But it's a lifeline in a city that offers few reliable alternatives to car ownership. And if history is any guide, I think it's here to stay.

•       •       •       •       •

Ride services like UberX and competitors Lyft and Sidecar — officially dubbed "transportation network companies" — connect passengers with regular people driving regular cars. (At least ostensibly; more on this later.) These services might feel radically different from the traditional taxi model, but in fact American cities have seen this movie before. Long before TNCs captured public attention, the low-tech jitneys of the 1910s disrupted the existing transportation order by promising a more customized service at a similar price to public transit.

How getting from here to there is changing forever.
See full coverage

The rise of the low-tech jitneys coincided with a spike in unemployment  at the outset of World War I, and the availability of affordable secondhand cars. With more cars on the road and fewer jobs to occupy the labor force, drivers began picking up rides for a nickel. The appeal of flexible service — in conjunction with streetcar dissatisfaction, low rates of automobile ownership, and shifting housing and travel patterns in many cities — led to a dizzying increase in jitney operations across the country. "The mushroom growth of the jitney has been so rapid that cities which were in blissful ignorance of it in the evening found cars in operation the next morning," The New York Times reported in 1915.

As quickly as jitneys flooded into cities, however, local regulations washed them back out to sea. Streetcar companies, which paid more in state and local taxes and maintained roads adjacent to tracks, complained that the jitneys reaped the benefit of these roads without paying for their upkeep. Municipalities largely sided with streetcar interests because they didn't believe jitneys could handle the same passenger loads, and thought the loss of streetcars would be disastrous at a time when the vast majority of Americans relied on transit for travel. Between 1915 and 1918, the number of jitneys operating nationally declined from 62,000 to 6,000.

The jitney more or less disappeared by 1920, but the idea of car-like convenience at the price of transit never disappeared — most U.S. cities still run public vanpool and dial-a-ride services — and with TNCs it's returned with a vengeance. The situations aren't entirely the same; TNCs compete with taxis, which are seen as a luxury, rather than transit, which is seen as a public service. Still, city regulators and competing interests have once again mounted a response. Only this time around, the power has shifted to the TNC side, largely on the back of technology and organization.

•       •       •       •       •

The main advantage TNCs have over the original jitneys is their ability to unite riders and drivers via the widespread adoption of smartphones into everyday life. Smartphones are especially helpful for ridesharing and taxi hailing because they dramatically reduce search costs. For anyone with a smartphone, the days of calling a car service or wandering the streets looking for a cab have suddenly disappeared. Ridesharing barely existed in the pre-smartphone era largely because coordinating riders and drivers proved too difficult. As smartphone ownership expands and these services become more prominent, regulators will be forced to develop rules that respond to the public's demands.


(Flickr user joakım)

New technology often pushes existing regulations to their limits and forces regulators to catch up to a new reality. (Think: Bitcoin.) Regulators acknowledge that current municipal licensing rules don't gel with the ride services the public wants. However, even tech-friendly regulators maintain that many TNCs are really taxi services hiding behind ridesharing mustaches (pink mustaches, in the case of Lyft). Their position is that if ridesharing services operate like cabs, they should also be regulated like them.

The regulators have a point. During my trip to L.A., all of my UberX trips were more like taxi rides in private cars with part-time cab drivers than genuine rideshares. In the eyes of the regulators, there's a significant difference between actually "sharing" a ride that is already in progress or been planned and generating a new trip by requesting a ride (a typical taxi ride). While the TNCs do vet drivers and arrange insurance coverage during trips, regulators and the public aren't privy to how those processes work. While regulations vary from city to city, many regulators require routine vehicle inspections, drug testing, background checks, finger printing, driver training, and appropriate insurance coverage to ensure that service is reliable and safe.

But smartphones aren't the only technology that should make the fate of TNCs different from that of early jitneys. Global communications will play as big a role. Uber, for instance, operates in close to 75 cities but has a singular brand identity. It's hired lobbyists to fight regulatory battles and opened local offices to interview drivers and deal with city-specific issues to ensure that the Uber experience in New York looks and feels like the Uber experience in Cape Town. Unlike the original jitneys, which were fragmented and limited by geography, Uber is a hyper-centralized corporation that has the financial might, vision, and customer base to withstand and challenge unfavorable regulations.

•       •       •       •       •

The financial forces being amassed by TNCs will prove impossible for regulators to fend off for very long. Sidecar, for instance, just raised $80 million in angel investments, much more than the annual budget for the Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York City, the country's largest such entity. And Sidecar isn't even the industry leader. As TNCs expand their popularity in cities they will in turn hire more local lobbyists and achieve even more momentum. There's a painful day for traditional cab companies in the offing, and while regulators can delay that day's arrival, they can't stop it.

Even assuming TNCs are here to stay, local regulation is still very necessary. In some regards, TNCs have the ability to make the regulator's job much easier: they track rides, record route selection, handle money exchange, identify drivers and passengers, and keep a tally of driver income. These digital traces protect drivers and passengers against false complaints and price gouging and give a clear picture of tax implications (sorry, drivers).

The starting point for sensible regulations begins by admitting that the private sector is smarter than the public sector when it comes to understanding the demand side issues of taxis and ride-hailing. But the goal should be shared public-private knowledge and more reliable service, rather than runaway profits and market manipulation. Once regulators have a clear idea how travel services are distributed across their cities, they can begin to understand demand, which can inform decisions to cap or expand supply.

Sensible policies that protect riders and reward drivers and innovative TNCs are already within reach. California has already blazed a path forward by requiring app companies to implement criminal background checks, drug testing, and more intensive driver education. The sooner smart regulations are adopted and uncertainty about the fate of these apps is mitigated, other industries, like insurance and automobile manufacturers, will begin to tailor new products to serve these profitable services.

So regulation doesn't have to be the enemy of TNCs as it was of jitneys — so long as it seeks to promote new technology and protect riders. Regulations that protect entrenched interests at all costs or are bought by new interests won't yield a net improvement for the passenger-riding public. With public attention trained carefully on these issues, it is time to act and create a new set of regulations and redefine transportation services in the 21st century. The future of visiting our grandmothers and making sense of the modern American landscape may depend on it.

This article is part of 'The Future of Transportation,' an Atlantic Cities series made possible with support from The Rockefeller Foundation.








Why UberX Will Win in the End

4/17/14

A few times a year I head to Los Angeles (more specifically, Glendale) to visit my grandmother. Each trip begins with the same burst of enthusiasm — I will finally appreciate L.A.'s urban form as something more thoughtful than the random spray of an exploded water balloon — and ends shortly after I land at LAX and realize that without access to a car the city eludes me. But my last trip was different.

After finishing dinner at my grandmother's house, I texted a friend about meeting in Silver Lake. Normally we slip into our roles as transit-ready New Yorker and car-ready Angelino: I offer to take the bus, and he volunteers to pick me up. Only this time his offer was different: "Why don't you just UberX it?"

A half hour later I'd registered an Uber account, requested an UberX ride, scored a $20 credit which covered the $13 trip, had an interesting conversation with the driver, and met my friend 5 miles away in Silver Lake. The same journey by bus would have taken over an hour, required a transfer, and involved two miles of walking. For this specific trip, the transit option was woefully inadequate, and without UberX I would have foregone the trip.

Did travel in Los Angeles — nay, in any American city — just get ridiculously easy? Over the course of three days, UberX enabled me to conquer L.A. on my own terms without reverting to a childlike dependency on someone with a license. UberX isn't free; it's still more expensive than transit. But it's a lifeline in a city that offers few reliable alternatives to car ownership. And if history is any guide, I think it's here to stay.

•       •       •       •       •

Ride services like UberX and competitors Lyft and Sidecar — officially dubbed "transportation network companies" — connect passengers with regular people driving regular cars. (At least ostensibly; more on this later.) These services might feel radically different from the traditional taxi model, but in fact American cities have seen this movie before. Long before TNCs captured public attention, the low-tech jitneys of the 1910s disrupted the existing transportation order by promising a more customized service at a similar price to public transit.

How getting from here to there is changing forever.
See full coverage

The rise of the low-tech jitneys coincided with a spike in unemployment  at the outset of World War I, and the availability of affordable secondhand cars. With more cars on the road and fewer jobs to occupy the labor force, drivers began picking up rides for a nickel. The appeal of flexible service — in conjunction with streetcar dissatisfaction, low rates of automobile ownership, and shifting housing and travel patterns in many cities — led to a dizzying increase in jitney operations across the country. "The mushroom growth of the jitney has been so rapid that cities which were in blissful ignorance of it in the evening found cars in operation the next morning," The New York Times reported in 1915.

As quickly as jitneys flooded into cities, however, local regulations washed them back out to sea. Streetcar companies, which paid more in state and local taxes and maintained roads adjacent to tracks, complained that the jitneys reaped the benefit of these roads without paying for their upkeep. Municipalities largely sided with streetcar interests because they didn't believe jitneys could handle the same passenger loads, and thought the loss of streetcars would be disastrous at a time when the vast majority of Americans relied on transit for travel. Between 1915 and 1918, the number of jitneys operating nationally declined from 62,000 to 6,000.

The jitney more or less disappeared by 1920, but the idea of car-like convenience at the price of transit never disappeared — most U.S. cities still run public vanpool and dial-a-ride services — and with TNCs it's returned with a vengeance. The situations aren't entirely the same; TNCs compete with taxis, which are seen as a luxury, rather than transit, which is seen as a public service. Still, city regulators and competing interests have once again mounted a response. Only this time around, the power has shifted to the TNC side, largely on the back of technology and organization.

•       •       •       •       •

The main advantage TNCs have over the original jitneys is their ability to unite riders and drivers via the widespread adoption of smartphones into everyday life. Smartphones are especially helpful for ridesharing and taxi hailing because they dramatically reduce search costs. For anyone with a smartphone, the days of calling a car service or wandering the streets looking for a cab have suddenly disappeared. Ridesharing barely existed in the pre-smartphone era largely because coordinating riders and drivers proved too difficult. As smartphone ownership expands and these services become more prominent, regulators will be forced to develop rules that respond to the public's demands.


(Flickr user joakım)

New technology often pushes existing regulations to their limits and forces regulators to catch up to a new reality. (Think: Bitcoin.) Regulators acknowledge that current municipal licensing rules don't gel with the ride services the public wants. However, even tech-friendly regulators maintain that many TNCs are really taxi services hiding behind ridesharing mustaches (pink mustaches, in the case of Lyft). Their position is that if ridesharing services operate like cabs, they should also be regulated like them.

The regulators have a point. During my trip to L.A., all of my UberX trips were more like taxi rides in private cars with part-time cab drivers than genuine rideshares. In the eyes of the regulators, there's a significant difference between actually "sharing" a ride that is already in progress or been planned and generating a new trip by requesting a ride (a typical taxi ride). While the TNCs do vet drivers and arrange insurance coverage during trips, regulators and the public aren't privy to how those processes work. While regulations vary from city to city, many regulators require routine vehicle inspections, drug testing, background checks, finger printing, driver training, and appropriate insurance coverage to ensure that service is reliable and safe.

But smartphones aren't the only technology that should make the fate of TNCs different from that of early jitneys. Global communications will play as big a role. Uber, for instance, operates in close to 75 cities but has a singular brand identity. It's hired lobbyists to fight regulatory battles and opened local offices to interview drivers and deal with city-specific issues to ensure that the Uber experience in New York looks and feels like the Uber experience in Cape Town. Unlike the original jitneys, which were fragmented and limited by geography, Uber is a hyper-centralized corporation that has the financial might, vision, and customer base to withstand and challenge unfavorable regulations.

•       •       •       •       •

The financial forces being amassed by TNCs will prove impossible for regulators to fend off for very long. Sidecar, for instance, just raised $80 million in angel investments, much more than the annual budget for the Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York City, the country's largest such entity. And Sidecar isn't even the industry leader. As TNCs expand their popularity in cities they will in turn hire more local lobbyists and achieve even more momentum. There's a painful day for traditional cab companies in the offing, and while regulators can delay that day's arrival, they can't stop it.

Even assuming TNCs are here to stay, local regulation is still very necessary. In some regards, TNCs have the ability to make the regulator's job much easier: they track rides, record route selection, handle money exchange, identify drivers and passengers, and keep a tally of driver income. These digital traces protect drivers and passengers against false complaints and price gouging and give a clear picture of tax implications (sorry, drivers).

The starting point for sensible regulations begins by admitting that the private sector is smarter than the public sector when it comes to understanding the demand side issues of taxis and ride-hailing. But the goal should be shared public-private knowledge and more reliable service, rather than runaway profits and market manipulation. Once regulators have a clear idea how travel services are distributed across their cities, they can begin to understand demand, which can inform decisions to cap or expand supply.

Sensible policies that protect riders and reward drivers and innovative TNCs are already within reach. California has already blazed a path forward by requiring app companies to implement criminal background checks, drug testing, and more intensive driver education. The sooner smart regulations are adopted and uncertainty about the fate of these apps is mitigated, other industries, like insurance and automobile manufacturers, will begin to tailor new products to serve these profitable services.

So regulation doesn't have to be the enemy of TNCs as it was of jitneys — so long as it seeks to promote new technology and protect riders. Regulations that protect entrenched interests at all costs or are bought by new interests won't yield a net improvement for the passenger-riding public. With public attention trained carefully on these issues, it is time to act and create a new set of regulations and redefine transportation services in the 21st century. The future of visiting our grandmothers and making sense of the modern American landscape may depend on it.

This article is part of 'The Future of Transportation,' an Atlantic Cities series made possible with support from The Rockefeller Foundation.








Creating Pathways to Successful Careers: Erick Varela's Story

4/16/14
President Obama And Vice President Biden Provide Encouragement

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden provide encouragement to Erick Varela, who was about to introduce the President, prior to an event to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed, in the Green Room of the White House, Jan. 31, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

PG&E, like utilities across the country, faces a wave of retirements over the next five years, with nearly 40 percent of its 21,000 employees eligible to trade paychecks for pension checks. This is a trend that concerns me as Chairman and CEO of PG&E.

To help build a pipeline of new skilled workers, PG&E created a workforce training program in 2008 called PowerPathway. The program is a partnership with community colleges and workforce investment boards in PG&E’s service area, which covers much of Northern and Central California.

Last year, nearly 250 students graduated from PowerPathway, and more than 81 percent of them were offered jobs at PG&E or elsewhere in the utility industry.

read more