Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced the launch of an online resource website that he said will help people whose income has been affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The website, OnwardCA.org, will help employees access emergency resources, training for a new career and connections to employers seeking people with their current skill set.
Oakland's Kapor Center and Fresno's Bitwise Industries are running Onward CA in collaboration with the state, Mastercard, the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges and more than 100 technology companies, including LinkedIn and Salesforce. "(Onward CA is) about getting us back up on our feet," Newsom said during his daily news conference on the coronavirus crisis. "Not just small businesses, now people that have been laid off that need a job."
Onward CA currently has roughly 70,000 job listings, with a particular focus on the health care, agriculture, logistics and grocery industries. The number of listings is expected to eclipse 100,000 in the coming days, according to Newsom.
Newsom said 1.9 million California residents have filed for unemployment insurance since March 12. Qualifying residents can receive between $40 and $450 per week through the state's unemployment insurance in addition to $600 per week in federal unemployment insurance.
For small business owners, Newsom called for a one-year reprieve of sales tax collection, offering small businesses what is essentially a bridge loan of upwards of $50,000 with no penalties or interest.
Small business owners can also apply for allocations from a pool of federal grants and loans in the recently approved $2.2 trillion federal stimulus package.
Those grants and loans include the Paycheck Protection Program, under which businesses can receive up to 10 $1 million loans if they continue to pay their employees and put three-quarters of the loan toward payroll. "When we think about small businesses, it's not someone with hundreds of employees. In many cases, it's not someone with any employees: self-employed individuals, independent contractors, businesses that have one or two part-time employees," Newsom said. "So often, we take them for granted, even in the best of times. Right now, they have been devastated."
Newsom also updated figures for the state's stock of personal protective equipment. The state has, to date, distributed 35.9 million items such as N95 masks, face shields and surgical masks. State officials hope to eventually distribute some 100 million pieces of personal protective equipment to medical facilities around the state.