Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of City and Regional Planning


City and Regional Planning


Cornelius Kofi Nuworsoo


This study prepares a set of career ladders for the population of Oakland. Career ladders are long-term progression pathways to help individuals advance, particularly in high wage, high growth careers. Career ladders combine different statistics on the demographics of a population with statistics about the area’s economic vitality and potential. This combination helps to identify the potential to strengthen an area’s economy and enhance individuals’ qualifications and wages.

One of the main reasons that people and large firms are attracted to a given city is the potential for economic stability. A stable economy is the result of the availability of jobs combined with the availability of a skilled labor force. When firms see the potential that a skilled labor force has, they are eager to invest in the area with a venture that will provide jobs to the community while making a profit.

Oakland is unique in that about 42,000 people of the labor force can be identified as the “working poor.” That is, they have jobs that do not pay enough to cover basic costs of living such as food and shelter. Approximately 62% of Oakland’s population was in the labor force in the 2000 U.S. Census. Nearly 82% of neighboring Emeryville was in the labor force. While the numbers of people in either population are vastly different, Oakland reports about 150, 600 jobs compared to Emeryville’s 19,800 jobs. In the last decade’s recession, the City lost thousands of jobs, a phenomenon that makes the implementation of economic development strategies increasingly difficult. On the whole, the city of Oakland lags behind in economic development. As a whole, about 18% of Oakland’s population has a Bachelor’s degree, compared to about 28% of Emeryville. Combined with other factors, the difference in educational attainment in the neighboring cities attributes to the lower standard of living and higher rate of unemployment in Oakland compared to Emeryville.