Salesforce 1440 Multiversity
1440 Multiversity is located in the forest on the edge of Scotts Valley. (Photo courtesy of 1440 Multiversity)

As Silicon Valley’s post-pandemic pullback continues, the 100 promised jobs at Scotts Valley’s 1440 Multiversity are the latest to have hit the chopping block, as Salesforce axed its contract with the retreat center.

Employees have been scrambling to find new employment and nonprofit service providers across the county have lost a steady stream of volunteer labor, which was part of the tech giant’s team-building program.

It’s part of the software company slashing 10% of global staff and making other cutbacks, a Salesforce spokesperson confirmed, as technology firms do a course-correction after seeing a boom during the pandemic, when work-from-home took off.

Salesforce employees have been helping on-location at the Veteran’s Village residential community in Ben Lomond, said Keith Collins, the director of operation of the site.

The tech workers helped clear debris from around the cabins, completed fire-prevention tasks and assisted with dump runs, he said.

Last month, Mayor Jack Dilles said he was aware issues were cropping up with the Salesforce contract—which was bringing in much needed hotel tax revenue to Scotts Valley coffers—but said he didn’t know enough to divulge details.

On Wednesday he was more expressive.

“Everyone at the City is really disappointed,” he said. “They were doing a lot of good things.”

But he says he hopes it provided a template other businesses will now follow.

Dan Croghan, an audio/visual technician who previously worked for 1440 Multiversity but has since retired for reasons unrelated to the Salesforce cuts, said the tech giant just isn’t in as good of a financial place as it was hoping it would be.

“Salesforce is having a tough time,” he said. “Stock prices went down.”

The San Francisco company began by testing the waters with a few guests, at first, he recalled.

“They would come out and run a small group like an experiment and see how people responded, and see how we did our thing and how the facility worked,” he said. “They were internal programs.”

Salesforce had its own employee in Scotts Valley to assist with technical support.

He remembered two different outreach projects the employees took part in.

In one case, they were packaging toiletry items for homeless people, he said, adding the employees could even add a personal touch to the care package.

“There was a stack of cards and you could write out a note of encouragement,” he said. “It wasn’t just straight assembly and now you’re done. They wanted them to get the lesson of why they’re helping and who they’re helping.”

In the case of the other project—assembling water-cleaning systems—the Salesforce employees got on a videoconference with the people who would be distributing the completed items.

“It felt very genuine to me,” Croghan said. “They knew what they were doing and it was obvious how the product would be helping people.”

1440 Multiversity declined to comment.

Croghan said Salesforce accounted for the majority of 1440 Multiversity’s business, and losing it was a blow in the wake of the pandemic.

“If you don’t have people staying in the rooms you don’t need housekeepers,” he said. “For doing the programs that they’re doing right now, they have sort of a skeleton staff that can accomplish that.”

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Drew Penner is an award-winning Canadian journalist whose reporting has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Good Times Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times, Scotts Valley Press Banner, San Diego Union-Tribune, KCRW and the Vancouver Sun. Please send your Los Gatos and Santa Cruz County news tips to [email protected].


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