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California Community Colleges and Workforce Development System join in Partnerships to Unlock Social Mobility

SACRAMENTO – To help Californians increase earnings and social mobility, the California Community Colleges, California Workforce Development Board and California Workforce Association have joined forces to roll out Partnerships that Unlock Social Mobility.

A series of 17 events will take place around the state to bring together community college Student Services departments with America’s Jobs Centers of California staff to explore how to better connect their services and serve their communities as described in this introductory video.

Only 39 percent of California’s residents starting in the bottom half of national earnings move up 10 or more percentiles over 10 years, reports The Pew Charitable Trusts. In certain regions of California, residents face an even greater inherent barrier.

Research, however, has consistently shown that education and training can shatter barriers. A Brookings report reveals that of those born into the bottom income quintile in the United States and move forward to earn a college degree, only 16 percent remain in the bottom quintile.

As a result, the California Community Colleges, California Workforce Development Board and California Workforce Association are pooling their respective strengths and resources to make education and training – and therefore, greater earnings and social mobility -- more accessible.

“When people want to get back on their feet or move beyond their current work situation, we want no wrong door,” said Vice Chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development Van Ton-Quinlivan. “A stronger partnership between these institutions can bring together complimentary resources to help students and clients in our communities.”

Attendees of the conversation series will explore the intersections of three initiatives designed to spur student success – California’s Student Success Act of 2012, the national Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) of 2014 and California’s Strong Workforce Program of 2016 – and start to formulate a common lexicon and unifying alignment among them.

“This type of innovative partnership is in alignment with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act,” said Bob Lanter, executive director of the California Workforce Association. “The organizations that are involved are working collaboratively to build a highly interactive agenda for these events to ensure that we all deliver the best possible services.”

Tim Rainey, executive director of the California Workforce Development Board said, "Colleges and workforce boards have strong and particular expertise. Working together, they fill each other's gaps and complement each other's strengths. They are better together."

“Last year, the California Workforce Development Board adopted a WIOA State Plan that emphasizes regional planning and coordination with community colleges, and the California legislature appropriated $200 million for the community college’s Strong Workforce Program, and called for alignment of regional planning among community colleges and workforce boards,” said to Bryan Wilson, state policy director of the National Skills Coalition. “Continuing their impressive collaboration, [this is] a capacity-building initiative between local workforce development boards and community colleges.”

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 113 colleges serving 2.1 million students a year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education in English and math, and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions.