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Report: Job training is key to growing California's economy, closing state's economic divide

Forty groups including colleges, unions, philanthropy, and organizations representing workers and businesses urge governor-elect Newsom to prioritize job training in shared economic agenda

Sacramento, CA – Asserting that job training is key to closing California’s economic divide, 40 groups including colleges, unions, philanthropy, and organizations representing workers and businesses are urging governor-elect Newsom to adopt a workforce development agenda that would connect more people to good jobs and grow a skilled and diverse workforce.

The groups have endorsed a new report entitled Securing a strong economic future for all Californians that offers nine strategies on how California can develop a world-class workforce development system that would increase the state’s economic growth and boost California businesses by promoting opportunity for all Californians to get the education and training they need to move into better-paying careers. Suggested strategies include:

  • Supporting community organizations able to expand high-quality, relevant job training and support services to people working to fulfill their career aspirations;
  • Removing barriers to training, education, and employment for people overcoming homelessness, exiting incarceration, or surmounting other significant challenges;
  • Increasing earn and learn models like apprenticeship and training Californians to build and maintain the next generation of the state’s infrastructure;
  • Developing public-private partnerships between employers and the state’s education and training systems to support career advancement for low-wage workers; and
  • Making education and training more affordable through financial aid that covers expenses like training supplies, child care, and transportation.

The plurality of jobs in California are middle-skill jobs – jobs that require some training and education beyond high school, but not a college degree. Across the state, businesses are facing a critical shortage of these workers even as Californians are looking for opportunities to train for these jobs.

“California is really at a crossroads. Despite having a large economy, nearly a quarter of Californians lives in or near poverty. Investments in innovative education and training strategies can help create an economy that works for everyone,” says Brooke DeRenzis, State Policy and Network Director at National Skills Coalition.

The report underscores the need for the workforce development system to build on the assets of all of California’s people, including workers of color and immigrants. Racial disparities in education, employment, and earnings keep California’s economy from reaching its full potential.

“California’s diversity is a big advantage for our state’s businesses,” says Alma Salazar, senior vice president, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “We need to create more opportunities for all Californians to thrive in the workforce.”

“Every day we help people transform their lives by building skills for careers in growing industries like health care, financial services, and technology,” says Abby Snay, Executive Director of JVS, a community-based training program in the Bay area. “A world-class workforce development system would make that possible for more workers throughout the state.”