Haven't heard of the Strong Workforce Program? You're in luck because we cut together a quick explainer video that lays out the goals of the ambitious effort to train more Californians for good-paying, middle-skills jobs that employers across the state will have available.
The $200-million initiative approved by the Legislature and the Governor last year is starting to be put to work at community colleges and we'll be following the process and profiling how the money will deliver a better workforce for sectors that are important in the regions, like health care in the San Diego-Imperial region.
In the above video, both co-leads of the California Economic Summit's Workforce Action team give you a rundown on why the Program is an important addition to the state's economic development strategy.
“We have been listening to leaders from California's major employer sectors who want more and better prepared workers,” said Van Ton-Quinlivan, vice chancellor for Workforce and Economic Development at the California Community Colleges. “The increased CTE funding allows to us to expand our efforts for trained middle-skills workers to meet the demand of the California regions.”
“It's gratifying to know that the Governor and Legislature heard California employers when they said California must improve its pipeline of skilled workers and degrees,” said Alma Salazar, vice president of education and workforce development at the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “It is imperative now that in each region of California we get various institutions working together to achieve a cradle-to-career emphasis in developing our workforce.”
Past studies of how states train students in career technical education fields showed that California has lagged in terms of funding and responding to demand for middle-skills workers, who can earn middle-class wages for job openings across the state, including everything from welding, specialty nursing, electrician to advanced energy worker.
The California EDGE Coalition found that the median wages of workers five years after they received an associate’s degree in a vocational career was $66,600 compared to $38,500 for those with non-vocational associate degrees.
That's another reason why the California Economic Summit set a goal to close the “skills gap” and help encourage the retooling of the state’s vast network of workforce and professional development programs, improving connections between institutions—and between public programs and regional labor markets.
Find out more about the One Million Worker Challenge and how the Summit aims to get it done in the 2017 Roadmap to Shared Prosperity.