Supporting Sound Workforce and Economic Development Policies

Build A Strong, Accountable Workforce Development System

Between 2017 and 2027, the State estimates it will need to produce a million “middle-skill”, industry-valued postsecondary credentials to foster innovation and to broaden the benefits of its economic growth.

California’s workforce development boards (WDBs) administer over $280 million in annual federal workforce dollars, and the California Community College system is the largest educational system in the country. It is critical that public investments in education and training prioritize the delivery of workforce services to high road employers – those who offer jobs with good wages and benefits, support for ongoing skill training and employee advancement, good work conditions (including paid sick days, paid family leave, and paid medical or short-term disability leave), and adequate hours with predictable schedules that enable employees to meet their family caregiving commitments.

Recognizing Labor’s contribution to shared prosperity, California is the only state that requires 15% labor representation on local workforce development boards. WED works with local Central Labor Councils and Building Trades Councils to recruit and train labor leaders to serve on local boards. WED also holds frequent regional trainings for labor WDBs members.

The main goals of WED’s labor-rep training efforts are to:

1) improve oversight and accountability for the use and expenditure of public dollars;
2) establish worker-centered local and regional policy and investment;
3) expand sector-based labor management training programs; and
4) prioritize training for career pathways to good high wage jobs.

WED and its labor representatives also help create state policy to implement new standards for WDBs performance and investment in job training for California’s incumbent workers and job seekers.

Promoting Job Quality

The ultimate goal of the workforce system is to help people get a good job, and for those who don’t have the requisite skills to immediately get a good job, the goal is to ensure access to the employment services, supportive services, training, and education programming that will help these individuals eventually get a good job.

State law directs the State Board to develop strategies that help people enter and retain employment and emphasizes the development of policies that lead to “placement in a job providing economic security or job placement in an entry-level job that has a well-articulated career pathway or career ladder to a job providing economic security.” State law defines these jobs as those that provide, “a wage sufficient to support a family adequately, and, over time, to save for emergency expenses and adequate retirement income, based on factors such as household size, the cost of living in the worker’s community, and other factors that may vary by region.”

WED recognizes that not all jobs are good jobs and that education and training alone will not solve the problem of poverty. There is a hidden cost to low wage work that is ultimately borne by communities, particularly communities of color and immigrant populations.

To ensure that quality jobs and the rewards to state investment stay in California, WED:

  • Supports training investments and jobs standards that leads to advancement, wage increases, transferable skills, and promotes union/employer partnerships (“high-road”) as the best approach to workforce development and union jobs.
  • Connects unions and their signatory employers with state and local agencies responsible for implementing job creation policy in their industries such as health care, manufacturing, and emerging “green” economic activity related to transportation & logistics and construction;
  • Works with unions to develop policy to ensure public training funds align with union-led programs and unions;
  • Trains labor representatives on WIOA policies and participation on local workforce development boards;
  • Informs unions and their partners about the job impacts of policy;
  • Develops industry-valued/demand driven training standards linked to quality jobs;
  • Works with unions to develop policy to ensure public training funds align with union-involved programs and jobs;
  • Educates stakeholders on the importance of access, equity and job quality related to workforce development investments;
  • Coordinates regional policy responses and sector initiatives with local central labor councils, building and construction trades councils and affiliates;
  • Supports the utilization of best practices in training investments, goods and services thru value-added procurement practices