Job Creator Workforce Development Bill Moves to Senate

A California Chamber of Commerce-supported education bill aiming to increase the pool of skilled workers has passed the Assembly with unanimous support.

AB 669 (Berman; D-Palo Alto) extends the Economic and Workforce Development (EWD) program within the California Community College system through July 1, 2023.

The bill will ensure that the program continues to provide grants to help develop industry-aligned curriculum, provide training and work-based learning opportunities and connect colleges with businesses, thereby creating a skilled workforce aligned with the needs of industry in California, especially in subjects in highest demand. Without legislation, the program is set to expire in 2018.

The EWD program was created to advance California’s economic growth and global competitiveness by developing high-quality education and services focusing on continuous workforce improvement, technology deployment, and business development, consistent with the current needs of the state’s regional economies.

A 2016 report by the Chancellor’s Office highlighted the program’s achievements thus far, including training of almost 60,000 individuals and service to more than 11,000 businesses. Extending the program will assist in furthering such success.

The EWD program funds both long-term and short-term activities in strategic priority areas, including advanced transportation, biotechnology, environmental technologies, health care delivery, and international trade.

Extending the program will help ensure that students continue to have access to programs targeted toward employable career paths and that employers have access to a growing pool of qualified workers trained in subject areas in highest demand.

AB 669 is set for a June 14 hearing in the Senate Education Committee.

Staff Contact: Karen Sarkissian

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Karen Sarkissian joined the CalChamber as a policy advocate for health care and education issues in July 2016. For more than 12 years, she was an attorney at the Sacramento firm of Poswall, White & Cutler, recognized nationally for its success in obtaining favorable outcomes for clients on a wide range of issues. She holds dual B.A.s in political science and rhetoric and communication from the University of California, Davis, and a J.D. from the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific, where she was an author and editor of the McGeorge Law Review.