A California Chamber of Commerce-supported bill that would help increase California’s skilled workforce by authorizing a competitive grant program has passed the Legislature and awaits action by the Governor.
AB 1111 (E. Garcia; D-Coachella) is designed to assist individuals who face multiple barriers to employment by providing them with remedial education and work readiness skills to prepare them for training, educational, apprenticeship or employment opportunities.
The measure was amended on the Senate Floor on September 8. The Assembly concurred in the Senate amendments on September 15, sending the bill along for consideration by the Governor.
The bill establishes the Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative within the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and calls for the formation of partnerships between community-based organizations and workforce development boards to successfully deliver assistance to one or more targeted populations, including unskilled or underskilled, low-earning workers, workers displaced by the movement of an employer, long-term unemployed individuals, women seeking training or education to move into nontraditional fields of employment, as well as other individuals who face barriers to employment.
The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has projected that the state will produce 1.5 million fewer workers with some postsecondary education than the workforce will need by 2025. Not only is this skills gap a concern for employers, it also has serious implications for individuals hoping to find middle-class jobs that can support their families.
AB 1111 will help California reduce this skills gap and address the needs of employers, by ensuring that those individuals who need the most assistance and who face the greatest barriers to employment receive the remedial education and work readiness skills they need to prepare them to participate in training, educational, apprenticeship, or employment opportunities.
AB 1111 awaits action by the Governor. CalChamber is encouraging members to contact the Governor and ask him to sign AB 1111.