Posted by: Carol | September 21, 2012

California Community Colleges Acting Chancellor Erik Skinner Lauds Bill Signing to Extend Workforce and Economic Development Program

California Chamber of Commerce calls the bill a ‘job creator’

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law a bill that significantly enhances California’s economic growth and global competitiveness by reauthorizing the California Community College’s Workforce and Economic Development program.

Senate Bill 1402 by Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) extends the reach of the Workforce and Economic Development program that has been creating key partnerships between community colleges, businesses and labor. The program was scheduled to expire at the end of the year and the new law resets its sunset provision for Jan. 1, 2018.

More than $22.9 million was appropriated in the 2012-13 state budget for this highly successful and popular program.

“The Workforce and Economic Development program has been a bright spot for years within our system and is a vitally important part of our state’s economic recovery,” said California Community Colleges Acting Chancellor Erik Skinner. “Students and businesses continue to turn to our colleges to connect the training we provide with the good-paying jobs that are out there. A well-educated workforce is key to strong businesses and economic vitality, and our workforce program makes that connection. Had we not made this investment our state would look vastly different in 10 years and not for the better.”

This collaboration leads to advances in curriculum and certificates needed by the workforce. The competitive grants administered by the California Community Colleges Workforce and Economic Development program spark innovation, creating new courses and improving and updating curriculum. This innovative approach provided by community colleges ensures that business workforce needs are served by an agile and responsive program.

“The secret to the success of our program has been bringing our state’s businesses together with the students, instructors and top training we can provide on our campuses,” California Community Colleges Vice Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development Van Ton-Quinlivan said. “Up and down the state we see the difference these programs make in our students’ lives, their ability to secure a well-paying job in growing industries. I’m glad our governor and state lawmakers decided to reinvest in the future. That investment continues to pay dividends.”

Lieu said his bill is another step toward transforming California’s job approach to a sector-based strategy by focusing on the state’s competitive advantages and labor market needs.

“In an era of limited resources, it is imperative that California use a coordinated approach to workforce and economic development,” said Lieu. “Training students for good-paying jobs in relevant and competitive sectors is the pathway to a strong and stable California economy.”

California’s community colleges are leading the way for preparing the current and future workforce in a new and changing global market:

  • The California Community Colleges system is the state’s largest workforce training provider, by serving more than 2.4 million students each year. The overall result is an investment in California’s economic recovery.
  • California Community Colleges offer more than 175 degree and certificate programs in hundreds of vocational fields that are in need of skilled workers.
  • The Workforce and Economic Development innovative sector-based initiatives served 48,470 organizations, resulting in improvements in productivity, sales and new equity investments of more than $215 million.
  • The Workforce and Economic Development program consistently creates or retains more than 16,000 jobs through its high-growth initiatives. The California Chamber of Commerce has labeled the program as a job creator for California.

The measure takes effect Jan.  1, 2013.

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