(April 26, 2012) A California Chamber of Commerce-supported bill that helps improve alignment of the state’s workforce needs and education resources passed the Senate Education Committee this week.
SB 1402 (Lieu; D-Torrance) reauthorizes the Economic and Workforce Development Program within the California Community College system.
This bill is a part of CalChamber’s 2012 Renew Agenda and will help position California for economic recovery.
The Economic and Workforce Development Program was created to advance California’s economic growth and global competitiveness through development of 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. Over the last five years, total funding for the program has fallen by more than 40%, making it harder for program managers to coordinate with the various entities working toward the same mission and meet market needs.
SB 1402 establishes a revised program to operate until January 1, 2018, and revises the Economic and Workforce Development Program to improve its functions in three primary ways:
- Making the program more nimble and better able to respond to changing economic conditions;
- Making the program more accountable for investments and performance by strengthening the evaluation framework for economic and workforce development grants and programs; and
- Encouraging better integration and communication of economic and workforce development programs with career technical education programs.
The Economic and Workforce Development 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. Reauthorization of the program, as redesigned, 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 the subject areas in highest demand.
SB 1402 passed the Senate Education Committee on April 24 on a vote of 8-0.
Ayes: Alquist (D-Santa Clara), Hancock (D-Berkeley), Huff (R-Diamond Bar), Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge), A. Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), Price (D-Los Angeles), Simitian (D-Palo Alto), Vargas (D-San Diego).
No Vote Recorded: Blakeslee (R-San Luis Obispo), Runner (R-Antelope Valley).
Staff Contact: Mira Guertin