A Broadly Shared Prosperity
The California EDGE Coalition unites business, labor, social justice, education and workforce organizations to build a broadly shared prosperity. We share a commitment to the idea that post-secondary education and training is the doorway into economic mobility, for individuals and their communities. Our coalition believes that when all individuals have the opportunity to develop the skills and abilities needed in today’s labor market, California will be positioned to thrive and prosper based upon the diversity, skills, and strength of its people.
The California EDGE Coalition was launched in 2006. Stakeholders from business, labor, community colleges, workforce boards and social justice organizations came together to forge a vision of California’s future based on a skilled workforce and a broadly-shared prosperity. A gubernatorial election was underway and there were strong, organized advocates for K-12 education and the four-year colleges, but little attention to career technical education that led to jobs that provide millions of workers a doorway into the middle class.
The product of these meetings was a reform agenda – Keeping California Competitive, Creating Opportunity – that was ultimately endorsed by over a hundred business and organizations. We agreed that over the coming decades, California stands at a historic crossroad. The highly-credentialed baby boom generation will be retiring and, unless we are proactive, the replacement workers will have lower levels of educational attainment and be unprepared for the jobs of the future. We called on the Governor and Legislature to lead a strategic effort to forge California’s impressive education and training infrastructure into an integrated system of skill development that addresses the needs of all California workers and employers.
In the more than a decade since its formation, EDGE has focused on improving California’s system of workforce education and training and removing the serious barriers that prevent so many Californians from getting the skills they need to succeed in the labor market. California has made progress since we first came together. There is now widespread recognition that despite the state’s historic commitment to higher education, too few students achieve degrees, certificates, or transfer and many low-skilled working adults have limited access to skill-development opportunities. Career education that had once received limited recognition and insufficient financial support is increasingly being recognized as an important component of postsecondary education.
Board of Directors
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORKFORCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
California Labor Federation
EDGE engages in education, advocacy, and coalition building to advance our goals. Through research, policy briefs, and events we educate policymakers on a wide range of state and national policy efforts aimed at providing more opportunity for skill development and credential/ degree attainment. EDGE both sponsors and supports legislation and budget action aligned to our mission. We also engage in coalition building to bring together practitioners, community-based organizations, business, labor, social justice organizations, and others from the diverse regions of the state. EDGE works with this network of partners to learn from them, share information with them, and lift up their voices so that they can influence state policymaking.
The EDGE Coalition is committed to increasing the skill level of all Californians, especially those who have too often faced locked doors when they tried to access opportunities. We believe that with the commitment of institutional partners to adapt their programs to the needs of today’s students and align them to the competencies needed in today’s labor market, by creating new ways for people to develop skills, and through investments in supports that help ensure student success, California can achieve widespread prosperity for all.