California EDGE Coalition’s 2022 Policy Agenda

Advancing Education, Diversity, & Growth in the Economy

The CA EDGE Coalition’s 2022 policy agenda builds upon previous efforts to respond to the needs of students, adult learners, opportunity youth, and workers paid low wages, as well as supporting employers to meet their workforce needs. Our goal is to strengthen, improve, and broaden education and training programming to better serve Californians and to respond to changes in our communities, workforce, and the labor market.

To chart a path towards economic equity and mobility, we must secure a stable and accessible safety net for underserved Californians; advance critical funding for education and training programs; and work with our industry partners to stabilize their workforce – all while ensuring sound policies are implemented through a racial equity lens. As we’ve seen, the pandemic has disproportionately impacted women, workers in low-wage occupations, undocumented immigrants, opportunity youth, and communities of color – particularly Black and Latinx communities. The CA EDGE Coalition stands ready to work collaboratively with Governor Newsom, the Legislature, agency leaders, and our partners to advance our policy priorities, which are:

Support funding for education and workforce training programs for adults and opportunity youth to create pathways to good jobs and streamline processes to increase access and remove barriers for priority populations, including advancing the implementation of competency-based education and credit for prior learning as well as strengthening high-road training partnerships, career tech and adult education programs that respond to high-demand industries.

Grow, diversify, and expand innovative “earn and learn” opportunities, especially apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in high-demand fields that lead to career building, family-sustaining jobs, and expand work-based training and learning opportunities that support and prioritize workers of color from underserved communities.

Support full implementation of AB 705, landmark legislation intended to ensure students attending community colleges are not placed into remedial courses that may delay or deter their educational progress and entry into the workforce. Through ongoing implementation, California must ensure community colleges are supported, student support services are accessible, and that racial equity is at the forefront of implementation.

Develop and expand policies and investments that prepare and support opportunity youth (OY) to enter into the workforce. OY face unique employment barriers that often do not align with workforce development efforts that center adults. Prioritizing this community will expand the pool of talent that employers can access to meet their workforce needs.

Advance the implementation of adult dual enrollment by raising awareness of its potential across sectors; encouraging industry, community college and adult education partnerships to establish pathways, and support investments for educational institutions to fully implement dual enrollment programs for adults and opportunity youth.

Investing in the “Whole Worker” by expanding and securing a social safety net for underserved communities beyond one-time investments, with the understanding that these investments translate to higher rates of completion in programs of study and securing jobs with benefits. Securing a social safety net will assist students and adult learners paid low wages, communities of color, undocumented immigrants, opportunity youth, and dislocated workers to access support services that address basic needs such as food, housing, transportation, childcare, and healthcare, enabling them to complete their goals.

Support workers and employers in pandemic response and recovery by strengthening partnerships between business, labor, education, workforce, and community-based organizations; support state and federal funding, and employer incentives intended to assist businesses in rebuilding capacity and retaining/rehiring their workforce.

Engage in the development and implementation of California’s longitudinal data system to ensure the integration of statewide data across education, workforce, and human services systems is public-facing, transparent, secure, inclusive of the adult learner and worker voice, and leads to policy change and investments that lead to improved workforce development outcomes.

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