This morning the Governor signed into law Senate Bill 734, authored by Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord).
The measure prioritizes the spending of Workforce Investment Act (WIA) money for quality job training programs and services for unemployed workers.
SB 734 was co-sponsored by JVS Los Angeles, Chicana Service Action Center, California Labor Federation, California Manufacturers and Technology Association, and State Building and Construction Trades Council.
“This new bill will appropriately refocus the public workforce development system in California on upgrading the skills of workers to qualify them for jobs that will materialize when the economy recovers from its current morass,” according to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
“The passage of SB 734 is a significant step forward for California job seekers and union members and a powerful recognition of the critical work being done on the front lines of this economic downturn,” said Art Pulaski, Chief Officer of the California Labor Federation.
California receives almost $500 million annually in WIA dollars for job training and employment services for youth, disadvantaged adults, and dislocated workers. Despite the need for targeted and effective training, local WIBs in California spend very little WIA funds on skills training. Faced with a similar problem, other states, including Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, have all adopted policies that require more local WIA funds to be dedicated to training.
SB 734 requires local WIBs to increase spending of their Adult and Dislocated Workers Fund on quality programs and services that provide workers with job training. Under this bill, spending would increase annually to a minimum of 30% of the Fund in 2016 and thereafter.
JVS Los Angeles has been providing comprehensive employment services to Angelenos since 1931 and has witnessed the tremendous shifts in the job market and the increased pressures on job seekers trying to compete in this economic environment.
“We have always sought meaningful partnerships to increase our effectiveness, leverage and maximize our resources for the benefit of our clients,” said JVS CEO Vivian Seigel. “This legislation will open the door to greater opportunities for the long term unemployed and other job seekers struggling to overcome multiple barriers to employment.”
“Workers in California face the toughest job crisis since the Great Depression,” said DeSaulnier (D-Concord). “With declining state revenues and pressure on public resources, it is crucial that every dollar of federal workforce funds is invested in high quality job training that connects workers to good jobs.”
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