By MARIE WALDRON, 75th Assembly District
The best way to reduce poverty is by bringing more of our citizens into the workforce. While government subsidies can help to overcome temporary setbacks, the only permanent way to increase overall prosperity is through permanent, well-paying jobs.
Unfortunately, many Californians are now struggling to secure good jobs, even though many jobs are available. In 2012, the National Skills Coalition reported that “middle skills jobs account for 50 percent of California’s labor market, but only 40 percent of the state’s workers are trained to the middle skill level.” That equates to almost two million unfilled jobs.
Since additional training is key to improving job prospects, I am joining my Republican colleagues to build an education and training plan that will provide necessary resources for California’s workforce education training system.
The plan includes secured funding for the state’s Career Technical Education program, increases in grants to community colleges and local education agencies, funding for trades and apprenticeship programs, competitive training in nursing and other health fields, along with my bill which allocates grants to organizations that train workers to break barriers to employment to gain consistent work. Barriers include developmental disabilities, criminal background or lack of skills.
There will always be budget uncertainties and challenges, but we must break the cycle of unemployment and help people attain job training skills to be successful. A growing economy with an expanding pool of skilled, well-paid workers is the best way to create a healthy economy for California.