Another View: State is reshaping job training programs

David M. Lanier
David M. Lanier

On the state’s workforce systems, Dan Walters writes that state job training programs grow without coordination or evaluation (“Workforce training a big jumble,” July 24).

But he failed to recognize the many steps taken by the state’s workforce development and education agencies to focus and align resources of a complex system that supports California’s economy and offers workers a higher quality of life.

In January, the governor unveiled a bold proposal to reinvest in and reshape California’s workforce system. The framework focuses on worker education and training that meets the needs of employers and emerging high-wage jobs, and aligns programs through coordinated regional planning. The recent bipartisan authorization of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act encourages this type of approach. Under the proposal, job seekers, employers, policymakers and taxpayers will have transparent information on how employment assistance services are working.

This year, the state’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency and Workforce Development Board will release the Unified State Workforce Investment Plan to bring together partners, emphasize regional planning that reflects the needs of employers, allow for comparing results across programs and create pathways to careers.

The Workforce Development Board is also establishing a state workforce measurement tool, pursuant to legislation authored by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, and signed by the governor last year, that will gather data on wages, degrees, certificates and demographics of individuals participating in workforce education and training programs. Better tracking of progress will lead to better investments in skilled workers and regional economic development.

There are a multitude of programs to be tied together, including those of the California Community Colleges and departments of education, social services, rehabilitation and employment development. All are critical to workforce development in terms of education, support, training and employment.

Our efforts to move workforce development away from a patchwork system to one that brings strategic purpose through better coordination will help us strengthen our workforce and economy.

David M. Lanier is secretary of the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency.