This paper provides a general summary of relevant federal and state workforce development legislation and policy. As one of the components in the workforce development system, the California Community Colleges are not only considerably impacted by but are most ideally positioned to play a major role in the state's workforce development system.
Policy Level Recommendations
- Make the California community colleges a primary provider of workforce and economic development programs;
- Make changes in federal and state policy that will expand access for training and education for individuals accessing the workforce development system;
- Expand the definition of work and work-searching in workforce development programs, (including CalWORKS), to include study, training and education time;
- Incorporate measures of wage gains and self-sufficiency to counter the effects of "work-first " approach that counts poverty level wages as a success;
- Expand funding for the workforce development programs and services as a part of the overall workforce development system;
- Implement workforce development education and training program accountability measures that integrate comprehensive upward career mobility concepts from "Ladders of Opportunity";
- Ensure coordination and collaboration with community based organizations and local business as an essential part of workforce development education and training programs and services;
- Provide comprehensive and accessible student support services as an integral component of workforce development education and training programs;
- Modify CalWORKs programs to permit a longer total timeframe;
- Continue to fully fund the CalWORKs program;
- Fund ED>Net programs using a more uniform allocation process rather than competitive grants;
- Design workforce development education and training programs not only to meet immediate workplace preparation but to meet further personal career aspirations of individuals accessing the program;
- Ensure that colleges create workforce development programs that serve the needs of individuals accessing the workforce development system while honoring the processes and criteria that enable the program to promote upward educational mobility. Curriculum processes, faculty qualifications, rigor of training and program structure such that participants can fully access the resources of the college should be an integral component of workforce development programs regardless of the physical location of the instruction.
Recommendations to Local Academic Senates
- Local senates should have an occupational education committee in order to keep local senates and faculty colleagues fully apprised of workforce and economic development issues;
- Local senates should actively encourage participation of occupational education faculty in governance activities, for example through representation at senate meetings and on governing councils;
- Local senates should encourage ongoing interactions between academic and occupational faculty for their mutual benefit and that of their students;
- When reviewing and approving occupational programs and curriculum, local senates should keep in mind the need for balance between the needs of our students and the demands of industry;
- Local curriculum committees should pay particular attention to the effect of compressed calendars on the success of marginal students;
- Local senates should ensure that all students receive counseling that presents a full range of career options and that highlights a career ladders approach;
- Local senates should actively encourage and protect adequate funding for occupational programs;
- Local senates should involve their occupational education committee in the allocation and expenditure of VTEA funds;
- Local senates should encourage faculty participation in local WIBs;
- Local senates should participate in the nominations process for occupational faculty who serve on regional consortia and statewide committees;
- Local senates should encourage staff development training opportunities relatrelated to funding acquisition and management.
- Local senates should ensure the coordination of ED>Net programs with regular college programs.