The CA EDGE Coalition applauds Governor Newsom for making significant investments in the areas of education and workforce development in this year’s January budget plan. Specifically, we are pleased to see additional funding that seeks to address student hunger, dual enrollment, apprenticeships, workforce training, and supporting undocumented students. These are major budget priorities the CA EDGE Coalition will be closely monitoring. Most notably, Governor Newsom’s $222 billion budget plan includes the following investments:
• Apprenticeship Programs: An increase of $83.2 million dollars to community colleges for apprenticeship programs. With these funds, community colleges will be able to support and expand access to work-based learning models, increase apprenticeship instructional hours, and provide funding support for the CA Apprenticeship Initiative.
• Faculty Opportunities: $15 million dollars in one-time funding for a pilot fellowship program for improving faculty diversity at community colleges.
• Fighting Student Hunger: An increase of $11.4 million dollars to establish or support food pantries at community college campuses.
• Supporting Dual Enrollment Students: An increase of $5 million dollars for community colleges to provide instructional materials for dual enrollment students.
• Supporting Immigrant Students: An increase of $10 million dollars to provide legal services to immigrant students, faculty, and staff on community college campuses. Additionally, an increase of $5.8 million dollars to fund Dreamer Resource Liaisons and student support
services, including those related to career pathways and economic mobility, for immigrant students in community colleges.
• Student Loans: CSU and UC allotted a combined $10 million dollars in one-time funding to support the convening of a student loan working group and to provide student loan outreach.
• Workforce Development: $193 million dollars in one-time funding for the Workforce Development Grant Program to address workforce shortages in high-need subjects and areas.
• Regions Rise Together Initiative: $758,000 dollars ongoing to establish offices of Business and Economic Development in the Central Valley, Inland Empire, Central Coast, and North Coast. This initiative, directed by Governor Newsom and the Office of Business and Economic Development, is intended to provide a focus on bringing business and economic development to these regions.
In addition to these budget priorities, the CA EDGE Coalition is proudly serving on the California Student Aid Commission statewide workgroup which is currently exploring how the state’s financial aid programs can best serve the needs of students. The workgroup is looking to address
the total cost of attendance of California’s higher education institutions, and as the budget plan mentions, the Administration expects the workgroup to consider strategies to mitigate the underlying drivers of non-tuition costs.
Other significant investments in the budget relative to EDGE priorities include:
• New Department of Better Jobs and Higher Wages : The budget allocates $2.4 million dollars in one-time funding to create the Department of Better Jobs and Higher Wages, which will consolidate the workforce functions currently dispersed across the Labor and Workforce Development Agency. This new agency is intended to better align data, policy, and program analysis of the state’s workforce training programs and improve the education and training of workers for the jobs of the future.
• Career Opportunities for Incarcerated Individuals: To further assist incarcerated individuals with finding gainful employment and prepare them to enter the workforce, the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) will expand post-secondary educational opportunities to individuals who have completed an associate’s degree. Additionally, CDCR will partner with the CSU system to establish bachelor’s degree programs at several California prisons. The Budget also includes $1.8
million dollars in 2020-2021 and $3.5 million ongoing for tuition, books, materials, training, and equipment for students participating in this program.
• Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development Initiative: $10 million dollars in one-time funding for the CA Workforce Development Board to launch the Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development Initiative which seeks to provide micro-grants and entrepreneurial training to immigrants.
Despite the Governor’s remarkable funding investments in this year’s January budget, there are no additional dollars allocated towards CalGrants, which are essential in supporting low and middle-income students pursuing higher education in the state. CalGrants provide financial aid for tuition and living expenses that do not have to be paid back. Nonetheless, we know there is more work to be done to ensure California’s underserved populations have the opportunity to develop the skills and abilities needed in today’s labor market. As we enter a new legislative
session, the CA EDGE Coalition looks forward to working with Governor Newsom and members of the legislature to ensure sound policies and sufficient funding is provided for critical resources that support California’s students and adult learners.