Skills for CA is statewide network of organizations advancing workforce development policies that remove systemic barriers and promote an inclusive economy for all Californians.

Skills for California Guiding Principles

The Issue

In communities across California, people are striving to move into good jobs and improve their economic circumstances. Meanwhile, businesses are looking for new ways to grow and diversify their workforce to compete in a rapidly changing and increasingly global economy. California’s policy leaders have the chance to support individual aspirations and boost business growth through inclusive workforce development policies.

While workforce development can’t be the only solution, it’s crucial to creating a more inclusive economy for all Californians. Here’s why:

    • Many good jobs in California require education and training beyond high school but not a four-year degree; these jobs are in key industries such as manufacturing, health services, and construction. Many Californians want to secure good jobs, , but don’t have access to education and training opportunities. For nearly one in four Californians living in or near poverty, costs such as tuition, books, supplies, transportation, and childcare make education and training out of reach.
    • California’s diversity is one of its biggest assets. The majority of the state’s residents are people of color and over one-quarter are immigrants. Yet generations of policies that systemically limited economic opportunity for communities of color have resulted in racial disparities in education, employment, and earnings. California must address these inequities to secure a vibrant economic future.
    • California must adopt workforce development policies that reflect the assets and aspirations of all of its people. Policies that create more opportunities for workers of color, immigrants, refugees, opportunity youth, individuals with disabilities, justice-involved individuals, Californians paid low incomes and others who face barriers to economic opportunity will be key to realizing the full benefits of California’s workforce.

Skills for CA Leadership Council Members

Luis Barrera-Castanon, Senior Director, Strategic Operations – Goodwill Southern California

Erica Bouris, Technical Advisor – International Rescue Committee

Amber Chatman, Director, Workforce Systems and Policy – Unite-LA

Rebecca Hanson, Executive Director – The Education Fund

Rob Hope, Senior Initiative Officer and Director – ReWork the Bay / San Francisco Foundation

Sean Hughes, Policy Director, California Opportunity Youth Network

Abbie Langston, Director, Equitable Economy – PolicyLink

Bob Lanter, Executive Director – California Workforce Association

Eric Morrison Smith, Policy Director – Alliance for Boys and Men of Color

Edgar Ortiz, Economic Justice Policy Analyst – California Immigrant Policy Center

David Palter, Senior Director, Higher Education and Workforce Development – Silicon Valley Leadership Group

Julia Root, Director of Development – Creating Restorative Opportunities and Programs

Luis Sandoval, Development Director – Building Skills Partnership

Andrea Vizenor, Dean of Strategic Partnerships & Workforce Development – Skyline College

Jeffrey Wallace, President and CEO – LeadersUp

Ex Officio

Kate Kinder, State Strategies Director – National Skills Coalition

Karina Paredes-Arzola, State Network Manager – National Skills Coalition

Staff Leadership

Zima Creason, Executive Director – CA EDGE Coalition

Anna Alvarado, Policy Director – CA EDGE Coalition

Jaclyn Moreno, Program Director – CA EDGE Coalition

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