Sacramento, California - This afternoon, Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia’s (D-Coachella) $25 million dollar workforce development budget request was approved by the Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on State Administration. The funds would kick-start the competitive grant program, as established in AB 1111, Breaking Barriers to Employment (E. Garcia, 2017).

“This funding will enhance our ability to curb poverty and build more self-sufficient local economies through focused workforce investments for individuals facing multiple employment barriers such as veterans, farmworkers, the formerly incarcerated, low-skilled and low-wage workers and women and seniors re-entering the workforce,” said Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia. “I am very grateful that the budget subcommittee voted to fully fund our $25 million workforce development request. These resources will soon be assisting economically underserved areas across the state, like those in my district.”

This bipartisan request was backed by a vast collation of local and statewide workforce, employment, and job training entities such as the California Workforce Association, Riverside County Economic Development Agency and Imperial County Workforce Development Board.

“Resources for our community are extremely limited, that’s why Assembly Bill 1111 is so important to our region. AB 1111 would allow for the creation of a more robust training program to further support our efforts in the development of a stronger workforce,” stated Priscilla Lopez, Executive Director of Imperial County Workforce Development Board who travelled up to Sacramento earlier this year in support of this initiative.

Imperial County, part of Assemblymember Garcia’s District is located in the far southeastern corner of California, bordered by Arizona and Mexico and suffers from disproportionately high numbers of unemployment.

Bob Lanter, Executive Director of California Workforce Association added, “Funding AB 1111 gives the State of California the chance to make a real, tangible investment in California’s populations that face the toughest barriers to employment. This money advances a needs targeted approach meet workforce demands of both our businesses and our communities. Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia has proven time and again to be a leader for vulnerable populations, working to create equity for all Californians.”

Grant proposals are required to be submitted as a partnership between local workforce development boards and community-based nonprofit service providers with experience serving the targeted population. Projects must include specific measurement of success that illustrates how the assistance increased the individual's skill-level and prepared them to take on higher levels of training or obtain jobs.