Strong Workforce Program
More and Better Career Technical Education to Increase
Social Mobility and Fuel Regional Economies with Skilled Workers
To develop more workforce opportunity and lift low-wage workers into living-wage jobs, California took a bold step in 2016 to create one million more middle-skill workers. At the recommendation of the California Community College Board of Governors, the Governor and Legislature approved the Strong Workforce Program, adding a new annual recurring investment of $248 million to spur career technical education (CTE) in the nation’s largest workforce development system—California’s community colleges.
Grouped into seven areas targeting student success, career pathways, workforce data and outcomes, curriculum, CTE faculty, regional coordination and funding, this leading-edge state economic development program is driven by “more and better” CTE. The “more” is increasing the number of students enrolled in programs leading to high-demand, high-wage jobs. The “better” is improving program quality, as evidenced by more students completing or transferring programs, getting employed or improving their earnings.
The Strong Workforce Program focuses on data-driven outcomes rather than activities, along with an emphasis on innovation and risk-taking. In this way, colleges can be more responsive to labor market conditions and student outcomes. CTE Data Unlocked, a component of the program, helps colleges use CTE data to strengthen regional workforce plans by furthering local processes like program review, accreditation, and integrated planning.