A new public-private partnership was recently announced, designed to create workforce development programs focused on good-paying careers in climate, public health and other jobs of the future, particularly in disadvantaged communities. The High Road Training Fund was launched in partnership with the nonprofit Jobs for the Future (JFF) and California Workforce Development Board.
The state has already invested approximately $62 million in public funding to expand High Road Training Partnerships (HRTP) and High Road Construction Careers (HRCC). Over the next three years, the High Road Training Fund will invest more than $18 million to support the needs of HRTP and HRCC grantees. Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed more than $500 million to further expand high road programs.
The HRTP and HRCC, administered by the California Workforce Development Board, provide training to help workers garner the skills and experience necessary to participate in growing and emerging industries such as construction, forestry and agriculture, hospitality, public transit and utilities, health care, trade, and logistics.
“We’re building a workforce of the future to create a cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous California,” said Governor Newsom. “Public-private partnerships like these are critical to achieving our shared goals as a state – an all-hands-on-deck approach to provide workers with the training and education needed for these new jobs as we create a more sustainable and resilient future for all Californians.”
With seed funding and aligned support from the James B. Irvine Foundation and Lumina Foundation, CWDB is working with JFF to launch the new fund in late summer 2022, with a focus on supporting grantees to supplement areas historically not covered through public funding streams.
“At a time of broad-based income inequality and growing climate threats, climate resilience and economic inclusion are two sides of the same coin,” said Ana Bertha Gutierrez, Senior Director at JFF. “This work is about driving investment in inclusive models of workforce development that prioritize equity, economic growth and inclusive regional economies alongside climate resilience and environmental protection.”
The fund will provide resources to cover the barriers often faced by workers living in poverty, ranging from support to cover basic needs like housing and food insecurity to capacity-building funding for local programs and community-based organization partners.
“When we talk about climate change, homelessness, health disparities, and the preservation of natural resources – at the heart of all of these priorities are workers and how they drive change in their communities,” said Natalie Palugyai, Secretary of the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency. “This new fund further empowers communities to more equitably access State high-road investments that foster inclusion, good jobs, worker voice and economic prosperity.”