Governor Brown Signs DeSaulnier Jobs Bill

Senate Bill 734 Supports Job Training for California Job Seekers

Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 734 (DeSaulnier) to prioritize the spending of Workforce Investment Act (WIA) money for quality job training programs and services for unemployed workers.

“Workers in California face the toughest job crisis since the Great Depression,” said Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord). “With declining state revenues and pressure on public resources, this new law will increase spending of existing federal workforce funds on high quality job training programs that connect workers to good jobs.”

California receives almost $500 million annually in WIA dollars for job training and employment services for adult and dislocated workers and youth. The majority of this money (85%) is allocated to 49 local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) which develop policies for how local WIA dollars are invested.

Despite the need for targeted and effective training, local WIBs in California spend very little WIA funds on skills training. On average they invest just 20% of their federal funds on job training services. A third of them spend less than 11% on training and many invest nothing at all. Faced with a similar problem, other states, including Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, have all adopted policies that require more local WIA funds to be dedicated to training. For example, Florida requires that local WIBs spend at least 50% of their WIA funds on training.

The new law will require local WIBs to increase spending of their Adult and Dislocated Workers Fund on quality programs and services that provide workers with job training. Under SB 734, spending will increase to a minimum of 30% of the WIA funds by 2016 and thereafter.

SB 734 is supported by and co-sponsored by the California Labor Federation, California Manufacturers and Technology Association, and State Building and Construction Trades Council and will take effect January 1, 2012.

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) represents the Seventh Senate District, which includes most of Contra Costa County, including Antioch.

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