State Workforce Board awards $33 million to help rebuild California’s middle class

Contra Costa Refinery Transition Partnership program receives $400K

The Resilient Workforce Program invests in opportunities that advance job quality, environmental resilience

By Anna Champe, Communications Manager, California Workforce Development Board

SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Workforce Development Board (CWDB), in partnership with the Labor & Workforce Development Agency, recently awarded $33,155,915 to nine projects across the state to advance High Road Training Partnerships (HRTPs) that move underserved populations into better jobs.

Monday’s funding announcement is part of a larger, multi-level investment to advance state workforce development efforts to prioritize equity, quality jobs, and climate resilience

while meeting regional labor market needs. With the addition of these nine new projects, California is investing more than $260 million in nearly 100 active state-funded HRTPs.

The Contra Costa Refinery Transition Partnership received $400,000 in RWF funding in Spring/Summer 2022.

“Funding for existing HRTPs, which invest in industry-led worker-informed efforts, deliver on Governor Newsom’s promise of a California for All,” said California Workforce Development Board Chief Deputy Director Curtis Notsinneh. “California continues to lead the nation in investments that recognize and lift up a middle-class, while meeting the skills needs of our employers to stay competitive and innovative.”

Projects receiving funding include:

  • $7.5 million for High Road to Tribal Forest Restoration and Stewardship – expands job pathways with living wages for underserved tribal and rural populations, including tree and native plant nursery work, forest health, and forest and meadow restoration.
  • $5.1 million for Early Care & Education Pathways to Success – this existing apprenticeship program will expand to new under-sourced regions and serve 655 new apprentices to earn certifications in education serving Pre-K to Third-grade students.
  • $5 million for Vocational English as a Second Language Home Care Immersion Training Program – Homebridge will partner with SEIU Local 2015 to provide language skills and advanced home care training to immigrant, refugee, and formerly incarcerated populations. Participants will immediately earn $25 an hour after graduating and have opportunities for advancement.
  • $5 million for Dental Assistant Training Program – will scale successful earn-as-you-learn bootcamps to more regions and fill the gap between unlicensed dental assistants and licensed Registered Dental Assistants. Target populations include low-wage workers, communities of color, youth, immigrants, and workers without a college degree.

Contra Costa Harnessing Change: Refinery Transition Partnership (CCRTP)

Contra Costa County (CCC) communities, particularly low-income communities of color, bear major health burdens inflicted by the refineries and their toxic emissions. Additionally, the Bay Area refineries emit significant amounts of climate warming greenhouse gasses, posing one of the state’s most significant challenges to climate resilience. As California works to establish a carbon neutral economy, the oil refining sector will unavoidably undergo a massive transition. This transition is already taking place in CCC, where two of the four refineries are transitioning to biofuels, resulting in a significant workforce reduction–most notably at the Marathon Martinez Refinery, which laid off approximately 700 workers in 2020.

The Contra Costa Refinery Transition Partnership (CCRTP) is the first effort to bring together frontline workers and community organizations to plan for refinery transition. CCCRTP brings together CCC oil refinery workers, the refinery community, allies, and high-road industry stakeholders to develop shared strategies to prepare for this significant economic shift, including leading research and developing policy recommendations to support refinery communities and workers, as well as the development of a regional high-road economic development vision to advance CCC’s economic resilience as the state transitions to a low-carbon economy.

This project addresses the critical need to plan for economic transition in one of California’s most oil-industry dependent counties, through deep engagement and shared visioning led by impacted workers and community members themselves, in partnership with the broader community of stakeholders.

Project Highlights

• Strengthen the CCRTP for the long-term, as a coalition of frontline workers, community organizations and allies.

• Complete and publish a detailed report and recommendations on planning for refinery transition in the Bay Area.

• Complete and publish a Contra Costa High Road Economic Development Vision.

Key Partners

  • Contra Costa Central Labor Council
  • BlueGreen Alliance Foundation
  • United Steelworkers District 12
  • United Steelworkers Local 5
  • UA Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 342
  • Asian Pacific Environmental Network
  • California Labor Federation, Workforce & Economic Development (WED)
  • UC Berkeley Labor Center

A complete list of awardees can be found on CWDB’s website.

Allen D. Payton contributed to this report.

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High Road Trng Pship & CA Workforce Development Board logos

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