Maybe you’ve heard that CWA has a new Vision Statement.

A prosperous California where thriving industries are sustained by a highly skilled, diverse and innovative workforce.

16 words.

16 carefully crafted, debated, and vetted words.

16 words that it took about three years to come to agreement on.

Let’s take a look at what goes into this vision statement, and why the Board of CWA has determined that this best sums up the higher purpose that CWA is striving for.

A prosperous California

Prosperous means “flourishing financially”, which sets the overall goal of CWA front and center.  This was very carefully chosen.  There are entities that want to see businesses prosper, and others that want to see employees prosper.  The term “prosperous California” was chosen because it is the goal of the workforce development system that all parties in the state be prosperous.

This seems to be a sisyphean goal. Certainly in today’s political climate there is a temptation to categorize organizations and people as being on the “side of business” or the “side of the worker”. Workforce development professionals understand that one side cannot function without the other. Businesses cannot thrive without a skilled workforce, and people cannot be pro-worker and anti-business. It practically does not make sense.

A prosperous California should be what we all aim at. And that can only happen in parallel, with businesses and employees moving forward together, proceeding together to that prosperity through skill development and the development and filling of good-paying jobs.

where thriving industries are sustained

Thriving. Growing or developing well or vigorously. “Vigorously” is the key term here.

To ensure that industries are thriving, it takes purpose. It takes activity. Continuous, vigorous activity. Activity that must be sustained in order to ensure that businesses thrive.

What kind of activities? This kind…

by a highly skilled, diverse and innovative workforce

Let’s take these three carefully-chosen terms one at a time:

  • Highly Skilled – Not skilled. Highly skilled. What kinds of skills? We don’t say, but by connecting this term with the previous “thriving industry” piece of the sentence, the implication is that the skills will be industry-driven
  • Diverse – The people who walk into career centers in California are a diverse population. As the unemployment rate goes down and private sector jobs continue to be added, the population that needs assistance in accessing the job market increasingly have multiple barriers to employment. These people come from diverse backgrounds, and that diversity is a strength that should be leveraged
  • Innovative – This term is often used as a descriptor of what makes a successful business or entrepreneur. In an ever-changing economy, though, the need for innovation among workers is essential. Not just for each individual’s career success, that much is true. Also, businesses need a workforce that thinks entrepreneurially. That can critically examine their duties and the position of the business as a whole and offer suggestions for how to capitalize on internal and external inefficiencies.
  • The workforce envisioned by CWA does not currently exist, outside of some pockets in special industries. But the tools are there. Education is seeing a renewed focus on skill development, from K-12 through higher education. Businesses are realizing the need for investment in their workers.

    It is up to workforce boards to bring these efforts together to create a prosperous California. CWA knows that these boards are up for the challenge. We’ll keep monitoring their progress as it happens, and will be here to support them every step of the way.

    Stay tuned.

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