The 46 Workforce Development Boards in the state of California are called to operate in, and lead, a demand-driven system with industry as the key customer, key decision maker, and key champion, with the purpose of creating a robust economy for businesses and the population at large.

The Economic Development system is called to assist local communities in generating economic growth by assisting business growth, ensuring that they are solving the problems of businesses to retain those businesses, as well as to assist in their growth and attract new businesses to the community.

One key factor in business retention and attraction is a robust talent pipeline that meets the needs of business. It is in this space that workforce and economic development become logical partners.

This study sought stories and data from across the workforce development field in California to see how they were aligning with economic development entities. The study will be used to inform conversations on how to connect these two systems, as well as how to fit in other business and industry groups to ensure that all partners are at the table, collaborating together for the benefit of the state’s economy.


Local Workforce Development Boards were sent the survey that populated this report. Representatives of all but one of the multiple-county workforce development regions in California responded to the survey, with 26 responses in all.


There is a growing sentiment that workforce and economic development are complimentary systems that must braid their services and resources to accomplish their individual, and mutual, goals.  Funding and capacity are issues that must be addressed in order to build capacity to execute on comprehensive strategies.  However, continued partnerships on planning, as well as further strategizing on how to coordinate business outreach and services are seemingly achievable ends.  CWA will work with CalEd on increasing opportunities for our members to come together and build relationships at the state and local levels.

The data will also assist us in building relationships with other business organizations, such as trade associations and Chambers of Commerce.  CWA will utilize this data to work with CalEd to begin conversations with these business organizations, ensuring that their viewpoints on their needs from our two systems helps to drive the work that we do together.

Capacity building around linking the systems and strategies to bring the systems together is another priority.  Through the PTAT grant, CWA will be developing training that aligns with the challenges and assistance requests outlined in this paper.

To view the full paper, please click here.

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