October 17, 2017

Contact: Eric Flores, CWA (916) 325-1610


Gov. Brown Approves Effort to Break ‘Barriers to Employment’ for Californians at Poverty Level

A diverse coalition of community-based organizations (CBOs), social justice partners, labor, local government, business, and manufacturers, applaud Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of AB 1111. This important legislation creates a “Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative,” which will help vulnerable populations, including out-of-school youth, veterans, unskilled and low-skilled workers, foster youth, long-term unemployed, workers with disabilities, formerly incarcerated individuals, farmworkers, and other economically disadvantaged people, move out of poverty and into meaningful employment opportunities.  According to Census data and a report from the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, poverty in California is highest among children, people with a high school diploma or less, and people of color.

The “Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative” will facilitate partnerships between local Workforce Development Boards and Community Based Organizations to provide supports and services that address the multiple and varied needs of individuals facing barriers to employment. “AB 1111 will help California address unemployment and poverty while meeting the critical workforce demands of our businesses. The goal of this measure was to eliminate barriers and provide support to our most vulnerable populations, such as veterans, low and un-skilled workers, out-of-school youth, the formerly incarcerated, single moms and others looking to escape poverty,” stated Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella).

Bob Lanter, Executive Director of the California Workforce Association, said the issue addressed by the bill attacks a statewide problem.  “Over 20 percent of Californians live at the poverty level even though most of their households have someone who is employed, and it’s something local workforce boards are facing in every region,” he said.  “While the populations are different region-to-region, we know we have to address their needs in the hopes that they will join the workforce at a meaningful level.”

Lanter added that the measure was also needed to help prepare the new generation of workers who will have to replace the “Baby Boomer” generation now heading into retirement.

AB 1111 was jointly- or co-authored by Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) and 11 other bipartisan colleagues, and was passed by the State Assembly and Senate by votes of 77-0 and 38-1, respectively.  It was co-sponsored by the California Workforce Association, PolicyLink and La Cooperativa.  Funding for the measure will have to come in the 2018-19 State Budget, which gives the Governor’s Administration time to develop rules for a competitive grant process for those interested in pursuing local strategies.


What They Are Saying About AB 1111…


Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella)

“I want to thank all of the agency and community partners from across our state that contributed to this legislative success. By leveraging our combined workforce development capacities, we can create the job training, employment and apprenticeship opportunities needed to build a more self-sufficient economy, provide a higher quality of life and most importantly, empowerment for residents.”


Marco Cesar Lizarraga, Executive Director, La Cooperativa Campesina

“AB 1111, this legislation will provide opportunities for training those with multiple barriers and challenged by learning and speaking fluent English, especially to the agricultural working poor and the farmworkers of the State of California.  La Cooperativa thanks Governor Brown and Assemblyman Eduardo Garcia for their efforts and concerns for these sectors of the populations.”

Charles Helget, on behalf of the California Association of Veteran Service Agencies

“AB 1111, the ‘Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative’, will provide invaluable resources for our struggle to find employment for veterans who have multiple barriers to employment!  These resources will help veterans successfully participate in training, apprenticeship, or employment opportunities that will lead to self-sufficiency and economic stability. On behalf of the more than 14,000 veterans that we serve, thank you Assembly Member Garcia and Governor Brown for their support of this program.”

Carlos Lopez, Director of Government Relations, Center for Employment Training

“AB 1111 would provide valued ‘skills training’ opportunities leading to full-time employment to ‘thousands’ of low-skilled persons from targeted populations to support families, while also helping California businesses with a more productive workforce.”

Angela Glover Blackwell, on behalf of PolicyLink

“AB  1111 offers a unique opportunity for California to meaningfully address the training and employment challenges facing disadvantaged youth and adults and to expand access to well-paying jobs and careers. Targeting effective workforce development and job placement assistance to these groups will maximize education and employment outcomes throughout the state, boost our economy, and secure a future of shared prosperity.  We applaud Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia and Governor Jerry Brown for their leadership on this important issue and look forward to working with them to secure funding and full implementation of this initiative.”

California Workforce Association is the nonprofit membership organization representing the 46 Workforce Development Boards in the State of California.

PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity by Lifting Up What Works®.

La Cooperativa Campesina is a job training, employment, information and services resource for farmworkers, advocates and service providers.

Gov. Brown Approves Effort to Break ‘Barriers to Employment’ for Californians at Poverty Level

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