Immigrants and refugees are vital to the social and economic fabric of our state, representing over a third of California’s workforce, contributing to over a third of California’s GDP, and helping to bring California’s economy back from the Great Recession to becoming the 4th largest economy in the world. Workforce development services that provide career education and training to workers entering the workforce, or navigating it, can be a powerful tool to ending some of our state’s most pervasive economic inequities.
However, training, education, and jobs necessary for upward economic mobility are largely out of reach for immigrant and refugee workers, especially those who are undocumented, low-income, and English language learners. California invests hundreds of millions of dollars in a public workforce system—which includes workforce development boards and job training centers—that fails to recognize the dignity and support the needs of immigrant and refugee communities. Lack of access to childcare and transportation, cultural and language barriers, and a complex system of eligibility requirements means that few are able to access training programs or living wage jobs. Even when immigrants are able to secure jobs, they earn roughly half the median salary of workers born in the US, and are disproportionately concentrated in low-road industries and occupations.
CIPC supports local efforts aimed at expanding access to workforce development services and good jobs, and works to advance state policies that improve equity within the state’s workforce development and adult education systems so that all immigrants and refugees can support themselves and their loved ones.
Join CIPC’s CA Workforce Development listserv to stay updated on workforce development advocacy and funding opportunities, including AB 628, the Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative, which we recently secured with our partners!
Help us continue CIPC’s groundbreaking work on behalf of immigrants and refugees in California.