A welding student protects themself from sparks with a mask

Growing the workforce

August 31, 2020 | San Diego Community College District

Funding that has proven critical in lifting low-wage workers into higher paying jobs will continue unabated, thanks to a state budget that protects the California Community Colleges’ Strong Workforce Program — a program fueling successful workforce readiness initiatives at the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD).

A culinary student works with dough in the kitchenEstablished in 2016, the Strong Workforce Program’s purpose is to develop more good-paying job opportunities and create 1 million more middle-skill workers by expanding the availability and quality of community college career education and workforce development courses, programs, pathways, credentials, certificates, and degrees. The statewide Strong Workforce Program began with an annual recurring investment of $200 million, an amount that increased to $248 million the following year.

The SDCCD received more than $3.3 million during Round 1 of the Strong Workforce Program in 2016-17, with $839,323 going to City College, $938,657 going to Mesa College, $787,320 going to Miramar College, and $790,908 going to Continuing Education. Funds were spent on hiring faculty and professional staff and creating or strengthening programs ranging from cybersecurity and cosmetology at City College to Allied Health and architecture/design at Mesa College to aviation and airport management at Miramar College to welding and interior design at Continuing Education.

Distributions to the SDCCD have steadily increased since then, allowing campuses to expand career education-specific tutoring, create even more new programs such as fermentation management and advanced transportation, modernize computer labs, strengthen partnerships with business and industry, and more.

Sixty percent of Strong Workforce dollars is directed to local community college districts and 40% is directed toward regional efforts for a more coordinated approach to workforce training.

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