Strong Workforce Program

More and Better Career Technical Education to Increase Social Mobility and Fuel Regional Economies with Skilled Workers

In 2016, at the recommendation of the California Community College Board of Governors, the Governor and Legislature approved the Strong Workforce Program, adding a new annual recurring investment of $248 million to spur career education (CE) in the nation’s largest workforce development system of 113 colleges.

This state economic development program is driven by “more and better” CE. The “more” is increasing the number of students enrolled in programs leading to high-demand, high-wage jobs. The “better” is improving program quality, as evidenced by more students completing or transferring programs, getting employed or improving their earnings.

The Strong Workforce Program focuses on data-driven outcomes rather than activities, along with an emphasis on innovation and risk-taking. In this way, colleges can be more responsive to labor market conditions and student outcomes. 

LaunchBoard SWP Outcomes Dashboard 

Current information on SWP from the CCCCO

Education Code 88820 

SWP Statewide Memos

This ongoing funding is structured as a 60 percent Local Share allocation for each community college district and a 40 percent Regional Share determined by a regional consortia of colleges to focus on the state’s seven macro-economic regions.  


Reporting guidance and resources


Removing Barriers & increasing student participation in WBL

In February 2024, the SDCCD received written permission by the regional monitor and CCCCO Dean over SWP for permission to utilize local SWP funds to address out-of-pocket expenses that have been identified as barriers preventing student participation in WBL activities - including internships. 

What kind of out-of-pocket expenditures are allowable?

  • Expenses that have been identified as preventing students from participating in WBL includes (but not limited to) things like: transportation costs, childcare, etc. 
    • Many WBL activities occur outside of the classroom/outside regular course hours, at multiple off campus locations, etc., requiring additional time away from family and work, increased transportation, etc.

Mechanism for covering out-of-pocket expenditures

  • Approval granted to utilize 7000s (recommended to use: 7609)


  • Out-of-pocket expenses related to childcare, transportation, and other direct expenses have been shown to prevent participation in work-based learning activities for our most marginalized populations. 
  • By investing SWP funds to off-set these expenses for students we anticipate an increase in participation in WBL activities by our most marginalized populations. 
  • Tracking this increase will be tied to our regular districtwide WBL/SG21 coding and annual reporting which includes demographic disaggregation as well as local project/impact tracking.
  • In the long-term:
    • Outside research supports the additional expectation that removing these out-of-pocket expense barriers for students increases retention and that increased participation in WBL will result in increased employment outcomes. 
    • These two metrics – retention and employment – are harder to track directly back to the investment (on an annual basis), but these key metrics will continue to the reviewed by out district and the college(s) making these investments. In the future, we hope to invest in research capacity to evaluate the local connection of WBL with employment outcomes of our students – but this will take time to create
  • Students who’s out-of-pocket expenses for transportation, childcare, etc. are reduced by this SWP investment may be asked to complete a brief survey or provide testimonial as to how this investment has supported their career goals and educational pursuits

Relevant Reference:

  • Provide, in partnership with employers, work-based learning opportunities for students that increase their employability and earning potential (88821 (f) (7)
  • Enhance career exploration and planning, work-based learning opportunities, and other supports for students (SW task force recommendation #1)
  • Ensure that community college district Strong Workforce Program expenditures are focused on improving student success with workforce outcomes for all students enrolled in community college career technical education courses, programs, and pathways (88821 (f) (9)
    • Student success with workforce outcomes tied to ability to participate in WBL and career exploration activities (supported by evidence-based practices and external research/reporting)
  • Responsive to the needs of employers, workers, civic leaders, and students (88821 (e) (1)
    • External and internal research identifies barriers to participation in WBL and career exploration as emergent and/or long-time existing needs


Regional Share Allocations & Initiatives

The San Diego and Imperial County Community College Region (Region 10) coordinates regional SWP funds through the Regional Consortium. Regional SWP funds have been leveraged to develop a regional infrastructure to support and advance local SWP efforts. This regional infrastructure is designed around the Student’s Road to Career Success and includes workgroups across six areas. Each college within the region has representation on these workgroups. 

Regional Strong Workforce Program 4-year Plan 2024-2027

A Community College Student's Road to Success

Regional SWP funding is made available directly to the colleges through a variety of RFAs. Each college independently applies and manages these regional SWP grant funds and contracts. 

Learn more about the san diego regional SWP:

Regional SWP Grants 

The Regional Consortium provides opportunties for San Diego & Imperial Counties Community Colleges to apply for Regional SWP Grants annually tied to specific regional SWP initiatives.

  • Regional SWP Grants are managed locally. 
  • All grants must be submitted to the board.
  • Unique fund numbers for each contract are provided by District Business Services.
    • As of Spring 2024, District Business Services has agreed to create fund numbers and inial budgets in advance of board approval - to increase access to funds after board approval
    • Educational Services Career Education & Workforce Development (CEWD) Department serves as the liaison between college-grant leads and district business services for 1) confirmation of which RFAs are being received and 2) access to approved RFA budget 
  • Budget management (changes to budgets) is completed at the local level.
  • Invoices and back up financial documentation required for reporting - must be sent to Grossmont Cuyamaca Foundation and must align with required NOVA reporting
    • As of Fall, 2024, District Business Services provides lead support to Regional SWP grant leads at each college
    • District Business Services will provide detailed ledger and invoices no less than two weeks prior to the regional reporting deadline
    • College SWP Regional Grant leads are responsible for entering fiscal and narrative reports into NOVA and sending the detailed ledger and invoice to the funder. 
    • Full process overview and reports due are included in shared teams folder. Direct link to document is available here


Local Share Allocation

Local share allocation to districts includes base and incentive funding. At the San Diego Community College District, SWP base funds are received and then re-distributed by agreed upon allocation percentages. Allocation percentages are confirmed annually and determined through the District Chancellor's Cabinet. Incentive funding is not revised or re-allocated. Each college receives the incentive funding earned. Incentive funds are distributed directly to each SDCCD institution with no changes to funding.

The SDCCD Strong Workforce Program (SWP) grant activities are managed locally within each college. SWP topics are included on the monthly Career Education Deans meeting agendas.

  • Per new State requirements, district approval for project plans and fiscal reporting is required (Round 5 moving forward)

Local SWP Grant Leads:

  • City College:
    • Jesse Lopez, Dean, School of Business, Information Technology and Cosmetology
    • Sasha Knox, Associate Dean of Strong Workforce
  • Mesa College:
    • Monica Romero, Dean, Business and Technology
    • Alex Berry, Associate Dean of CTE
  • Miramar College:
    • Claudia Estrada-Howell, Dean, School of Business, Technical Careers & Workforce Initiatives
    • Mona Patel, Acting Associate Dean of Strong Workforce
  • College of Continuing Education:
    • Andrei Lucas, Dean, Trades
    • Armin Rashvand, Associate Dean, Perkins & Strong Workforce
  • District Support & Coordination:
    • Amertah Perman, Dean, Career Education & Workforce Development, Educational Services Division


Local SWP Reports, Presentations, and Summaries to Board of Trustees and Chancellor’s Cabinet

Round 1 (July 2016 – December 2018)

Round 2 (July 2017 – December 2019)

Round 3 (July 2018 – December 2020)

Round 4 (July 2019 – December 2021)

Round 5 (July 2020 – June 2022)

  • Project Plan Summary 

Round 6 (July 2021 – June 2023)

  • Project Plan Summary - available soon end of spring 2024


Career Eduation Data, Reports, and Resources