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Strong Workforce Program   

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(a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:

(1) California's economic competitiveness is fueled, in part, by the strength of its regional economies and its skilled workforce.

(2) Upward social and economic mobility helps keep the state's economy diversified and vibrant.

(3) The attainment of industry-valued "middle skill credentials" serves as a gateway for a large and diverse number of careers in the state's economy.

(4) California's local educational agencies, community college districts, interested public four-year universities, local workforce development boards, economic development and industry leaders, and local civic representatives should collaboratively work together to inform the offerings of courses, programs, pathways, and workforce development opportunities that enable students to access the current and future job market and further social and economic mobility.

(b) The Strong Workforce Program is hereby established as a K-14 state education, economic, and workforce development initiative for the purpose of expanding the availability of high-quality, industry-valued career technical education and workforce development courses, programs, pathways, credentials, certificates, and degrees.

(c) To facilitate program coordination and alignment with other workforce training, education, and employment services in the state, the Strong Workforce Program shall operate in a manner that complies with the California Strategic Workforce Development Plan, required pursuant to the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Public Law 113-128), and expand upon existing consortia infrastructure.

(d) To avoid duplication of effort, activities funded under the Strong Workforce Program shall be informed by, aligned with, and expand upon the activities of existing workforce and education regional partnerships, including those partnership activities that pertain to regional planning efforts established pursuant to the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Public Law 113-128), adult education block grant consortia, and other career technical education programs.

(e) All of the following guiding principles shall apply to each consortium participating in the Strong Workforce Program:

(1) Any community college district or local educational agency participating in the consortium shall ensure that its career technical education and workforce development courses, credentials, certificates, degrees, programs, and pathway offerings, as applicable, are responsive to the needs of employers, workers, civic leaders, and students.

(2) The consortium shall collaborate with other public institutions, including, but not limited to, adult education consortia, local workforce development boards, and interested California State University and University of California institutions.

(3) The consortium shall collaborate with civic representatives, representatives from the labor community, and economic development and industry sector leaders within the region.

(4) The consortium shall include collaborating entities and persons identified in this subdivision in planning meetings, provide them with adequate notice of the consortium's proposed decisions, and solicit, consider, and respond to comments from them regarding the consortium's proposed decisions.

(5) Collaborative efforts shall focus upon evidence-based decisionmaking and student success with workforce outcomes aligned with the performance accountability measures of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Public Law 113-128), and closing labor market and employment gaps. Each consortium shall strive to align programmatic offerings in the most effective and efficient manner to avoid duplication of effort and streamline access to services, and education and training opportunities.

(6) Community college districts, local educational agencies, and other entities participating in a consortium are encouraged to develop long-term partnerships with private sector employers and labor partners to provide coordinated courses, programs, and pathways with employer involvement in the assessment, planning, and development of career technical education courses, programs, and pathways. To the extent practicable, employer partnerships should build upon regional partnerships formed pursuant to the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Public Law 113-128) and other state or federal programs.

(7) Community college districts, local educational agencies, and other entities participating in a consortium are encouraged to develop and work closely with public and private organizations that offer workforce development programs and pathways to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities to provide a comprehensive approach to address workforce readiness and employment.

(f) The chancellor's office shall, in consultation with the California Workforce Development Board, the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, and its partners formed pursuant to the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (Public Law 113-128), as applicable, develop and implement policies and guidance necessary to implement the Community College component of the Strong Workforce Program, including policies and guidance necessary for consortia, including community college districts and their regional partners, to increase the number of aligned middle skill and career technical education courses, programs, pathways, credentials, certificates, and degrees. No later than June 30, 2017, the chancellor's office shall develop and implement policies and guidance pursuant to this subdivision and bring before the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges any policies, regulations, and guidance necessary to accomplish all of the following:

(1) Facilitate the development, implementation, and sharing of career technical education effective practices, curriculum models and courses, and community college credentials, certificates, degrees, and programs across regions and among community college districts.

(2) Enable community college districts to develop career technical education and workforce outcomes, and applicable associate degrees and certificates as appropriate.

(3) Provide accessible performance and labor market data that can be used flexibly by participating community college districts and their regional partners to support the implementation of the Strong Workforce Program and related efforts to align regional workforce and education programming with regional labor market needs.

(4) Encourage local efficiency through coordinated and collaborative regional workforce efforts in which community college districts are partners.

(5) Support curriculum processes to ensure that students are able to efficiently transfer college-level career technical education credits across community college districts and to the California State University and the University of California.

(6) Improve sector-based engagement with employers within a region.

(7) Provide, in partnership with employers, work-based learning opportunities for students that increase their employability and earning potential.

(8) Enable community college districts to facilitate and optimize their resources to support the Strong Workforce Program and other related regional workforce development efforts.

(9) 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.

(10) (A) For the Community College component only, notwithstanding the June 30, 2017, implementation date specified in this subdivision, develop and implement a plan to streamline the course and curriculum approval process, both at the state and local levels. The plan shall reflect an expedited state approval process for career technical education courses, programs, and certificates, and may include the elimination of an existing state course and program approval process. The plan shall reflect one of the following two options:

(i) A process of course and curriculum approval that enables community college districts to develop a course or program within one academic year and to offer that course or program the subsequent academic year.

(ii) A process of course and curriculum approval that enables community college districts to develop a course or program within one academic semester and to offer that course or program the subsequent academic semester.

(B) The plan described in subparagraph (A) shall also reflect the creation of a process that enables career technical education courses and programs to be portable among community college districts. This process shall enable a community college district to adapt, adopt, or adapt and adopt another community college district's approved career technical education courses, programs, and curriculum within one academic semester and to offer that course or program, or utilize that curriculum, the subsequent academic semester.

(C) The chancellor's office shall consult with the Legislature and the Governor prior to implementing the plan. The plan shall be developed no later than July 1, 2017, and implemented no later than January 1, 2018.

(11) Eliminate barriers to hiring qualified instructors for career technical education courses, including reevaluating the required minimum qualifications for career technical education instructors.

(g) After June 30, 2017, and only as necessary, the chancellor's office may develop and implement revised polices and guidance for the Community College component only, and bring regulations before the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges as necessary for a community college district and its regional partners to accomplish both of the following:

(1) Implement and expand the amount of aligned middle skill and career technical education credentials, certificates, degrees, courses, programs, and pathways in accordance with paragraphs (1) to (11), inclusive, of subdivision (f).

(2) Implement the recommendations of the Strong Workforce Task Force.

(h) (1) For purposes of this section, the chancellor's office shall consider input provided by relevant stakeholders, including the Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges, the Workforce Pathways Joint Advisory Committee, and the California Workforce Development Board, before implementing revised guidance, policies, or regulatory changes for the Community College component.

(2) For purposes of the Community College component and in compliance with the consultation requirements in Sections 70901 and 70902, the Academic Senate of the California Community Colleges shall establish a career technical education subcommittee to provide recommendations on career technical education issues. No less than 70 percent of the subcommittee shall consist of career technical education faculty. The subcommittee's charter shall require it to provide assistance to community college districts to ensure that career technical education and its instruction is responsive and aligned to current and emergent industry trends, and ensure that similar courses, programs, and degrees are portable among community college districts.

(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 32, Sec. 109.)