As California’s economy has grown in recent years, so too has the number of middle-skill jobs – positions that offer higher wages for high school graduates who have had additional training. Approximately 1.4 million middle-skill jobs are unfilled in California, and yet these jobs are just out of reach for many low-wage workers.
Every worker should have the access and opportunity to earn wages that can sustain a family and the chance to advance in their careers. This benefits Californians, their families, and our state, and a diversified workforce is good for workers and businesses alike.
Better Careers partners with grantees who understand the work beyond job training. Low-income workers and people of color disproportionately lack the critically important social networking connections that frequently lead to middle-wage jobs. One recent study estimates that 85 percent of staff or management jobs are found by networking through acquaintances, colleagues, and friends.
These closed networks restrict jobseeker access, resulting in a less diverse pool of applicants and, ultimately, employees. And they may reinforce hiring biases already at play. Better Careers grantees are addressing these issues head on, in partnership with individuals, organizations, and communities across the state.
Through our grantmaking and partnerships, the Better Careers initiative seeks to:
Since March 2018, we have announced $15 million in grants under our Better Careers initiative.
A two-year grant of $750,000 to build a California Opportunity Marketplace that connects employers with job-placement organizations that include traditionally overlooked candidates in who they serve. The marketplace’s aim is to place more Californians without bachelor’s degrees into quality, middle-wage jobs.
In 2016 and 2017, we announced $17.3 million in grants to expand efforts in the field, and importantly, to inform Irvine’s Better Careers initiative.
A two-year grant of $700,000 to create a replicable, scalable training model that results in new and expanded pathways for Opportunity Youth in creative technology careers. This includes preparing graduates for employment opportunities that can sustain a family while improving collaboration on a systems level.
A two-year grant of $1 million to implement the Rubicon Empowerment model in Contra Costa County. Rubicon’s model equips participants to climb their socioeconomic ladders through guided participation and achievement in four domains: Income, Assets, Wellness, and positive Social Connections.
A two-year grant of $1 million to expand capacity in the San Francisco Bay Area to create accessible good jobs through education, acceleration, and investment in high-growth small businesses; and a 20-month grant of $400,000 to establish ICA Fund Good Jobs loan loss reserve.
A two-year grant of $3.3 million to expand operations in Los Angeles and the Bay Area. Opportunity youth are placed on a viable path to economic self-sufficiency through their high-support, high-expectation model that combines marketable job skills, stipends, internships, and college credits.
A two-year grant of $1 million to expand Fresno Community Development Financial Institution's support for low- to moderate- income entrepreneurs working to achieve self-sufficiency.
A $150,000 grant to support the Los Angeles Creative Industry Programming Study to inform workforce development entities and programs operating on the ground to prepare and place high-risk young people (ages 14-24) in middle-wage, middle-skill jobs in the creative economy/entertainment sector.
There's a growing number of innovative programs linking and aligning employer’s specialized needs with workers' desire for the skills to secure a good job. These alternative pathways programs align training with in-demand skills and competencies to connect workers to open positions.Download Part I: Establishing Effective Program Pillars | Download Part II: Program Profiles