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:
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.
An 18-month grant of $1 million for the California Bridge Academy program to support workforce development in Fresno through a one-on-one workforce navigation model that enables participants with some college credits but no degrees or certificates to access and succeed in living-wage careers.