As California’s economy has grown in recent years, so too has the number of minimum-wage jobs. But too often those fail to pay enough to sustain a family or offer meaningful advancement for workers without specific skills or education.
Career Readiness and Living-Wage Work is grantmaking we are exploring in order to find innovative solutions to:
Improve opportunities for job and entrepreneurship training that lead to quality jobs
Identify more ways to provide credentials that lead to a family-sustaining career
Create higher-quality jobs that help employers grow their business, including by increasing small business capital for entrepreneurs
Identify successful models of matching employers with lower- or middle-skilled workers
Starting in 2016, we have announced $14.67 million in initial grants under Career Readiness and Living-Wage Work to expand effective efforts in the field and, importantly, to inform Irvine’s future grantmaking.
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 $2 million grant to expand Career Pathways to Success in the Bay Area.
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.
The Irvine Foundation is supporting ICA Fund Good Jobs’ expanding work with entrepreneurs dedicated to spurring economic growth in low-income communities and creating access to good jobs that pay a living wage, provide benefits, and support employee advancement.
Today, many of the economy’s fastest-growing sectors offer low-quality, low-paying jobs, often without good benefits or opportunities for advancement. This trend is driving disparities for wealth and opportunity on our state.
Fortunately, many of California jobs are with small businesses, meaning the entrepreneurs who start them have control over the quality of jobs and who fills them. That’s why ICA Fund for Good Jobs provides under-resourced entrepreneurs with education, advice, and, importantly, access to capital — so that their enterprises offer high-quality jobs and more economic inclusion in their communities.
Since 1996, ICA Fund for Good Jobs has worked with entrepreneurs and small businesses to create thousands of good jobs (including early companies like Revolution Foods and Blue Bottle Coffee and more recent investments such as Back to the Roots, Red Bay Coffee, and Firebrand Artisan Breads). They are creating companies that can transform individuals who are just looking for a chance as well as neighborhoods seeking the opportunity to show their economic potential.
ICA Fund for Good Jobs’ approach includes:
Educating entrepreneurs on business fundamentals and supporting them to stabilize and grow their businesses.
The Good Jobs Accelerator, an intensive partnership with companies to build a strong foundation for sustainable growth and good job creation.
Investing capital in companies, who then follow a personalized work plan to achieve revenue growth and job creation targets, among other benchmarks.
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. Path to Employment: Maximizing the Impact of Alternative Pathways Programs is the first in a two-part report that describes the wide variety of programs in the U.S. and constructs the ecosystem in which they operate. Part two offers a deep dive into pathway programs.Download Part I: Establishing Effective Program Pillars | Download Part II: Program Profiles