Occupational grant reform bill moves out of committee

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, May 1, 2014

CMTA is supporting SB 1028 (Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara),a bill that makes much-needed reforms to the process of identifying and prioritizing occupational and technical training areas under the Cal Grant C program.

The current process for determining priority areas of vocational training under the Cal Grant C program falls short of adequately reflecting the needs within California’s growing and emerging industries. SB 1028 appropriately requires the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) to consult with the agencies that comprise the state’s workforce development system, as well as industry professionals and local educators, to make this determination.

By doing so, it ensures that those skills that are in high-demand and integral to maintaining and growing California’s key industries, like Advanced Manufacturing, will be elevated. And, it allows CSAC to benefit from the work that has already been done by these workforce development agencies to compile labor market data and develop strategies to address the state’s skills gap challenges.

SB 1028 makes further improvements to the Cal Grant C program by raising the award amount when sufficient state funds are available, expanding its use to cover living expenses and giving greater weight in the award process to applicants who face economic hardships, including the long-term unemployed.

Together, these enhancements will increase the intended utilization of the award and result in a more robust workforce pipeline.

SB 1028 passed out of the Senate Education Committee and is headed for hearing in the Appropriations Committee.

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