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Goal & Issue Summary

Goals

Foster greater business involvement to improve both teacher and student performance and administrative accountability in schools throughout California.

Issue Summary

Skilled Workforce is Key to Growth

Position: Besides the weather, California’s greatest competitive advantage is our skilled workforce. But unlike the weather, inattention to nurturing this workforce will squander that advantage. For the sake of economic growth, social cohesion, and personal fulfillment, California’s leaders must address the skills gap and the people gap as top public policy priorities. Skilled Workforce is Key to Growth

Major Victories

Supported job creating legislation in 2018 that extended and improved the Career Technical Incentive Grant program (AB 1808, AB 1743); and funded a grant program allowing selected schools to create public-private partnerships to prepare students for high-skilled, high-demand jobs in technology, manufacturing, health care and finance (AB 1809, SB 1243).

Supported a bill signed into law in 2017 that will help California reduce the skills gap by authorizing a competitive grant program to help individuals who face multiple barriers to employment (AB 1111).

Supported signing of bills in 2016 increasing access to computer science (AB 2329); and improving relevance of Career Technical Education courses (SB 66).

Stopped bills in 2016 that would have jeopardized state workforce goals (SB 959, AB 2183).

Supported voter-approved $9 billion general obligation bond in 2016 to fund new construction and modernizing of K-12 public schools, charter schools, vocational education and California community college facilities (Proposition 51).

Supported voter-approved measure in 2016 that will make it easier for schools to offer bilingual programs (Proposition 58).

Supported legislation in 2016 for innovators, entrepreneurs by funding expanded capacity for the University of California innovation and entrepreneurship centers (AB 2664).

Supported adoption of legislation in 2015 allowing high school students to take college-level coursework to avoid the need for remediation and expand access to college-level career technical education courses (AB 288)

Filed a friend-of-the-court brief in 2015 in support of a landmark trial court decision striking down laws related to teacher tenure and dismissal that disadvantage low-income students and contribute to the state’s shortfall of highly skilled workers (Vergara v. California).

Supported creation of pilot program in 2014 allowing certain community colleges to offer a bachelor’s degree in a subject related to an unmet workforce need (SB 850).

Backed legislation in 2014 promoting computer science education (AB 1764, SB 1200, AB 1539).

Backed proposal signed into law in 2013 improving the associate degree for transfer pathway for students (SB 440).

Helped improve alignment in 2012 in the state’s workforce needs and education resources (SB 1402).

Supported bills signed into law in 2012 that provide support services to students on the front end of their educational experience, as well as strengthen and focus California career technical education programs (SB 1456, SB 1070).

Supported High-Quality Curriculum and Instruction. Backed 2011 legislation that will increase high school graduation rates, improve the college and workplace readiness of those graduates and train teachers to better prepare California’s students to compete in a global economy by emphasizing education programs that provide students with real-world experience and rigorous coursework to help them engage and excel (SB 611, SB 612).

Promoted Student Preparation for Workplace. Advocated passage of legislation in 2010 that will help increase the number of students who go on to obtain a four-year degree by requiring California Community Colleges to offer an associate’s degree for transfer (SB 1440); and bills putting California in the best position to meet requirements for federal grants for education (SBX5 4, SBX5 1).

Supported Rigorous Education Standards. Joined former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and other business organizations in arguing in favor of the Algebra I test requirement for eighth graders, the highest mathematics education standard in the nation. Adoption of the standard by the state education board in 2008 will maintain the state’s competitiveness and appeal to world-class businesses with high-wage jobs.

Protected hard-won measures to ensure schools are held accountable for student achievement in a court case upholding the high school exit exam and by securing the veto of legislation that would have undermined the effectiveness of the exam by lowering state student proficiency standards (AB 2975).

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Staff Contact

Karen SarkissianKaren Sarkissian
Policy Advocate,
Health Care, Education