California Issue’s Unified Strategic Workforce Development Plan

The Plan was initiated to develop a more unified approach in meeting the needs of all individuals seeking employment and training assistance, including those with disabilities. California’s plan is titled “Strategic Workforce Development Plan: Skills Attainment for Upward Mobility; Aligned Services for Shared Prosperity.” The plan was developed by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency and the California Workforce Development Board (State Board) working collaboratively with other partners coming to the table including the California Health and Human Services Agency which includes the Department of Developmental Services. 

The Plan outlines a comprehensive four-year strategy for the investment of federal workforce training and employment services dollars in a manner that aligns, coordinates, and integrates service delivery for the six core programs funded under WIOA. These programs include Title I Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth programs, Title II Adult Basic Education and Basic Skills programs, Title III Wagner-Peyser Employment Services programs, and Title IV Vocational Rehabilitation services.  The plan also outlines the role of state agency and state department plan partners under this plan to provide policy direction, program oversight, support, and technical assistance for and to local and regional service providers covered by the plan.

As described in the plan, California developed its unified plan with three policy areas in mind: 


  • Fostering “demand-driven skills attainment”. Workforce and education programs need to align program content with the state’s industry sector needs so as to provide California’s employers and businesses with the skilled workforce it needs to compete in the global economy.
  •  Enabling upward mobility for all Californians, including populations with barriers to employment. Workforce and education programs need to be accessible for all Californians and ensure that everyone has access to a marketable set of skills and is able to access the level of education necessary to ensure economic self-sufficiency and security.
  • Aligning, coordinating, and integrating programs and services to economize limited resources while also providing the right services to clients, based on each client’s particular and potentially unique needs so as to facilitate skills-attainment.

The state is also requiring state plan partners to adopt or participate in seven policy strategies that frame, align, and guide program coordination at the state, local, and regional levels. These strategies include the following:

  • Sector strategies: aligning workforce and education programs with leading and emergent industry sectors’ skills needs.
  • Career pathways: enabling of progressive skills development through education and training programs, using multiple entry and exit points, so that each level of skills development corresponds with a labor market payoff for those being trained or educated.
  • Regional partnerships: building partnerships between industry leaders, workforce professionals, education and training providers, and economic development leaders to develop workforce and education policies that support regional economic growth.
  • “Earn and learn”—using training and education best practices that combine applied learning opportunities with material compensation while facilitating skills development in the context of actual labor market participation.
  • Supportive services: providing ancillary services like childcare, transportation, and counseling to facilitate program completion by those enrolled in training and education courses.
  • Creating cross-system data capacity: using diagnostic labor market data to assess where to invest, and also, the use performance data to assess the value of those investments.
  • Integrated service delivery: braiding resources and coordinating services at the local level to meet client needs.

Highlights of the goals of the plan include:

  • Between 2017 and 2027, the state will produce a million “middle-skill” industry-valued and recognized postsecondary credentials broadly defined here as sub-baccalaureate credentials with demonstrable labor market value, including industry-recognized certificates, or certifications, or certificates of completion of apprenticeship, or professional licenses, recognized by California or the federal government, as well as industry-valued associate degrees that facilitate movement into either the labor market or longer term educational programs aligned with the state’s workforce needs.
  • The state will also double the number of people enrolled in apprenticeship programs.

FMI View the entire plan here at