By: Mario Conde
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) held a press conference to introduce AB 1111, Breaking Barriers to Employment. This legislation aims to assist California to better invest in our workforce training needs.
AB 1111 will establish a competitive grant program to provide workforce assistance for individuals facing the most hurdles to employment, such as; veterans, low- and un-skilled workers, out-of-school youth, formerly the incarcerated, single moms and others looking to escape poverty. The objective is to leverage community based organizations to create training, apprenticeship and employment opportunities.
“California needs a targeted approach to address unemployment and meet the workforce demands of our businesses and industries. To do this we must invest in programs that will specially assist our hardest to serve and vulnerable populations,” shared Assemblymember Garcia. “Here in Imperial County, we have the second highest unemployment in the state. AB 1111’s goal is to boost communities like this in order to build a more self-sufficient economy and provide a higher quality of life for residents.”
The California Workforce Association has agreed to sponsor this legislative proposal. Their Deputy Director, Nick Loret de Mola attended on behalf of the agency. Imperial County’s Board of Supervisors was represented by Chairman Michael Kelley. Imperial and Riverside County’s Workforce Development also spoke in strong support of the bill.
“As a local workforce area director and Chairman of the California Workforce Association Legislative Committee, I can attest that Assemblymember Garcia’s interest in enhancing California’s workforce development system through AB 1111 will solidify our partnership with community based organizations resulting in efficient and effective programs for our community,” stated Miguel Figueroa, Director of Imperial County’s Workforce Development.
“Significantly, this announcement coincides with the birthday of Cesar Chavez, civil rights and labor leader who founded the National Farm Worker Association, known now as the United Farm Workers. Today, our state celebrates his profound legacy and vision still at large. This measure seeks to elevate and empower underserved areas like farm working communities that often encounter language and cultural deterrents to success,” explained Assemblymember Garcia.
“This legislation will provide the resources for those challenged by the English language and especially to the farm workers who are continuously being displaced by automation in agriculture. We truly appreciate Assemblyman’s Garcia’s effort to fill policy gaps left out by the Federal employment and training funds,” enthusiastically expressed spokesman for La Cooperativa Campesina, a statewide migrant farm worker service and education organization that operates within both the Coachella and Imperial Valleys.