Job Training

California's Missed Opportunity to Help The Unemployed

By Claudia Viek

California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity

This legislative session, California missed an opportunity to create a Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) program that would have created 5,200 new businesses and 15,000 new jobs - from the ranks of the unemployed. Furthermore, the State missed the opportunity to receive $5.3 million in federal funds committed to run the program.

AB 152, Self-Employment Assistance program (Yamada) would have allowed the unemployed to keep their benefits while starting their own businesses. However, the bill didn’t make it out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee because the Employment Development Division (EDD) estimated that the cost of the program would exceed the $5.3 million available from the federal government.

Prop 30 Would Affirm "California Promise" to Education, Social Mobility

By Dan Aiello

Advocates of universal access to higher education fear California voters, faced with two competing education tax initiatives will fail both, effectively abandoning the state's historic commitment to provide access to higher education for all.

Proposition 30 will provide funding to California's K-12 schools, but additionally will fund the state's university, state college and community college systems to offset state budget cuts that have already endangered access to the educational opportunities once guaranteed all qualified students by the state under its Master Plan on Education.

Prop 30 will raise revenue through a temporary quarter cent sales tax increase and a temporary income tax increase on wealthier state residents.

A Jobs Training Program for California Where Everybody Wins

By John MacMurray

If we believed everything the media tells us about labor relations in California, most of us would have the picture of businesses, mostly small and family owned, struggling valiantly to survive against the predations of an over-large and over-reaching government, and of the rapacious labor unions, both intent on driving these businesses out of California, if not out of business entirely. However, like Sportin' Life tells us in Porgy and Bess, "It ain't necessarily so."

And this is due in large part to California having the wisdom, back in 1939, to set up an agency called the California Apprenticeship Council, which blends businesses, government agencies, and unions to work very well together for goals that benefit all of us.

Recent Audit Finds That More Can be Done to Help California’s Unemployed

By Anne McMonigle
California Labor Federation

Last week, the California State Auditor released a report finding that more effective state planning and oversight is necessary for implementing the federal Workforce Investment Act in California. The findings in the audit confirm what many of us working in the WIA system already knew to be true: a nonalignment of state agency practices and policies and a complacent attitude towards performance measures, has done a disservice to California employers and job seekers alike. Highlights of the recent audit include the following:

  • The California Workforce Investment Board (CWIB) has not always complied with federal and state laws.
  • Although required by state law since 2006, the CWIB failed to develop a strategic workforce plan for California.
  • Steps to identify unnecessary duplication among WIA programs and activities have not been taken.

Why Walmart Loves Welfare

By Bobbi Murray
The Frying Pan

You may have already heard that uber-retailer Walmart plans to open a 33,000 square-foot store in L.A.’s Chinatown.

Last week opponents of Walmart’s Chinatown store gathered at Sixth and Park View in MacArthur Park to listen to Walmart “associates”—the retailer’s preferred term for its employees—talk about their need for public assistance to make ends meet.

If you know L.A., you know MacArthur Park is nowhere near Chinatown. But it is across the street from a California Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) building—a place you’d go to apply for social services such as welfare and health care— for support you might need if you were employed at a poverty-wage job.

Support you might need if you work at Walmart.

The Top 10 Best and Worst of U.S. Politics in 2011

By Randy Shaw
Beyond Chron

For progressives, the first eight months of 2011 were the worst of times. Not since the Reagan tax cuts and slashing of domestic programs in 2001 have progressives been so left out of the national debate, and the 2011 exclusion occurred with Barack Obama as President. Obama got the year off to a terrible start with his agreement to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy for two years in exchange for one year of extending unemployment benefits. His failure to include raising the debt ceiling as part of the deal then allowed Republicans to use that as a bargaining chip for slashing domestic programs even further in August. But Occupy Wall Street’s emergence in September raised progressive spirits, as has the unexpected rise of Newt Gingrich as the frontrunner for the GOP presidential nomination. Here’s my list of the top ten best and worst political events that occurred across the nation in 2011.

The 10 Best

Tax Millionaires, Create Jobs and Rebuild California

By Dean Murakami
California Federation of Teachers

These are tough economic times for the people of California, unemployment is at 12.5%, people’s wages are down, and people are losing their homes. Thousands of teachers and classified employees have been laid off and we are losing firefighters, police, and other critical public services.

So what has congress done to stimulate the economy and get people back to work?

They cut taxes on corporations and the rich, they gave away hundreds of billions of dollars in bailout money to the corporate banks, they are letting the big banks foreclose on family homes, and they failed to pass the American Jobs Act.

Are the politicians fighting for you? Can we depend on the politicians and corporations to fix the economy and get people back to work in California?

The 99% Seek a Just Economy, Not Just an Economy

By Leo Gerard
United Steelworkers

Republicans jammed together a mess of old, failed and vague schemes and called it a jobs bill. Sen. John McCain conceded the reason for the rehash: “Part of it is in response to the president saying we don’t have a proposal.”

They still don’t. This despite the fact that they promised voters during their campaign to take control of the U.S. House one year ago that they’d create jobs. That they’d focus on jobs. That nothing was more important to them than jobs.

New Pro-Worker Laws Will Put California on Path to Stronger Economy

By Steve Smith
California Labor Federation

At the close of the 2011 legislative session, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a number of bills relating to worker health and safety, good jobs and wage protection that put the state on a path to a stronger economy. No legislative session is perfect -- and this was no exception -- but it’s clear the state has come a long way under Brown’s leadership to tackling the pressing problems we face. Still, our economic problems demand even bolder solutions moving forward.

California Labor Federation leader Art Pulaski:

U.S. Lags Far Behind in Worker Protection

By David Macaray

If you were wondering where the United States ranks, relative to the rest of the world, in the general category of “worker protection,” there is now a precise answer available — one supplied by Professor Kenneth Thomas of the University of Missouri (St. Louis), who based his findings on statistics supplied by OECD members.

The OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) is a group of 34 comparatively “rich” industrialized nations that was founded in 1961 and whose stated purpose, more or less, is to meet semi-regularly to discuss ways of increasing economic progress through world trade. It might help to think of the OECD as an international version of the Chamber of Commerce. Its headquarters are in Paris, France.