OAKLAND, Calif. — May 2, 2022 — Jobs for the Future (JFF), a national nonprofit driving transformation in the American workforce and education systems, in partnership with Governor Gavin Newsom and California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) today announced the launch of the High Road Training Fund (HRTF), a new public-private partnership that will provide funding to help workers from underresourced and underserved communities to upskill and reskill for jobs in high-growth, climate-resilient industries.

The High Road Training Partnerships (HRTP) and High Road Construction Careers (HRCC) are administered by the California Workforce Development Board. They provide training to help workers complete the transition to growing — and sustainable — occupations and industries. These programs stand at the intersection of climate change, job quality and equity, and start with the premise that worker wisdom and employer partnerships are key to quality job creation. They focus on empowering workers from underserved communities to prepare for roles in other sectors of the economy, such as construction, forestry and agriculture, hospitality, public transit and utilities, healthcare, trade and logistics.

“At a time of broad-based income inequality and growing climate threats, climate resilience and economic inclusion are two sides of the same coin,” said Ana Bertha Gutierrez, senior director at JFF. “This work is about driving investment in inclusive models of workforce development that prioritize equity, economic growth and inclusive regional economies alongside climate resilience and environmental protection.”

“We’re building a workforce of the future, providing new pathways to success for Californians while bolstering the state’s clean energy economy — especially in those communities that lack access to such resources. This is how we build a California for All while addressing the state’s most pressing challenges, including climate change. We are grateful to the private partners who have stepped up to help make this vision a reality,” added Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The state of California has already invested over $100 million in public funding to expand HRTPs and HRCCs and has committed to invest an additional $160 million. Over the next three years, the High Road Training Fund will invest more than $18 million to support the needs of HRTP/HRCC grantees.

With seed funding and aligned support from the James B. Irvine Foundation and Lumina Foundation, JFF is working with CWDB to launch the new fund in late summer 2022 — with a focus on supporting grantees to supplement areas historically not covered through public funding streams. The fund will provide resources to cover the barriers often faced by workers living in poverty, ranging from support to cover basic needs like housing and food insecurity to capacity-building funding for local programs and community-based organization partners.

JFF’s Inclusive Regional Economic Development team will serve as the fund manager and work collaboratively with state partners to share research and insights about how the fund is working to scale opportunities for greater inclusion in the workforce as the state economy moves toward a just climate transition.

As the threat of global climate change continues to accelerate, the state of California is working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2030. In 2018, the California Workforce Development Board announced an ambitious “high road” economic framework focused on advancing climate resilience and sustainability while strengthening equity and economic opportunity in underserved communities.

“Climate risk reduction and inclusive economic growth are not mutually exclusive,” said Aida Cardenas, deputy director of climate, equity, and jobs at the California Workforce Development Board. “Our goal is to drive toward a vision of shared prosperity by crafting policy solutions that reinforce — and harmonize — job quality, equity, and environmental protection. This fund will help workers from underserved communities throughout California prepare for better-paying — and more resilient — jobs of tomorrow.

About California Workforce Development Board

The overarching goal of California’s Workforce Development Board is the reorientation and realignment of California’s workforce programs and institutions to support a dynamic and globally successful state economy that offers all residents — including the most vulnerable — an opportunity for a higher quality of life. More information is available here.

About Jobs for the Future

Jobs for the Future (JFF) drives transformation of the American workforce and education systems to achieve equitable economic advancement for all.

About The James Irvine Foundation

The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California. The Foundation’s current focus is California where all low-income workers have the power to advance economically. Since 1937 the Foundation has provided more than $1.87 billion in grants to organizations throughout California. With about $2.3 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $95.9 million in 2018.