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4 dead as severe storms hit Houston, TX; Election Protection Program eases access to voting information; surge in solar installations eases energy costs for Missourians; IN makes a splash for Safe Boating Week.

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The Supreme Court rules funding for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is okay, election deniers hold key voting oversight positions in swing states, and North Carolina lawmakers vote to ban people from wearing masks in public.

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Americans are buying up rubber ducks ahead of Memorial Day, Nebraskans who want residential solar have a new lifeline, seven community colleges are working to provide students with a better experience, and Mississippi's "Big Muddy" gets restoration help.

CA workforce advocates call job-training budget cuts 'ill-advised'

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Monday, April 8, 2024   

As California faces a $38 billion budget deficit, state lawmakers have identified $17 billion in potential cuts before the Legislature begins crunching the numbers later this week.

Initial plans include shifting some funds away from job training programs but the idea is getting some pushback. Advocates of the programs said at a time when skilled worker shortages plague essential sectors, investments in job training are needed.

Lisa Countryman-Quiroz, CEO of San Francisco-based Jewish Vocational Service, a nonprofit job training agency helping to match jobseekers with employers, said current economic conditions call for investment in programs like theirs.

"This is absolutely critical given the cost of living, given rising economic inequality in the state of California, the people who really want to be able to provide for their families, people who want to be able to advance in their careers," Countryman-Quiroz outlined. "We are helping people get there."

Democrats, who hold a supermajority, agreed last week to reduce the state's projected shortfall through spending cuts, delays, deferrals and cost-shifting. The budget debate could start as soon as Thursday.

Countryman-Quiroz said while job training can have high costs, workforce investments often pay for themselves by closing opportunity gaps in employment and creating economic revenue. She cited one program, known as the High Road Training Partnership.

"We see a really positive return on investment," Countryman-Quiroz pointed out. "Every dollar that JVS specifically has received in HRTP funds has resulted in $2 in wages for the jobseekers that we work with."

Jordan Hernandez, a graduate of the High Road Training Partnership, said he has successfully accessed both education and job opportunities.

"This program has given me a lot of confidence, especially with school things," Hernandez noted. "I never thought I'd be in school, so once I got into this program, I was very nervous, but they were very welcoming. They treated me with respect, and they understood where I was coming from."


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