Governor’s 2020-21 Proposed Budget Prioritizes Workforce Development and Educating Adults

by Gail Yen

Policy and Research Analyst

By proposing significant investments in California’s higher education system and the workers of the state, Governor Newsom continues to strengthen the state’s economy and communities. The Governor’s 2020-21 Budget Proposal increases funding for the three public higher education segments—the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges—with the goal of improving degree completion rates and closing opportunity gaps, therefore improving students’ upward economic mobility. We are pleased that this budget proposal directly addresses two of California Competes’ key priorities: accelerating attainment for adults to fuel the economy and strengthening connections between higher education and workforce development. 

This year’s proposal recognizes higher education as the key pathway for students to develop the skills needed in order to drive the state’s economy. It highlights adult college students as a key group to support as they navigate both their careers and the education system. Specifically, the Governor’s proposed budget includes: 

>> $83.2 million to support work-based learning

  • $48.2 million to support projected growth in reimbursable apprenticeship instructional hours;
  • $15 million to strengthen the California Apprenticeship Initiative to support the creation of apprenticeship opportunities in priority and emerging industry sectors; 
  • $20 million to expand work-based learning models and programs at community colleges to provide better linkages between postsecondary education and careers;

>> $17 million to the Fresno Integrated K-16 Education Collaborative, as part of a larger $50 million investment in the Fresno Developing the Region’s Inclusive & Vibrant Economy (DRIVE)

>> $10 million for increased online degree program offerings at the UC and CSU

  • $6 million to support the development and expansion of degree and certificate completion through the Extended and Continuing Education programs in the CSU;  
  • $4 million for UC extension centers to increase accessibility for adult students;

>> Expanding post-secondary educational opportunities to inmates who have completed an associate’s degree

  • Specifically, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) is planning to partner with the CSU system to establish bachelor’s degree programs in several prisons;
  • Include $1.8 million in 2020-21, and $3.5 million ongoing funding for tuition, books, materials, training, and equipment for students participating in the program;

     (Read more on how a college education can benefit incarcerated Californians.)

>> An increase of $21.6 million in Cal Grant Access Awards for student parents

We are particularly excited that Governor Newsom recognizes the critical need to improve higher education’s alignment with workforce and to better support adults with some college and no degree.

Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez

“We are encouraged by Governor Newsom’s continued investments in higher education. We are particularly excited that he recognizes the critical need to improve higher education’s alignment with workforce and to better support adults with some college and no degree,” said California Competes Executive Director Dr. Su Jin Gatlin Jez. 

California needs over 1 million more college graduates to close the degree gap, grow the state’s economy, and meet workforce demands. As noted in our Back to College series, there are more than 12 million adults aged 25 to 64 statewide who lack a postsecondary credential and 4 million with some college and no degree who face numerous barriers that keep them from completing their degrees, including balancing school with home and work. Lifting those barriers can help this population develop more skills that will better translate into the workforce, as reflected in the Governor’s budget proposal.  

We see promise in this initial budget proposal and hope to continue working with the administration to ensure that higher education is a top priority for the state as it is the key to our future economic success as a state. 

Full summaries of the January budget proposal are available online.