Jewish Vocational Service Supports Gov. Brown’s Signing of Jobs Bill

On Thursday, Oct. 7, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 734, prioritizing vocational training programs over direct employment services, which includes how to make a resume and job interviewing skills.

Jewish Vocational Service Los Angeles, an organization that focuses on helping people seeking jobs, has come out in support of Brown’s decision and the legislation,

“It’s good public policy to get training programs on the street,” said Adine Forman, government affairs and special projects director at JVSLA.

The bill, which will go into effect in 2012, doesn’t affect JSVLA – the group simply has been speaking out in support of the bill. Rather, the legislation dictates how local workforce investment boards (WIBs) use their federal funding, requiring them to devote at least 30-percent to job training programs by 2016. Currently, WIBs spend an average of 20-percent of federal dollars on job training.

According to Marc Lifsher of the Los Angeles Times, opposition included California State Association of Counties, Los Angeles County, the Urban Counties Caucus and the Regional Council of Rural Counties – on the basis that acquiring skills such as “resume writing, counseling, Internet searching” offer a chance for immediate employment, whereas vocational training takes months.

“It makes more sense to figure out based on local demand what makes sense,” said Jennifer Mitchell, policy director of the California Workforce Assocation, which represents the local workforce investment boards. “Training is great—let’s have more money for training absolutely—but I think is the wrong approach. This should have gone through more vetting.”

Forman of JVSLA agreed that providing direct employment services is important – JSVLA, in fact, offers such services via partnerships with local organizations and institutions – but she said that given the current economic climate, providing the unemployed with training – such as solar panel installation and how to use Microsoft Excel – would be more beneficial. For instance, Los Angeles is getting a football stadium, and the currently unemployed, if trained correctly, could be put to work on the stadium, she said.

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) authored the bill.

In Sept., JVSLA sent a letter to Governor Brown, asking him to support it. The letter read, “Laid off workers need training to be competitive for the jobs of the future – in health care, in the green economy, in manufacturing and in all sectors.”