Richmond gets grant to equip English language learners with job skills

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By Kathy Chouteau

The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has awarded the Richmond Workforce Development Board a $274,300 grant to implement programs that develop critical job skills that English language learners need to enter careers in expanding local industries. The board is one of seven organizations throughout the state that were selected for the competitive grant’s $1.8 million in overall funding, $200,000 of which was allocated for technical assistance.

According to the EDD, the grantees will use an Integrated Training and Education service model, which provides wide-ranging career services to prepare English language learners for high quality jobs with sustainable wages.

“The training and services offered through this funding will help prepare individuals with limited English skills for careers in growing local industries,” said EDD Director Rita Saenz.

The grant funding will be used by the awardees to provide training services including English classes, job skills development and career guidance for those facing employment and economic barriers due to their limited English language and work skills, per the EDD. Career counseling, technical skills training, apprenticeships, on-the-job training and other work-based learning opportunities will also be part of the service spectrum.

Support services for English language learners, such as mental health, child care and financial literacy assistance programs—as well as post-placement follow up services to help workers retain employment—is also part of the equation. In addition, a technical assistance provider will offer support to the grantees and will eventually generate a report outlining program successes and opportunities for improvement.

The grant was funded via discretionary funds made available to Governor Gavin Newsom in accordance with the Federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and administered by the EDD and the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, according to the EDD.

“A huge congratulations and thank you to the city staff and community members who made this possible,” posted Richmond Mayor Tom Butt on Facebook about the grant.

For more info about the grant’s local impact, contact Charita Patterson of the Richmond Workforce Development Board at 510-307-8018 or [email protected].