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April 28, 2014

San Diego hosted the California Workforce Association’s (CWA) annual conference April 22–24. The two-and-a-half-day conference gathered more than 300 workforce professionals with the mission of addressing the theme “Meeting the Challenge: Enhancing our Capacity to Impact Income Mobility.” 

City of San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer opened the conference, welcoming the attendees on behalf of the City and the San Diego Workforce Partnership. He discussed the importance of a well-prepared workforce and emphasized the City’s commitment to innovative programs that will put more San Diegans to work.

Tavis Smiley, known author and host of a late-night TV show on PBS, provided a high-energy keynote address. In his latest book, The Rich and The Rest of Us: A Poverty Manifesto, he challenges all Americans to re-examine their assumptions about poverty in America. Using this as a starting point, Smiley discussed income disparity in the United States and how the attendees are doing the “righteous work, the thankless work, that needs to be done.” He challenged the crowd to be committed to their work because “we are dependent on [the workforce development system] to save the democracy.”

More than 50 workshops were presented over the course of the conference. SDWP staff participated as speakers on multiple panels: Peter Callstrom, president and CEO, as a panelist for utilizing employer engagement and collaborative studies to provide unique industry data and funding opportunities; Kelley Fry, labor market/business analyst, as a panelist regarding regional collaborations for better actionable research; and Cindy Perry, manager of special projects, as a panelist for developing apprenticeship programs. Other topics included aligning resources and partners in California’s regions, an overview of requirements and policy changes related to veterans’ services, and enhanced services to increase job seekers’ success.

Conference presentations are available here.

CWA is a membership organization that represents Workforce Investment Boards that are responsible for developing local-based workforce strategies and solutions. CWA develops public policy strategies and builds local capacity to address critical workforce issues across California.

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