The Bay Area Workforce Funding Collaborative (BAWFC) is a nationally recognized initiative, led by local and national foundations, to address the skills gap that leaves too many job-seekers and workers in poverty while employers are unable to meet needs for a skilled workforce. Launched in 2004, the BAWFC seeks to enhance economic competitiveness and reduce poverty by strengthening the ability of the workforce development system to meet the needs of employers and low-skilled adults.
A partnership of 13 philanthropic foundations which leverages public and private investments to strengthen and expand the Bay Area’s workforce training system, the BAWFC has made over $10 million in grants to programs that prepare low-income adults and displaced workers for jobs in high-demand industry sectors that offer family-sustaining wages and career advancement opportunities. The BAWFC also supports a complementary set of policy and advocacy efforts aimed at developing sustainable funding streams for workforce training programs and strengthening the regional workforce system.
Since 2008, the BAWFC has focused its investments on building the workforce training capacity of community colleges. The California Community Colleges System, which enrolls 2.9 million students annually, is the largest workforce training provider in the state. As open access institutions community colleges are the portal through which economically and educationally disadvantaged individuals seek education and vocational training.
In the wake of the current economic recession, community colleges are increasingly attracting large numbers of displaced workers who are enrolling in training programs in the hopes that it will speed their re-entry into the workforce. Recognizing their role as linchpins in the workforce system, the BAWFC is making strategic investments in community colleges to position them to become workforce intermediaries.
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