U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Located in:
  • II. Strategic Elements

    The Unified or Combined State Plan must include a Strategic Planning Elements section that analyzes the State’s current economic environment and identifies the State’s overall vision for its workforce development system. The required elements in this section allow the State to develop data-driven goals for preparing an educated and skilled workforce and to identify successful strategies for aligning workforce development programs. Unless otherwise noted, all Strategic Planning Elements apply to Combined State Plan partner programs included in the plan as well as to core programs.

II. a. 1. B. Workforce Analysis (B.I - B.IV)

The Unified or Combined State Plan must include an analysis of the current workforce, including individuals with barriers to employment, as defined in section 3 of WIOA.* This population must include individuals with disabilities among other groups** in the State and across regions identified by the State. This includes: Individuals with barriers to employment include displaced homemakers; low-income individuals; Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians; individuals with disabilities, including youth who are individuals with disabilities; older individuals; ex-offenders; homeless individuals, or homeless children and youths; youth who are in or have aged out of the foster care system; individuals who are English language learners, individuals who have low levels of literacy, and individuals facing substantial cultural barriers; farmworkers (as defined at section 167(i) of WIOA and Training and Employment Guidance Letter No. 35-14); individuals within 2 years of exhausting lifetime eligibility under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program; single parents (including single pregnant women); and long-term unemployed individuals. ** Veterans, unemployed workers, and youth, and others that the State may identify.

  • i. Employment and Unemployment

    Provide an analysis of current employment and unemployment data, including labor force participation rates, and trends in the State.

  • ii. Labor Market Trends

    Provide an analysis of key labor market trends, including across existing industries and occupations.
  • iii. Education and Skill Levels of the Workforce

    Provide an analysis of the educational and skill levels of the workforce.

  • iv. Skill Gaps

    Describe apparent ‘skill gaps’.

Current Narrative:

High school graduate (includes equivalency)3,315,40620.9%349,00724.2%47,50726.2%510,06114.5%28,53331.2%679,32925.2%136,19119.6%Some college or associate’s degree4,966,70931.4%603,77441.8%63,14734.8%802,17022.8%34,43737.6%579,14521.5%251,27836.2%Bachelor’s degree or higher4,996,55131.6%316,21021.9%25,14513.9%1,721,43148.9%13,88615.2%226,1248.4%201,68829.0%Total15,829,036100.0%1,443,081100.0%181,433100.0%3,523,526100.0%91,582100.0%2,691,986100.0%694,366100.0%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009-2013 American Community Survey, 5-Year Estimates

Table 12

Educational Attainment, 25 Years and Over Hispanic or LatinoPercent of Hispanic or Latino, TotalWhite alone, not Hispanic or LatinoPercent of White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, Total
Less than high school diploma3,178,61841.2%683,0376.1%
High school graduate (includes equivalency)1,883,87724.4%2,195,35619.7%
Some college or associate’s degree1,821,64623.6%3,847,66634.5%
Bachelor’s degree or higher837,01210.8%4,441,03439.8%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009-2013 American Community Survey, 5-Year Estimates

Table 13: Nativity by Age for California

AgeBorn in state of residenceBorn in other state in the United StatesNative; born outside the United StatesForeign born
Under 5 Years2,371,89992,42220,93942,492
5 to 17 Years5,787,667379,39466,481480,924
18 to 24 Years2,857,255350,32247,701706,675
25 to 34 years2,769,455764,08965,2931,821,321
35 to 44 years1,979,606815,16377,8502,299,754
45 to 54 years2,008,8231,129,09779,6542,016,200
55 to 59 years818,936635,09532,388781,357
60 and 61 years282,099255,11910,204271,419
62 to 64 years365,994361,99413,613353,622
65 to 74 years666,381934,91723,086801,834
75 years and over466,861934,70518,840600,241

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009-2013 American Community Survey, 5-Year Estimates

Table 14: Nativity by Educational Attainment for California, 25 Years and Older

Educational AttainmentBorn in state of residenceBorn in other state in the United StatesNative; born outside the United StatesForeign born
Less than high school graduate849,296436,40941,2423,260,334
High school graduate (includes equivalency)2,218,7531,083,38857,7451,706,148
Some college or associate’s degree3,593,7291,912,882106,4811,687,568
Bachelor’s degree1,822,9741,411,73074,1001,444,642
Graduate of professional degree873,403985,77041,360847,056

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2009-2013 American Community Survey, 5-Year Estimates

Other Relevant Features of the Labor Market: Churn and the Need for Skills

The labor market today is characterized by much greater volatility and puts more competitive pressure on workers to upskill than in the past.[6]

  • Firms, and even whole industries, now come and go with greater frequency, changing the kinds of occupations and skills in demand in regional labor markets.
  • Globalization has placed many California workers in direct competition with workers in developing nations.
  • New technologies have eliminated some jobs but also have raised the skills needed to perform others, especially in occupations that rely on science, technology, engineering, and math.
  • Increasingly, workers need postsecondary education and training to keep-up as well as access middle-skill jobs in an ever-changing, technologically reliant economy.

Labor market churn is significant and puts low-skill workers at the most risk.

  • Every year, roughly 30-40 percent of U.S. workers are hired into a new job or leave their old job, and the state has very few institutions or programs designed to deal with this level of job transition experience.[7]
  • Job turnover typically affects workers at different strata, with low-skill and inexperienced workers, typically youth and adults that are basic skills deficient, less likely to sustain employment or access middle-skill occupational opportunities.
  • While moving from job to job has benefits, parallel movement from one low-skill job to another typically hurts workers.[8]

E. Table 15: California Middle Skill Supply/Demand Table, 2012-2022

California Middle Skill[9]
Supply/Demand Table

Occupational TitleAverage Annual Total Projected Job Openings[11]Supply
AA/AS Attainment
Certificate Attainment
HWOL Job Ads[12]
2014 First Quarter Wages[10]
Median Hourly Wage
2014 First Quarter Wages[10]
Median Annual Wage
Registered Nurses9,2305,08545858,060$45.87$95,415
Teacher Assistants4,47049378,743-- [13]$29,623
Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers[14]4,4100034,706$19.77$41,117
Nursing Assistants4,18003023,805$13.66$28,426
Medical Assistants3,4503551,1718,003$15.83$32,940
Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses3,0403067118,245$25.11$52,225
Computer User Support Specialists2,490446319,571$26.24$54,582
Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education1,820711757,815$15.26$31,727
Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists1,7501301,3884,967$11.07$23,045
Dental Assistants1,6401454297,207$17.71$36,850

F. Policy Implications of Labor Market Analysis

While California is enjoying resurgent economic growth, the recovery has been uneven with some regions of the state and some populations faring significantly better than others. Typically workers with higher levels of training and education fare better in the labor market while those areas of the state that are experiencing more rapid growth and lower levels of unemployment have occupations and industry sectors that require a characteristically more skilled workforce.

As California continues to increase economic growth, the workforce and education system will need to address the conditions of the new labor market by adapting to employer needs and by building and maintaining career pathways embedded in growing industry sectors.

Much of the job growth in the next decade will be in middle-skill occupations particularly in jobs where replacement needs are significant as a result of workforce retirements. These jobs require education beyond high school but not a four-year degree and provide opportunities for economic mobility. According to the National Skills Coalition’s analysis of California’s middle-skill job needs, the state is facing a substantial shortfall of middle-skill workers over the next ten years.

By focusing on these middle skills jobs the state can align its workforce and education programs to serve populations with barriers to employment as well as the business community. The chapters that follow outline the state’s plan to achieve these complimentary objectives by making strategic investments in career pathway programs that serve regional industry sector needs.

[1] However, July 2015 unemployment rates remained highest among workers who had not completed high school (10.5 percent) and lowest among workers who had obtained at least a Bachelor’s Degree (3.8 percent).

[2] The “employed” are persons 16 years and over in the civilian non-institutional population that worked at least one hour as a paid employee during a reference week, that includes the 12th day of the month. The “unemployed” are persons 16 years and older who had no employment, but were available for work and made efforts to find employment within the previous four weeks.

[3] www.ppic.org/main/publication_show.asp?i=258.

[4] http://www.ppic.org/main/publication_show.asp?i=258

[5] The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development defines a person with a disability as any person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; has a record of such impairment; or is regarded as having such an impairment. Examples of major life activities include: walking, talking, hearing, seeing, breathing, performing manual tasks, or caring for oneself.

[6] Benner, Chris. “Opening the Black Box: Space, Time and the Geography of the Labor Process.” September 2011.

[7] See Benner, September 2011.

[8] Stoker, R. & Wilson, L. (2006) When Work Is Not Enough: State and Federal Policies to Support Needy Workers. The Brookings Institute:
Washington D.C.

[9] The Bureau of Labor Statistics develops and assigns education and training categories to each occupation. For more information on these categories, please see http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_education_training_system.htm

[10] EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics; Median hourly and annual wages are the point at which half of workers earn more and half earn less. The wages are from the 2014 first quarter and do not include self-employed or unpaid family workers.

[11] For the 2012-2022 period, the total projected job openings reflect the sum of new and replacement jobs.

[12] The data from The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLineTM (HWOL) data series reflects occupations with the highest number of online job advertisements in 120 day period ending September 2, 2015.

[13] In occupations where workers do not work full-time all year-round, it is not possible to calculate an hourly wage.

[14] Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers represent an occupation where potential candidates are generally trained through private, independent truck driving schools. Training programs for this occupation may not be available at the California Community Colleges.