Breaking Barriers

Breaking Barriers Logo

The Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative is intended to supplement existing workforce and education programs by providing services to ensure the success of individuals either preparing to enter or already enrolled in workforce and education programs. The individuals with barriers to employment completing these programs should have the skills and competencies necessary to successfully enter the labor market, retain employment, and earn wages that lead to self-sufficiency, and eventually, economic security. These services must be delivered through a collaborative partnership between mission-driven, community-based organizations with experience in providing services to the target population and local workforce development boards.


In October 2017, the California Legislature approved Assembly Bill (AB) 1111, Removing Barriers to Employment Act (Chapter 824, Statutes 2017), which established the Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative. The purpose of the initiative is to create a grant program that provides individuals with barriers to employment the services they need to enter, participate in, and complete boarder workforce preparation, training, and education programs aligned with regional labor market need.

In July 2018, the California Legislature approved Senate Bill (SB) 856 (Budget and Fiscal Review, Chapter 30, Statutes 2018), which appropriated $15,000,000 in state general funds to implement the Removing Barriers to Employment Act.

In 2021, the California Legislature approved Assembly Bill (AB) 628, Removing Barriers to Employment Act, and with  Senate Bill (SB) 129, appropriated $25,000,000 to expand the Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative (Breaking Barriers) to be administered by the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FoundationCCC) on behalf of the CWDB.

AB 1111 Interim Report
AB 1111 Evaluation Report
Breaking Barriers Evaluation

Up to $500,000 will be awarded to an organization that will work in partnership with the CWDB Research and Evaluation (R&E) Team to evaluate the progress and impact of the Breaking Barriers Initiative. The evaluation is expected to include the use of both qualitative and quantitative methods. The evaluation will focus on the Initiative’s abilities to meet its primary objectives.  The evaluation will also identify best and promising practices to communicate to the CWDB and to workforce service providers throughout the state.

Organizations interested in applying should follow instructions set forth in the Breaking Barriers Evaluation RFA and the Breaking Barriers Evaluation Application Attachments.

Target Populations

Target Populations

  • Youth who are disconnected from the education system or employment
  • Women seeking training or education to move into nontraditional fields of employment
  • Unskilled or under-skilled, low-wage workers
  • Persons for whom English is not their primary language
  • Economically disadvantaged persons
  • CalWORKs participants
  • Persons who are incarcerated and soon to be released or formerly incarcerated
  • Armed services veterans
  • Native Americans
  • Migrants or seasonal farmworkers
  • Persons with developmental or other disabilities
  • Immigrants
  • Persons over 50 years of age who need retraining for in-demand skills
  • Any other population with barriers to employment identified in subdivision (j) of section 14005 of the Unemployment Insurance Code

Some outdated or obsolete documents have been removed from this website for business reasons. To view a list of these documents, view the Removed Documents webpage