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.
Breaking Barriers to Employment Grant Program
The Breaking Barriers to Employment Grant Program’s aim is to provide services to target populations who are often not eligible for other state and federal programs. The list of eligible activities are inclusive, from basic education and adult education, to on-the-job training, to supportive services as well as the list of target populations.
To support the awarded projects, technical assistance will provide team-building activities, facilitate knowledge sharing, identify course corrections, and assist with developing sustainability plans. A third-party evaluation will be procured to assist the department in developing a framework, creating surveys, developing questionnaires, conducting interviews, convening focus groups, and drafting mandated interim and final reports to the Legislature.
The FoundationCCC has organized and facilitated a series of stakeholder engagement meetings to inform key stakeholders of the Breaking Barriers to Employment’s requirements and funding opportunities, and to solicit engagement and feedback for the development of the Request for Applications and implementation of the grant program.
Breaking Barriers Solicitation
The FoundationCCC on behalf of the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) is pleased to announce the availability of approximately $23,000,000 in state general funds to expand the Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative.
The CWDB will release a solicitation for a third-party evaluator at a later date.
All applications for Breaking Barriers funding must be submitted electronically through the Cal E-Grants website. The application can be accessed via the Funding Opportunities tab at the top of the Cal E-Grants page linked above, and selecting this grant’s link under CWDB Grant Opportunities.
Community-Based Organizations and Local Workforce Investment Boards
Applicants must align with the mission of this initiative and at a minimum, must include a partnership of at least one CBO and one Local Board with experience in providing services consistent with the objectives of this initiative and to the populations specified. One CBO or Local Board must be designated as the applicant and single fiscal agent.
To adhere to the legality and transparency requirements of the solicitation process, individual CWDB or FoundationCCC staff cannot respond directly to inquiries or engage with potential applicants during the solicitation period. This includes any advice or feedback regarding an applicant’s approach or application content. Staff will respond to technical and clarifying questions such as allowable uses of funds, what is being requested in application fields, and Cal E-Grants support.
Questions regarding this RFA shall be sent via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please use “AB 628 RFA Q&A” in the subject line for all application/RFA related questions. The last date to submit questions is Thursday, August 25, 2022 by 1:00pm PT.
A pre-recorded application presentation offering an overview of the Breaking Barriers RFA can be found on YouTube via the link below. This presentation is intended to serve as a supplement to the RFA.
Submitting a Breaking Barriers Application
All applications for Breaking Barriers funding must be submitted electronically through the Cal E-Grants website. Only applications submitted through the Cal E-Grants application portal will be considered. Paper applications will not be accepted and will be automatically disqualified.
The application can be accessed through the Cal E-Grants website under the Funding Opportunities tab at the top of the Cal E-Grants page linked above, then selecting this grant’s link under CWDB Grant Opportunities.
Applicants will complete a full application package which includes the necessary documentation required to enter into a contract with FoundationCCC. The complete application will include a detailed work plan, deliverables, partner commitments, participant plan, and comprehensive budget exhibits.
See the Breaking Barriers RFA for detailed Application Submission Instructions. Additional application resources are also available at the bottom of this page.
Application and Award Timeline
|RFA Release Date||Monday, July 11, 2022|
|Application Presentation available||Tuesday, July 19, 2022|
|Live Office Hours |
(90 minute sessions x 4)
● Monday, August 1, 1:00pm-2:30pm PT
(Small community-based organizations Focus)
● Wednesday, August 3, 10am-11:30am PT
● Tuesday, August 9, 10am-11:30am PT
● Thursday, August 11, 1:00pm-2:30pm PT
|Weekly Q&A Postings||Through Friday, August 26, 2022|
|Applications Due |
(submitted via Cal E-Grants)
|Friday, September 2, 2022 by 5:00pm PT|
|Award Announcement||We have extended the funding decision timeline and are aiming to make an announcement in November. Please continue to monitor the website for an announcement.|
|Grant Term||January 1, 2023 – April 30, 2024|
Cal E-Grants Resources
- Cal E-Grants New User Registration
- Cal E-Grants Manage Users
- How to Complete the Breaking Barriers Application
Target Populations Side Panel:
- Youths who are at risk of disconnection or disconnected from the education system or employment.
- Women seeking training or education to move into nontraditional fields of employment.
- Displaced workers and long-term unemployed.
- 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.
- Any other population with barriers to employment identified in subdivision (j) of section 14005 of the Unemployment Insurance Code.
- Persons who reside in cities that are disproportionately impacted by violence or are enrolled in violence prevention or mitigation programs.
- Persons who are victims of domestic violence or community violence.
- Persons over 50 years of age who need retraining for in-demand skills.
- Population groups with disproportionate numbers of people living in ZIP Codes of concentrated poverty.
- Population groups that are disproportionately impacted by occupational segregation and who are underrepresented in jobs as defined by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing in their enforcement of the California Equal Pay Act.
- Populations that have been disproportionately impacted by unemployment, job interruption, and displacement during the pandemic.
- Persons diagnosed with autism.
Breaking Barriers to Employment Interim 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.
- 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
- 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