High Road Climate Agency Partnerships Initiative
The High RoadSM Climate Agency Partnerships (HRCAP) initiative was launched to ensure that California investments in climate change mitigation would result in high-quality jobs and greater access to good jobs for disadvantaged populations across California. As part of the work under HRCAP, the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) aims to develop formal partnerships with state agencies working towards climate change mitigation to advise and recommend on changes in the following areas that integrate workforce standards and measures into climate investment programs:
- Policy Guidance
- Program Guidelines
- Funding Solicitations
Additionally, the CWDB is participating in various interagency workgroups pertaining to climate resiliency and is utilizing these venues to communicate the High Road Framework and implementation strategies.
When developing climate investment programs and authorizing program budgets, California state agencies are in the unique position of leveraging their spending power to achieve important policy goals and outcomes. State agencies do this to further environmental justice by establishing minimum levels of program budgets that must directly benefit specified disadvantaged communities and requiring meaningful community engagement in project design and implementation. The same state agencies have been making progress in using their climate investments to advance economic equity as well.
What Does HRCAP Address?
The lack of strong labor and workforce standards in climate investment programs is a missed opportunity to use California’s spending power to achieve important economic equity goals and operationalize the Administration’s High Road vision, as defined in the Unemployment Insurance Code, section 14005(r), for the economy and workforce. It also creates an unfair advantage for low-road firms that compete based on lowest and externalized labor costs – costs that California must then subsidize through other means such as public assistance for healthcare. Additionally, the current approach to investing in climate change mitigation programs limits the number of high-quality jobs created or supported by State expenditures which in turn reduces the opportunity to train Californians for good jobs.
At the same time, state agencies with major responsibility for climate change mitigation have environmental equity goals and targets. These agencies want to extend the focus on equity to include jobs and job training so disadvantaged communities can share in the economic gains associated with climate investments. The HRCAP creates a structure for formalizing this kind of interagency partnership and carry out the work more systematically.
Goals and Outcomes
Outcomes and impact of HRCAP on environmental policies will become more apparent as specific clean energy, clean transportation, and waste reduction programs are improved. The following outputs are anticipated:
- Incorporating strong labor and workforce development standards, targets and a manes for tracking progress into at least three to five climate investment programs.
- Continuing to develop strong partnerships with state agencies to develop policies that address job quality and job access standards.
Partnerships & Collaboration Efforts
Under HRCAP, the CWDB has provided workforce policy expertise and technical assistance on workforce standards to the following state agencies to address job quality and job access in their funding programs and policy reports.
- California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)
- California Air Resources Board (CARB)
- California Energy Commission (CEC)
- California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)
- Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Strategy
The CWDB has also collaborated with non-governmental organizations on workforce standards and policies including:
The CWDB submitted the Putting California on the High Road: A Jobs and Climate Action Plan for 2030, prepared by the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, to the Legislature pursuant to Assembly Bill 398 (Chapter 135, Statutes of 2017).