Workforce Partnership & Prison to Employment Initiative

The Corrections Workforce Partnership Agreement is intended to strengthen linkages between the state workforce and corrections systems in order to improve the process by which the formerly incarcerated and justice-involved* individuals reenter society and the labor force. The Prison to Employment Initiative was a grant program that included in the Governor’s 2018 Budget proposal and includes $37 million over three budget years to operationalize integration of workforce and reentry services in the state’s 14 labor regions. The goal is to improve labor market outcomes by creating a systemic and ongoing partnership between rehabilitative programs within California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the state workforce system by bringing CDCR under the policy umbrella of the State Workforce Plan.

* “Justice-involved” refers to individuals who are on parole, probation, mandatory supervision, or post-release community supervision and are supervised by, or are under the jurisdiction of, a county or the CDCR.


California releases approximately 36,000 people from the state prison each year, a portion of whom have received in-prison job-training rehabilitative services such as Career Technical Education (CTE) or have participated in programs operated by the California Prison Industry Authority (CalPIA). Concurrently, California manages federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) funds through its State Workforce Plan developed by the California Workforce Development Board (State Board), and implemented by Local Workforce Development Boards (Local Boards) across the state.

While there is some, often informal, coordination between these two systems there is no formal, sustained, and systemic, relationship between them. Some reentry and workforce programs have been created to target certain subpopulations of the state’s supervised population, as discussed below, and while these programs have provided good data and lessons learned, an ongoing marriage of the two systems is needed to better integrate services operating in isolation, and to fill gaps and provide holistic and long-term outcomes to reduce recidivism.

As part of Governor Brown’s efforts to improve California’s criminal and juvenile justice systems and reduce recidivism through increased rehabilitation, the State Board, CDCR, CalPIA, and California Workforce Association (CWA) have finalized a partnership agreement which is included in amendments to the California WIOA Unified Strategic Workforce Development Plan 2016-2020.

The partnership agreement will better link education, job training, and work experience in prison to post-release jobs by fostering a system of coordinated service delivery to a population that faces a variety of barriers. It serves as a blueprint for building local and regional partnerships to improve labor market outcomes and reduce recidivism. Policy strategies outlined in this agreement include:

  1. Sector Strategies
  2. Career Pathways
  3. Organizing Regionally
  4. Earn and Learn
  5. Supportive Services
  6. Integrated Service Delivery and Braided Resources
  7. Building Cross-System Data Capacity

The partnership agreement will inform policies specific to California’s 14 Labor Regions, 45 Local Workforce Development Boards, and 200 contracted America’s Job Centers of California (AJCCs), and how they serve the state’s formerly incarcerated and justice-involved population.               

The partnership agreement and Prison to Employment Initiative build off of existing grants and initiatives administered by the State Board that targets the formerly incarcerated and justice-involved population. These programs include Workforce Accelerator Fund, ForwardFocus: AB 2060 Supervised Population Workforce Training, and Proposition 39 Pre-Apprenticeship. This new approach takes the best of the existing initiatives; and integrates these into systemic and ongoing change through the development of regional plans to coordinate service delivery based on local labor conditions, resources, and partners.

Regional and Local Planning Guidance

The State Board issued draft Regional and Local Planning Guidance spelling out new planning requirements in the Spring of 2018, and final guidance was issued through WSD18-01 on July 27, 2018. The new planning guidance requires that regional plans specify how Local Boards and Regional Planning Units (RPUs) will partner with Community Based Organizations (CBOs), CDCR contracted reentry service providers, and representatives of Parole and Probation to provide seamless, integrated services to the formerly incarcerated and other justice-involved individuals in each of the 14 RPUs. RPUs are encouraged to build on existing regional partnerships, including existing Community Corrections Partnerships (CCPs) to develop a comprehensive regional vision and plan for successfully integrating the formerly incarcerated and other justice-involved individuals into the labor market.

A Planning Grant Local Assistance Request for Applications (RFA) was issued on July 27, 2018 and provides up to $1.75 million in state general funds for collaborative development of regional partnerships and plans to serve the formerly incarcerated and other justice-involved individuals in California. These funds will go out as local assistance planning grants to each of the 14 regional planning units (RPUs). Please see the “Prison to Employment Initiative Grant Program” section of this page for more information.

Prison to Employment Initiative Grant Program

Prison to Employment: Local Assistance Planning Grant
Request for Applications now available!

The California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) and the Employment Development Department (EDD) are pleased to announce local assistance grants of up to $1,750,000 in state general funds for collaborative development of regional partnerships and plans to serve the formerly incarcerated and other justice involved individuals in California.For more information, please see the RFA.

Planning Grant Request for Proposals
Planning Grant Application Forms
Sample Partnership Agreement

Important Dates:
Request for Application Release – July 27, 2018
Application Workshop – August 8, 2018
To view the Application Workshop PPT, click here.
Q&A Posting – Weekly, every Friday through August 24, 2018
Applications due August 27, 2018

Application Questions
Questions regarding this RFA shall be sent to via email to Cumulative questions and answers shall be posted to the State Board’s website on a weekly basis until Friday, August 24, 2018.

Please use “ForwardFocus P2E Q&A” in subject line for all application/RFA related questions.

August 3, 2018
August 10, 2018

The Governor’s 2018 Budget proposal included $37 million over three budget years to fund the integration of workforce and reentry services in the state’s 14 regions. Known as the “Prison to Employment Initiative,” the proposal is briefly mentioned in the Governor’s Budget Summary on page 74 (page 6 of the linked document).

Proposed Funding Plan

Regional Planning Grants$1.75m
Implementation and Direct Service Grants$6m$8m
Needs-Based Supportive Services$8m$12m
Program Evaluation and Assessment$1m
Total Funds $16m$20m$1m

Funding for the Prison to Employment Initiative was approved by the Legislature in SB 856 (Budget & Fiscal Review, Chapter 30, Statutes of 2018) and is intended to support regional planning efforts, fund regional plan implementation, and provide resources for direct services to the formerly incarcerated and other justice-involved individuals. It also sets aside specific resources for both supportive services and earn and learn activities which were identified as a major gap by current grantees and local service providers.

Statutory program information, including authorized uses for grant funds and evaluation requirements were approved by the Legislature in SB 866 (Budget & Fiscal Review, Chapter 53, Statutes of 2018).

14 Labor Regions (map)

Map of 14 California's Labor Regions

Map of 14 California’s Labor Regions

To view a printable version of this web page in PDF, click here.


To contact us about this page only:
800 Capitol Mall, Suite 1022
Sacramento CA 95814
T: 916-657-1440
F: 916-657-1377