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Frequently Asked Questions for $200M Budget Rollout

Strong Workforce Program

Local Strong Workforce System FAQs

Q:  What is the URL link for the Local Strong Workforce System?

A:  http://swplocal.cccco.edu/

Q:  How do I obtain the user name and password for the Local Strong Workforce System?

A:  The District Contact person will need to email strongworkforcehelpdesk@cccco.edu to obtain a list of usernames and passwords for colleges within their district. The usernames and passwords will then be distributed to the colleges.

Q:  How do we know who is the district representative? Is it the CEO, the VPI, the CBO?

A:  The Chancellor’s Office will leave it to the discretion of the CCD to assign the representative that will, on behalf of the CCD, acquire and distribute its colleges usernames and passcodes.

Q:  Is there a Board of Trustees action required?

A:  No, under statute there is no required board of trustee approval required at the local level. However, colleges and districts should follow local policy.

Q:  Does the template receive some sort of "official approval," and if so, do we have to wait to begin expending funds?

A:  Yes, the Local Share Template is certified at the college level and then at the district level to verify the budget. However, funds can be expended now, but be mindful that the expenditures are contingent on the budget, and the proposed increase to the Strong Workforce Metric outcomes.

Q:  Does the criterion of "evidence of demand" include existing programs or just new and emerging programs?

A:  Evidence of demand can include existing programs. For example, the Labor Market Information (LMI) or Launchboard data might indicate there is an oversupply in a particular area where a program currently exists. A second example might include expanding an existing program because of greater need as shown by LMI or Launchboard data.

Q:  Is there any plan to share effective practices in college decision making for the local funds. In other words, how are colleges ensuring that the discussions are broad and engaging of faculty leaders across the institution while at the same time ensuring that CTE faculty expertise and discipline knowledge is respected?

A:  The guidance document about allowable costs talks about ensuring that input has been received by faculty and dean levels in order to inform planning. In addition, the Labor Market Information (LMI) and data elements called for in the plan are designed to help create and sustain data conversations that are part of effective planning. Keep in mind that FTES must not go below the baseline ratio established for CTE FTES.

All Other FAQs

Q:  Is it acceptable to offload existing faculty salaries onto Strong Workforce Program funding?

A:  The statute 88824 (e) specifically says “Funds appropriated to community college districts for the program shall supplement, and NOT SUPPLANT, existing funding of community college career technical education programs.”

888824 (5) states that districts must certify that the use of Local Share meets the following:

A) Increase the number of students in quality CTE courses, programs, and pathways that will achieve successful workforce outcomes

B) Increase the number of quality CTE courses, programs, and pathways that lead to successful workforce outcomes, or invest in new or emerging CTE courses, programs and pathways that may become operative in subsequent years and are likely to lead to successful workforce outcomes.

C) Address recommendations from the Strong Workforce Task Force, including the recommended provision of student services related to career exploration, job readiness and job placement, and work-based learning.

Successful workforce outcomes are limited to these multiple measures:

INCREASE QUANTITY (“more”) - required

  • CTE enrollment

IMPROVE QUALITY (“better”) – choose at least one

  • Completion
  • Transfer
  • Employment rates
  • Employment in field of study
  • Earnings
  • Median change in earnings
  • Proportion of students who attained living wages

Shifting existing salaries to this pot is supplanting.  And, is out of compliance with the law as allowable use for the dollars.

Q:  Can you explain the performance-based portion of the Strong Workforce program that is scheduled to begin in 2017-18?

A:  The statute introduces a workforce success and social mobility incentive into the formula for allocating 1/6th of the dollars starting the second year of Strong Workforce Program.  As a trade-off for offering unprecedented flexibility in the use of these dollars to drive more and better CTE, the Governor and Legislature incorporated this incentive to ensure that our colleges remain focused on delivering the much needed 1 million more industry-valued middle-skill credentials that served the goal of the Board of Governors Strong Workforce Task Force.

In order to advise the implementation of the workforce success and social mobility incentive, a stakeholder committee (to be called the ‘17% Committee’) is being formed to examine several possible several possible models across states for implementing incentives and advise on the roll out. The aim is to ensure there is fairness for the colleges while meeting the intent of the statute. The ASCCC has been invited to participate on this committee, which will not meet until early 2017.

Q:  Can I hire (e.g., CTE faculty, CTE Deans, coordinators, job developers, counselors for CTE counseling, etc.) using the Strong Workforce Program funds?

A:  It is your decision on how best to use the funds as long as you are driving more CTE and better CTE outcomes and adhering to the requirements of the trailer bill language.

We recommend that no less than 17% of your Local Share be kept flexible. This is because in year two, 17% of your Local Share is determined based on your college’s contributions to workforce outcomes. This variable is new in year two, and not in year one. Financially strong districts have a rule of thumb to not spend more than 75% of a categorical on personnel cost. In a few year's time, your CTE programs may need a monies retool/upgrade to keep them relevant. So, it is best to give yourself some financial flexibility by not committing all your Local Shares to ongoing personnel cost.

Q:  Where can I find a copy of the Strong Workforce Program trailer bill language?

A:  Click here for a pdf or word version.

Q:  When will Local Share and Regional Share allocations be known?

A:  Preliminary allocations will be published by the CCCCO by 7/31/16 and made final upon approval by the Board of Governors at its 9/19/16 meeting.

Q:  What is the data source for modeling the allocations?

A:  The trailer bill language specifies the factors and the weighting of the factors in determining the Local Shares and Regional Shares. The CCCCO has used EMSI five-year projections as the source for ‘projected job openings’. ESRI by zip code is the source for ‘unemployment’. ‘CTE FTES’ data is from 2014-15, which is the latest year of data provided by colleges to the CCCCO MIS system. The CCCCO does not need any data from colleges/districts to model the allocations.

Q:  Will non-credit be included in the ‘CTE FTES’ calculations for allocations?

A:  Yes, both non-credit and credit ‘CTE FTES’ are included.

Q: Will the local Strong Workforce funds come to the college as categorical?

A:  Yes

Q:  Are these ongoing funds?

A:  Yes, every year, $200M in funds will be made available as a categorical to our system.

Q:  Can we collect FTES apportionment on these CTE programs?

A:  Yes, as long as some portion is funded by general funds and the district does not otherwise receive full compensation for the direct education costs of the course(s) from any public or private agency, individual, or group in accordance with Education Code Section 84752 and California Code of Regulations, Title 5 Section 58051.5. 

Q:  How long do we have to spend the funds?

A:  The 2016-17 allocations will be available for Local Share spending through December 31, 2018. Note:  Each year, you will get another year’s allocation of Local Share.

Q:  What if I can’t figure out enough ways to use my 2016-17 Local Shares?

A: Your use of Local Share will be reviewed in year two and we will start a discussion with you to return funds halfway through year two if any are still uncommitted.

Q:  With the development of new programs comes substantive change applications with the ACCJC. Not only is it time consuming for someone to prepare the substantive change documents, but they also have to pay a fee to ACCJC to process it. Can the Strong Workforce funds be used to pay for this?

A:  It is your decision on how to use the funds as long as you are meeting the multiple measures of CTE outcomes and adhering to the requirements of the trailer bill language.

Q:  Does the 50% law apply?

A:  These are restricted categorical funds and therefore excluded from the 50% law.

Q:  Does the FON apply?

A:  If any staff hired is tenure track, that portion can count towards your FON.

Q:  Who can be voting members of the CTE Consortium for the use of the Regional Shares of the $200M?

A:  Trailer bill section 88823 under subdivision of bullet point (b), (2), states:  “Decisions governing, or relating to, the distribution of fiscal resources shall be determined exclusively by the community college districts participating in the consortium.” Each CTE Regional Consortia has or will post to their website the decision-making structure agreed upon by their participating colleges/districts.

Q:  What are the TOP codes associated with “CTE FTES” in COMIS?  Isn’t there a data dictionary online?

A:  TOP codes are identified as being Vocational (CTE), or not, in the TOP Code Manual.

Q:  Where can find out more about the federal Workforce Innovation & Opportunities Act (WIOA)?

A:  See helpful WIOA links.

Q:  How should a multi-college district allocate Local Share funds between its colleges?

A:  There are a number of methods districts have used to allocate Local Share funds between their colleges. Below are some examples:

  1. Allocate based on CTE FTES
  2. Allocate based on FTES
  3. Allocate based on weighting CTE FTES and FTES
  4. Allocated based on the same 3 variables as SWP: unemployment, projected job openings, CTE FTES

We’d note that while the simplest way to allocate resources if often through a formula, the expectations of policy makers is that our colleges and regions will be improving and expanding CTE programs that are most in demand based on labor market demand.  Therefore, it would be preferred that multi-college districts allocate funds to their colleges to address key labor market shortages, as opposed to simple formula.  These types of investments will lead to improved workforce outcomes, which will be a factor in fund allocation in 2017-18 and beyond.

The San Mateo Community College provided documentation on their methodology: see appendix 1 and appendix 2. Michelle Marquez, Canada College’s Vice President of Administrative Services at marquezmichelle@smccd.edu originated these documents and can be contacted for more information.


The Opportunity
For community colleges to become essential catalysts to California’s economic recovery and jobs creation at the local, regional and state levels.

The Strategy
Doing What MATTERS for jobs and the economy is a four-pronged framework to respond to the call of our nation, state, and regions to close the skills gap. The four prongs are:

  • Give Priority for Jobs and the Economy
  • Make Room for Jobs and the Economy
  • Promote Student Success
  • Innovate for Jobs and the Economy
California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office