CCSF file photo

Workforce development fund to support training programs at City College

Supervisors back plans to use $500K toward economic recovery efforts through CCSF

A fund dedicated to supporting workforce development programs at City College of San Francisco is headed to the full Board of Supervisors for a vote.

Supervisors at the Government Audit and Oversight Committee on Thursday unanimously approved the creation of the Workforce Education and Recovery Fund, known as WERF. About $500,000 from the general budget is reserved for the fund, which is intended to boost City College’s role in San Francisco’s economic recovery from the pandemic.

“WERF recognizes the central role of City College,” said Supervisor Gordon Mar, who introduced the legislation. “This ordinance will create the workforce and education recovery fund…to provide financial stability to City College of San Francisco for workforce and professional services programs.”

About $200,000 of the fund is a general pot of resources for City College to spend from. Half of that must go to workforce and professional development programs, like nursing, health education, child development, English as a Second Language, and emergency responders.

A quarter will go to student support services that help retain and hire students, while the last quarter will be reserved for social justice, equity, lifelong learning, and enrichment classes like ethnic studies.

It’s expected to support about 10 classes serving about 300 students in the spring semester, providing some stability amid class cuts.

The remaining $300,000 is pulled from city department budgets already required to spend a portion on workforce development. That funding will be specific to City College job training programs that lead to careers in that department, said Alan Wong, legislative aide to Mar.

“It’s a pilot program that we hope will lead to more funding in the future so that City College can be the linchpin of recovery for The City,” said Wong, a candidate for CCSF Board of Trustees. “It’s helped out so many workers like my dad get into the workforce in the past.”

Mar originally sought to ask voters to reserve $20 million for the City College fund, but later shifted his efforts to an ordinance, which Wong said was more flexible and garnered more support. Supervisors Matt Haney, Hillary Ronen, Ahsha Safai, Shamann Walton and Dean Preston co-sponsored the legislation.

CCSF must submit an expenditure plan every fiscal year. The fund heads next to the full Board of Supervisors for final approval.

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