CalWIN develops and promotes innovative strategies to strengthen the afterschool workforce by actively linking it to robust professional and career development opportunities. Working as a network, we connect afterschool programs, staff, students, and communities with collaborative initiatives that build a stronger California.
The California Workforce Innovation Network: A Brief History
CalWIN grew out of meetings of organizations concerned about the need to find qualified workers for the after-school field upon the expansion of after-school called for in Proposition 49. The so-called trigger clause (which delayed expansion of after-school funding until state revenues grew a certain amount) was implemented in 2006, doubling to 4,000 the number of school-based after-school programs in high-poverty neighborhoods across California. This expansion created about 25,000 jobs, most of which are part-time. Because the unemployment rate was low at that time, there was a great deal of concern about finding enough workers for the new programs, let alone enough qualified workers. The field was concerned that the lack of a qualified workforce would stymie the expansion of statewide after-school.
In 2007, organizations supported by the Packard Foundation began to discuss how to work together to find new ways to recruit, train and keep qualified after-school workers. The organizations began to meet to share perspectives and ideas, eventually expanding the group to include organizations with a diverse range of focus areas such as K-12 education, children’s advocacy, after-school providers, higher education and the workforce sector.
At a meeting on April 3, 2008, the organizations named their group CalWIN. This signaled a commitment to not just share ideas and information but to begin to work together on several projects of mutual interest. This name was chosen because it conveyed that the effort was larger than one project and that the group would not just be a clearinghouse of what existed but a learning group for developing new approaches to finding and retaining qualified after-school workers.
The group had come to an initial agreement that employment in after-school programs could be a good job for most people at some point in their lives, in particular as an early job for young people with barriers to employment. As the projects progressed, the group’s work expanded to develop models for how after-school jobs can be more than just a first job but instead a critical component of a pathway to careers in education and human services.