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Strong Workforce


The Strong Workforce Program (SWP) and Perkins V initiatives provide a unique opportunity to strengthen College of San Mateo's Career Education (CE) programs. The intent of both funds includes the alignment of programs with emerging industry trends to ensure in-demand student skill attainment that leads to high-demand careers. Resources may also be used to support the development of new CE programs that contribute to the vitality of our local and regional economies and address opportunities to make programs more equitable.

The Workforce Development team works with campus constituents to ensure the equitable distribution of these resources each academic year. Key dates, FAQs, and additional resources are listed below. If you have any further questions about how these resources can benefit your program, please reach out to Alex Kramer, Director of Workforce Development at, or (650) 574-6298.

Contact Us

Alex Kramer
Director of Workforce Development
(650) 574-6298

What is the Strong Workforce Program?

More and Better Career Technical Education to Increase Social Mobility and Fuel Regional Economies with Skilled Workers:

To develop more workforce opportunities and lift low-wage workers into living-wage jobs, California took a bold step in 2016 to create one million more middle-skill workers. At the recommendation of the California Community College Board of Governors, the Governor and Legislature approved the Strong Workforce Program, adding a new annual recurring investment of $248 million to spur career technical education (CTE) in the nation’s largest workforce development system of 116 colleges.

“Some college” is the new gateway into the workforce. The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce predicts that approximately 70% of all jobs will require some college education by 2027. Further, the Public Policy Institute of California projects an undersupply of nearly one million college graduates in California to meet employer demand for skilled workers by 2030.

Community colleges across the state play a critical role in closing these gaps. As such, the California Community Colleges Workforce and Economic Development Division (WEDD) recommends that colleges utilize SWP resources to ensure that career education programs prepare students with critical in-demand skills in partnership with regional employers.

Read more:

What is Perkins V?

Perkins V refers to the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2018. This federal legislation, also known as Perkins V, reauthorized and updated the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. The act is designed to support career and technical education (CTE) programs at the secondary and postsecondary levels in the United States.

Similar to SWP, Perkins V aims to enhance the quality of CTE programs, improve alignment with labor market needs, and increase opportunities for students to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for success in the workforce. The legislation provides federal funding to states and local educational agencies to support CTE initiatives, with an emphasis on programs that prepare students for high-skill, high-wage occupations.

Key features of Perkins V include an increased focus on collaboration between educational institutions and employers, an emphasis on work-based learning experiences, and an emphasis on providing equitable access to CTE programs for all students, including those traditionally underrepresented, also known as "special populations" in these fields.

What are the Key Metrics for SWP and Perkins V?

Key metrics for the Strong Workforce Program (SWP) and Perkins V, as they pertain to CE initiatives, typically focus on assessing the effectiveness and impact of programs. Common key metrics associated with SWP and Perkins V are as follows:

Student Outcomes

  • Completion rates: The percentage of CE students who successfully earn AA/AS/AA-T/AS-T degrees and certificates.
  • Credential attainment: The number of students who earn industry-recognized certifications or credentials.
  • Placement rates: The percentage of CE graduates who secure employment or continue their education within a specified period.

Program Quality

  • Program alignment: The extent to which CE programs align with industry needs and labor market demands.
  • Program completion rates: The percentage of students who complete their CE programs within a reasonable timeframe. A minimum of 9+ units in a CE pathway is encouraged.
  • Increased enrollment: The number of unique enrollments in CE pathways.

Equity and Access

  • Participation rates: The representation of various demographic groups in CE programs, ensuring equitable access for all students.
  • Closing achievement gaps: Metrics that assess progress in reducing disparities in CE outcomes among different student populations.

Work-Based Learning

  • Internship and apprenticeship participation: The number of students engaged in work-based learning experiences.

Labor Market Outcomes

  • Earnings and wage growth: Tracking the income levels and wage growth of CE program graduates in the workforce. A target for CSM is ensuring a living wage, at a minimum.
  • Industry placement: The percentage of graduates who secure employment in their field of study.

Examples of SWP & Perkins V Investments at College of San Mateo

Investments include:

  • Program enhancements leading to in-demand skill attainment for students in Fire Technology, Dental Assisting, Fitness Instructor, Nursing, and Digital Media;
  • New program development including Business Analytics, Public & Nonprofit Administration, International Business, Entrepreneurship & Small Business, and Commercial Music;
  • Support for dual enrollment efforts with feeder high schools across various CE pathways;
  • Regional CE marketing campaigns

Examples of previously funded projects

How Can I Access SWP & Perkins V Resources for My CE Program?

College of San Mateo offers opportunities throughout each academic year for faculty to submit resource request proposals for their respective programs. Traditionally, the college solicits proposals for Perkins V resources each spring semester, and SWP proposals each fall semester. Proposals must be reviewed and approved by division deans before submission. Once submitted, proposals are forwarded to a review team to be assessed for alignment with Strong Workforce Program and/or Perkins V metrics and CSM's mission and Education Master Plan (EMP). Approved proposals are then presented to the college's executive leadership team for final review and approval.

Spring 2024 Semester Key Dates

  • February 23: Perkins V Resource Request application opens
  • February 28: Perkins V Information Session #1 (RSVP)
  • March 8: Perkins V Information Session #2 (RSVP)
  • April 5: Application period closes at 11:59 pm
  • April 19: Review team advances proposals to executive leadership
  • April 24: Executive leadership reviews & approves proposals
  • May 1: Awardees announced