California should continue to invest in programs that spur job creation

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The American economy is booming and we are seeing a job resurgence across the country resulting in the lowest unemployment rate in nearly fifty years. The most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report announced that 75,000 jobs were added in May - and thankfully we are seeing more and more new job openings in California.

A recent report found that over the past year, health and education services saw a 2.9% increase in the labor market, adding 17,300 jobs- the highest job growth of any industry.  

As the president of Crescent College, I understand how important quality education is for the health and medical industry. Crescent College is a vocational education program that prepares its students for jobs in the medical and computer science industries, as well as business administration. Students who graduate from Crescent fill countless occupations such as physical therapists, medical assistants, and drug and alcohol counselors.  

Technical training is important for job creation, that’s why California spent $200 million to encourage individuals to opt for a vocational program instead of going the traditional college route. As of today, California Communities Colleges are the largest provider of workforce training in the United States, which is vital considering there are 30 million jobs that pay an average of $55,000 that don’t require a bachelor’s degree.

But the medical field isn't the only job engine in California. Here in California, tourism is a major job creator that boosts our economy. Did you know that almost 1.2 million people in California are employed in an industry directly related to travel? The most recent reports show a 1.7% increase in professionals employed by the tourism industry from the previous year. And many of these jobs don't require higher education or additional degrees.

Tourism in California supports a diverse variety of jobs unlike in smaller states where the tourism industry mainly impacts taxi drivers and hotel employees. Here in California, the most popular state for tourism, so many more jobs are affected, especially since California is home to countless attractions like our beautiful beaches up and down the coast, the world-renowned wineries in Napa and the surrounding areas, Disneyland, Hollywood, and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

A great program that supports California’s tourism industry and the 1.2 million jobs it supports is Brand USA. Brand USA is a public-private partnership that promotes California’s tourist destinations to international travelers. And the best part is that it doesn’t cost the taxpayer a dime. Unfortunately, Brand USA’s funding is up for reauthorization and we are at risk of losing all the great economic benefits that result from the program. Considering that California is the most popular tourist destination in the U.S., we need to be advocating for programs that support one of our most important economic drivers.

Thankfully, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is a strong advocate for programs that boost economic growth and job creation. As funding negotiations take place, I hope Leader McCarthy will support Brand USA’s funding reauthorization that so greatly benefits the local economy of his constituents.

We can all agree how crucially important it is to educate and train individuals in California to fill the job openings around the state. If we want our economy to continue to grow, we must support continuing education and programs that support our tourism industry, like Brand USA.

Angel Gutierrez is President and CEO of Crescent College.

OpinionAngel Gutierrez