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Canal Alliance secures $500k grant to bolster workforce development programs

March 31, 2023

Filemon at the Workforce Program graduation at College of Marin.
Filemon, a graduate of the Canal Alliance Workforce program in collaboration with College of Marin and Marin Builders Association.

We are thrilled to announce that Canal Alliance has secured $524,161 in new funding for our workforce programs, which break the generational cycle of poverty for low-income Latino immigrants in Marin County. This grant is part of the AB628 Breaking Barriers to Employment Initiative and was awarded from the Foundation for California Community Colleges on behalf of the California Workforce Development Board. 

Launched in 2018, Canal Alliance’s workforce programs respond to the documented need for workforce training programs effective in meeting the needs of low-income Latino immigrant workers. Our programs include short-term certificate training programs and a Spanish-language small business development course. Short-term certificate training programs include those in construction and transit operation; soon we also plan to pilot a new Certified Nursing Assistant training program. All programs are designed to help graduates secure living wage jobs with career path opportunities, while fulfilling the needs of Marin’s labor market. Partners critical in the implementation of these programs include: the College of Marin and Santa Rosa Junior College, the Marin Builders Association, Golden Gate Transit and By the Bay Health. 

San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood, where Canal Alliance is located, is home to over 12,000 residents, many of whom have emigrated from remote areas of Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico. Here in Marin, the second-most-racially-disparate county in the state, Latinos make an average of $37,783 per capita annually, as compared to nearly $90,000 annually for whites. In other words, 21% of Latinos in Marin do not earn a living wage.* All of Canal Alliance’s programs provide pathways to economy stability for Marin’s Latino community and our workforce programs boast strong retention and graduation rates. Since their inception, we have served 264 clients on their way to career employment. This new grant will catalyze these efforts, funding the participation of 80 more enrollees. The grant will also strengthen Canal Alliance’s partnership with the California Workforce Development Board and connect our students to the services offered by California’s workforce system. 

“We are elated for all the individuals that will benefit from this well-deserved grant for Canal Alliance,” said Rick Wells, CEO at Marin Builders Association. “This grant will help provide hard-working individuals with real-life opportunities for growth, connection, and advancement in the construction industry through the Construction Skills Certificate Program. The wraparound services provided by the Canal Alliance team are an integral part of continuously improving lives in our local community beyond the training component. Partnerships like this, between education industry, and community are driving positive change here in Marin.” 

Mona Babuta, Deputy General Manager of Golden Gate Transit, also shared a message on the importance of this new funding and how these collaborative projects will make the Bay Area a more equitable place to live. “We cherish our partnership with Canal Alliance on many fronts, creating jobs and bringing equity to the Canal helps make the Bay Area become a more equitable and accessible place for all of its residents.”   

We look forward to sharing more about the positive outcomes of this funding, as we serve more members of our community. If you or a loved one would like to learn more about how to enroll in any of Canal Alliance’s workforce programs, please call (415) 306-0475 or (415) 873 1067 to find out more.  

*RACE COUNTS, County Overview, 2016-2020 

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