SEIU 1021

California Senate passes SB 779 to strengthen community clinics through improved job training opportunities


May 31, the California State Senate passed SB 779 (Stern), a bill that will empower community clinic workers to strengthen the clinics that provide essential care to one in three Medi-Cal patients. SB 779 aims to help people get job training after the COVID-19 pandemic by updating the way workforce programs are organized and by supporting different types of job training models. These models include employment social enterprises (ESEs) and worker cooperatives.

SB 779 simplifies the language used in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) and puts definitions of these new models in the sections of the law that talk about job training programs. This bill won’t cost any money.

“Community health centers play a crucial role in our healthcare system, providing essential care to millions of Californians who face challenges in accessing proper healthcare. However, our ability to deliver high-quality care is limited when our workforce is paid unfairly, not recognized for their value, and burdened with exhaustion and excessive workloads” said Angel Valdez, an SEIU 1021 Executive Board member who works for La Clinica De La Raza. 

Community Clinic Workers United is at the forefront of the effort to enhance the quality of care, starting with SB 779. We express our gratitude to the senators who acknowledge the need to strengthen the community clinics that form the backbone of our healthcare safety net and uphold California’s commitment to health fairness. Now, we urge the assembly to stand with us in supporting SB 779 and uphold the promise of accessible and equitable healthcare.”

Serving more than 7 million Californians each year, community clinics are integral to our state’s health care delivery system and the state’s path to include all income-eligible Californians in Medi-Cal, regardless of immigration status. The COVID-19 pandemic and its aftermath brought into sharp focus the workforce crisis clinics are experiencing, and the long delays patients face in seeking care as a result.

SB 779 will improve the collection of data needed to understand labor trends, workforce development activities, and implications for quality and equity.