California briefs | Assemblymember Alex Lee assumes Progressive Caucus chair, local education collaborative gets $18.1M

Assemblymember Alex Lee.

Assemblymember Alex Lee assumes Progressive Caucus chair

SACRAMENTO — Assemblymember Alex Lee has been elected to lead the California Legislative Progressive Caucus when the Legislature reconvenes next year.

On Wednesday, Nov. 1, Lee announced that Progressive Caucus elected him to chair the caucus, succeeding Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-District 25). Lee previously served as a vice chair.

“It is my honor to chair the Progressive Caucus,” Lee said in a statement. “Progressivism is rooted in the people’s voices, and we work to create a more equal society for all. Ever since I was elected to office, I have been fighting for every Californian’s fundamental needs, whether that be access to affordable homes, universal healthcare, or environmental protections. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this important caucus, and I look forward to our work as the Legislature reconvenes next year.”

The Progressive Caucus brings together 30 legislators, including Assemblymember Liz Ortega (D-District 20), interested in passing legislation that promotes greater opportunity, security and justice for everyone, as well as supporting inclusive and resilient communities in the state.

Regional education collaborative gets $18.1 million for cradle-to-career programs

SACRAMENTO — A regional education collaborative is getting millions from the state to ensure it is easy for local students to access careers in education, engineering and computing, and health care and biotechnology.

On Thursday, Oct. 2, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the Bay Area K-16 Collaborative, led by the Chabot-Las Positas Community College District, was one of four collaboratives across the state to receive about $18.1 million. The aim of the collaborative is to ensure students in the East Bay, San Francisco, Peninsula and San Jose areas can easily finish their degrees, transfer between schools, get hands-on work experience and take college-level courses early.

“Every Californian should have the freedom to succeed by obtaining real-life skills and fulfilling careers — including those that don’t require college degrees,” Newsom said in a statement. “With today’s investment, California is yet again going further to prepare students and workers for high-paying, long-lasting, and fulfilling careers.”

The regional education collaboratives are intended to address a shifting labor market, including addressing shortages in health care and expanding career opportunities in construction.

State awards Union City Transit $200,000 to expand on-demand service

SACRAMENTO — Union City Transit has received just over $200,000 from the state to expand on-demand bus service in the city.

Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that Caltrans approved $192 million in California Climate Investment funds for 136 public transportation projects with the aim of cutting pollution and expanding options for affordable transportation. That includes $214,893 to UC Transit for its flea (flexible, local, easy, access) service, which allows residents on the east side of the city to book a ride on weekdays between 4:41 a.m. to 8:40 p.m. at the regular bus fare.

“More clean and affordable transportation is coming to California, cutting pollution and making it easier for folks to get around,” Newsom said in a statement. “These programs are key to our climate goals – building charging stations, getting more EV buses on the roads, and reducing costs for public transit.”

UC Transit intends to use the funds to enable the flea service to cover more areas and extend operating hours. The expansion will overlap with regular bus routes in order for the city to demonstrate that an hourly fixed-route service may not be suitable for today’s public transit users.

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