Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia Holds Labor Leader Roundtable

Kamari Esquerra

“We’re here to talk, we’re here to show opportunity, (and) we’re here to provide a solution to a problem we have,” said Sean Ellis of the United Association Local 230.

Local labor leaders met with Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia at the Coachella Library in Coachella to discuss job accessibility for local residents, and the need to support a high-skilled, local lithium workforce.

“Everything from healthcare to sick paid leave to lithium valley conservation as it relates to the workforce, career technical education programs, (and) budget items,” said District 56 California State Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia. “All related to working families having the opportunity to have good-paying jobs here in our region.”

Industry leaders, union representatives, and elected officials sat roundtable to offer solutions to improve the region, as well as bring quality jobs for residents in the valley.

“We don’t want to see people coming from other states, other cities, other municipalities and take the work from the local community,” said Ellis. “This region can vary from 10% to 30% unemployment so the value of bringing a project here and hiring local people to buy local homes here and stimulate a circular economy within this region is of utmost importance.”

“One of the things that we were discussing is how do we secure some of the workforce dollars that are being proposed at the state level in the January budget by the governor,” said Assembly Member Garcia. “How we do that is by having a coordinated effort to look at the existing programs that we want to enhance in order to have a prepared workforce.”

Garcia says there is a great opportunity to invest in additional workforce industries that are currently in the region, as well as industries that will be here in the near future, including the lithium valley conversation around the Salton Sea.  

“We are very close, I think June is the groundbreaking ceremony of a facility that will demonstrate that the recovery of lithium is possible on the sound end of the Salton Sea so we’re months away from seeing this,” said Assembly Member Garcia. 

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