Padilla Introduces Legislation to Bolster the Creative Workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senators Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) introduced the Creative Workforce Investment Act to empower the creative workforce through the creation of a workforce grant program to expand access to the arts in communities nationwide. Representatives Ted Lieu (D-Calif.-36), Jay Obernolte (R-Calif.-23), and Teresa Leger Fernández (D-N.M.-03) are leading companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

California’s creative economy directly contributes over $500 billion to the state’s economy and accounts for 1.8 million jobs, according to a 2023 Otis College report.

“Artists and creators are vital to the soul of our state and nation. California’s creative economy is a critical piece of our state’s success, generating millions of jobs and billions in economic activity,” said Senator Padilla. “This legislation would support local creators and their diverse, thought-provoking art — especially as our creative workforce continues to recover from a pandemic that disproportionately affected their livelihoods.”

The Creative Workforce Investment Act would: 

  • Establish a grant program to support arts and creative workforce initiatives that create publicly accessible art while employing individuals in the local community;
  • Specify a range of programs eligible for funding, including concerts, storytelling initiatives, murals, films, theatrical productions, and support for arts in educational and community spaces, among others;
  • Mandate annual reporting to Congress on grant outcomes, employment duration, earnings, and employment status of individuals involved in the programs; and
  • Authorize $300 million in appropriations for fiscal years 2024 through 2026 to support the program.

This legislation is endorsed by 56 organizations across the country, including Actors’ Equity Association, Americans for the Arts, Authors Guild, Californians for the Arts, California Desert Arts Council, Create CA, Department for Professional Employees – AFL-CIO, Etsy, Inc., gallupARTS, and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE). 


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