Role of California's Labor & Workforce Development Agency

Instructor: Millicent Kelly

Millicent has been teaching at the university level since 2004. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice and a Master's degree in Human Resources.

This lesson will review the role of California's Labor and Workforce Development Agency. The seven departments the agency oversees will be discussed, and an overview of department functions will be provided.


Imagine that you just immigrated to the United States and need employment desperately. Through a family member, you hear that agricultural labor is needed at a local tree farm. You eagerly approach the owner, who hires you on the spot! Excited to have employment, you neglect to ask about the hourly rate, and start work the next day. One week later, you receive a check, and notice that you're earning $8 per hour. You tell a family member, who advises you that the minimum wage in California is $10 per hour. They advise you to file a complaint with the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, but you have no idea what this agency does. Let's take a look at what this agency is all about, and we'll revisit this case a bit later.

What is the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency?

The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) was founded in 2002 and serves the workers and employers of California. The mission of the agency is to guide and improve California's workforce by providing services, benefits, and training, while simultaneously ensuring compliance through enforcement of California labor laws. The agency has two primary goals:

  1. To enhance worker access to jobs and training opportunities
  2. To enforce fair business practices so employees and employers are operating in environments where they can reach their full potential

The Seven Departments of the California LWDA

The California LWDA is responsible for overseeing seven different internal departments, each of which have their own specialized functions and responsibilities. These departments and their functions are:

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