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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
March 28, 2024

Dear County and District Superintendents and Charter School Administrators:

Workforce Readiness Week (April 29 to May 3, 2024) and May is Labor History Month

On behalf of the California Department of Education (CDE), I am reaching out to share that California will be observing Workforce Readiness Week in our schools during the week of April 29 to May 3, 2024, and that we will be celebrating Labor History Month throughout the month of May.

These observances are unique opportunities for schools to elevate the importance of workplace justice and for students to study age-appropriate lessons about the critical history of the labor movement in our state. I encourage all educators to take advantage of this celebration by honoring the women and men who built this state and by celebrating the essential workers who bring food to our tables, provide care for our families, and keep our state infrastructure operating.

This year, we implement Assembly Bill (AB) 800 (Ortega) in all California public schools. AB 800 requires that all California public schools provide students in grades eleven and twelve with essential information about their rights as workers through grade-appropriate lessons during Workforce Readiness Week. The CDE is proud to partner with the University of California at Berkeley to provide a suite of resources designed to provide teachers with resources to meet the provisions of AB 800 during Workforce Readiness Week. The teaching tools assist with ensuring that all eleventh and twelfth grade students have access to information and resources related to the key elements of workforce preparation focused on their rights as workers. At a minimum, every classroom or school site must provide information on the following topics during the week of April 29:

Local, state, and federal laws regarding each of the following issues:

(A) Prohibitions against misclassification of employees as independent contractors.
(B) Child labor.
(C) Wage and hour protections.
(D) Worker safety.
(E) Workers’ compensation.
(F) Unemployment insurance.
(G) Paid Sick Leave, Paid Family Leave, State Disability Insurance, and the California Family Rights Act.
(H) The right to organize a union in the workplace.
(I) Prohibitions against retaliation by employers when workers exercise these or any other rights guaranteed by law.

As your State Superintendent, I believe that we have an educational and ethical responsibility to provide students with relevant information that will minimize the chance they will be exploited in the workplace. I encourage all high school educators to utilize the vital resources that are available through the Young Worker Health and Safety website at and the California Labor Federation’s website at Finally, important information is available in the California Department of Industrial Relations’ Child Labor Law pamphlet:

As I write to you, we are preparing to the honor the life and legacy of Cesar Chavez on his birthday, which is now—appropriately—a state holiday. Chavez’s life work was rooted in a mission for racial and social justice that centered on farm workers’ struggle against exploitation in the California fields that provide fruits and vegetables to the nation. Chavez taught us that only when we elevate the rights and dignity of every worker can we realize the potential of our humanity. He taught us that change is only possible through solidarity.

Exploitation of young workers is real, and it has dire consequences for not only their health and wellness but also for their educational trajectory. We can all honor Chavez’s legacy by implementing AB 800 with fidelity and celebrating the contributions of organized labor during the week starting April 29 and continuing throughout the month of May.

I expect that all California high schools will use the materials referenced to provide high-quality educational opportunities for Workforce Readiness Week.

If you have any questions about the implementation of AB 800 or the resources available, please contact Peter Callas, Director of the CDE Career and College Transition Division, at or Erle Hall, Education Programs Consultant in the CDE Career Technical Education Leadership Office, at  

Thank you in advance for making Workforce Readiness Week meaningful and powerful for our students. And thank you for all you and your teams do to support the transformation of public education in the Golden State.


Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Last Reviewed: Friday, March 29, 2024

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