With Clean California, Caltrans and Butte County Office of Education Expand Back 2 Work Program to Hire 4,000 Workers in Underserved Communities Statewide


Caltrans Contact: Tamie McGowen
Caltrans Contact:
Will Arnold

Phone: (916) 956-0633


BCOE Contact: Jacqueline Dillard
Phone: (530) 712-2244

Four logos representing Caltrans, Clean California, the Butte County Office of Education "Where Students Come First," and Back 2 Work.

Partnership Provides Transitional Employment Opportunities in Beautifying State Highways and Litter Removal

Sacramento – Through an expanded partnership between Caltrans and the Butte County Office of Education (BCOE) Back 2 Work Program, thousands of underserved and often-marginalized Californians are finding paths to gainful employment and a fresh start thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Clean California initiative, a sweeping $1.1 billion, multiyear clean-up effort led by Caltrans to remove trash, create thousands of jobs and engage communities to transform public spaces. 
Through BCOE’s Back 2 Work Program, participants who have experienced homelessness, re-entered society after incarceration, or encountered barriers to finding employment learn life and job skills and receive temporary paid employment, job placement assistance and social services in counties throughout California. 


“The Back 2 Work program has truly impacted my life by allowing me not only to have a career and a second chance – at life and work – but also in introducing me to some great people. If you have ambition, initiative and drive, the Back 2 Work Program can change your life like it has mine.”

Robert Kelso, Caltrans Maintenance Worker who found a job with the Back 2 Work Program soon after his release from incarceration

Caltrans has partnered with BCOE since 2013 to offer skills training, employment opportunities and social services, assisting nearly 10,000 people to overcome poverty and improve their lives.  
BCOE’s Back 2 Work crews support Caltrans in collecting and disposing of litter and debris along the state highway system. Building on the success of this partnership, Caltrans significantly expanded the program in 2021, signing a $127 million contract with BCOE – funded by Clean California – to hire 82 additional Back 2 Work crews statewide. Each crew has an estimated 50 participants annually, providing more than 4,000 people with the opportunity to reintegrate back into the workforce. Additional Clean California job postings are available on 


“Back 2 Work provides people in need with the necessary tools and opportunity to succeed in life. For those served, being successful can mean so much – reuniting families, breaking systemic cycles, going back to school, and providing for themselves in a way they couldn't before. We are incredibly thankful for the partnership between Back 2 Work and Caltrans, which will benefit every person throughout California in some way.”

Keith Lane, Senior Director of the BCOE Back 2 Work Program

Litter removal by BCOE’s Back 2 Work crews allow Caltrans maintenance crews to concentrate on public safety, maintenance and other critical efforts that keep people and goods moving safely along California’s transportation network.


“Clean California is benefiting communities throughout the state – removing litter and beautifying public spaces – and its transformational impact extends beyond our roadsides. The Back 2 Work Program is helping thousands of Californians overcome poverty, learn important skills and rebuild their lives.”

Steven Keck, Caltrans Acting Director

“People need to know that there is hope for all of us. If you are willing to dig deep, try hard and be positive, there are people willing to help you come out of wherever you are. I went from being homeless as child to foster care and now I am a foster parent. The Caltrans and BCOE partnership saved my life.”

Rudy Contreras, Caltrans Maintenance Supervisor and former Back 2 Work participant

Since launching Clean California in July, Caltrans has removed nearly 650,000 cubic yards of litter from state highways – the equivalent of more than 10,800 tons or enough to fill 197 Olympic-size swimming pools – and hired 708 new team members as part of Clean California, including 546 maintenance workers who collect litter and remove graffiti. 


For more information, visit CleanCA.com and the Back 2 Work website. 


Three workers in fluorescent yellow vests and white or yellow hardhats add trash to a pile between a fenceline and the garbage truck that will haul it away.

Three workers wearing gloves, orange hardhats, and fluorescent yellow shirts and vests use grabber tools to pluck roadside trash off the ground for removal in orange garbage bags, as they work to beautify the highway,Near a chain link fence, two workers in reflective yellow vests and white hardhats rake up leaves and litter for removal.

BCOE Back 2 Work crews are working with Caltrans and finding paths to gainful employment thanks to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Clean California initiative 


Maintenance Worker Robert Kelso smiles in a reflective fluorescent orange sweatshirt and sunglasses as he poses in front of a large Caltrans truck.

Caltrans Maintenance Worker Robert Kelso found a job with the Back 2 Work Program in Fresno soon after his release from incarceration. Formerly homeless, Kelso was recently able to buy a home after being hired at Caltrans.