California Community College Fully Online Community College - Jan. 11, 2018
Driving Social and Economic Mobility
A special edition e-newsletter highlighting California Community Colleges
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On Wednesday, Gov. Jerry Brown released his 2018-19 budget proposal, which continues to invest in the California Community Colleges in alignment with the system’s Vision for Success. Of particular note is the shared commitment by the governor and Board of Governors to better serve working adults. To that end, the governor is moving forward with a fully online community college that would operate under a new college district administered by the Chancellor’s Office.
Too many Californians find themselves economically and educationally stranded in today’s economy.
By 2020, 65 percent of jobs in the U.S. will require a college credential, according to estimates by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce. Artificial intelligence, the rise of the gig economy and automation are changing the future of work and the skillsets needed to succeed. There are 2.5 million adults in the prime working ages of 25 to 34 who have only a high school diploma or some college but no degree. The vast majority are working and cannot access our traditional college programs.
The California Community Colleges will lead the way for these working learners with a fully online college to provide skills and credentials they need to improve their social and economic mobility and move our state forward. This new, competency-based online college will be unlike any other public online education platform and will focus predominately on sub-associate degree credentials of value tailored to the needs of this population.
The online college will not compete for students already being served by community colleges because these working learners cannot and do not access our traditional college programs.
Gov. Brown summed it up nicely: "This is targeted to several million people who could upgrade their skills by taking online courses and maintaining their employment, which they really need.”
The governor is showing true leadership and tremendous confidence in our system, and we will fully commit to seeing this approach help more working Californians succeed in this economy. A broad coalition made up of representatives of organized labor, employer groups, educators as well as public policy and social justice organizations has already come out in public support of this approach.
We are also heartened to see the governor propose $46 million to fund legislation from last year to support first-time, full-time students through the California College Promise. If approved, these funds would be distributed to community college districts that satisfy program requirements. The California College Promise, with its component state and local support structures, are strengthening the college-going culture across our state.
The governor also is proposing important changes to the way community colleges in California are funded overall, with a greater focus on student outcomes and more flexibility for colleges.
Finally, I would like to touch on a decision made earlier this week by a federal district court in California granting an injunction against the Trump administration’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA allows individuals who were brought into the United States without documentation as children to remain in the United States, to work, and to get an education and receive financial aid.
The Board of Governors for the California Community Colleges and I strongly supported this litigation, and are pleased with this week’s court decision. We understand that the ruling will be appealed. Nevertheless, individuals who are due to renew their DACA status, including those who have been unable to renew in recent months, should apply immediately.