California Economic Summit on Community College Chancellor Search

150 150 Ed Coghlan

(Photo credit: John Walker/Flickr)

“California must significantly improve the knowledge, skills and abilities of young adults for the economy to thrive and to meaningfully reduce the income gap.”

Those words are from a letter co-signed by 13 members of the California Economic Summit Workforce and Advancing Manufacturing teams delivered Wednesday to the California Community Board of Governors regarding the search for a new state Chancellor.

Chancellor Brice Harris will retire in April.

The Board of Governors met in Sacramento Wednesday afternoon where it invited input on the position description for the chancellor search.

The California Economic Summit network actively engaged with the Task Force on Workforce, Job Creation and a Strong Economy.  As partners in regional convenings and through representation on the Task Force, the Summit’s civic and business leaders have indicated their full support and will continue to assist in implementation of those recommendations.

“California spends billions of dollars on workforce development programs that could better serve students and employers,” said Jim Mayer, California Forward CEO. “Continued progress is critical to the self-sufficiency of individuals and their families, the vibrancy of communities and the resiliency regional economies, and a reducing in income disparity.”

The letter urges President Geoffrey Baum and Vice President Cecilia Estolano to select a Chancellor committed to accelerating the alignment between employers and educational and training institutions to improve meeting workforce needs while benefiting students and their families.  Vice-President Estolano is chair of the search committee.

“We welcome an opportunity to be meaningfully involved in the selection process,” said Alma Salazar, Vice President of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and one of the letter co-signers. “The community colleges play an integral role in how California addresses the shortage of middle skill workers.”

The letter says the next Chancellor must provide continued courageous and visionary leadership to expand and deepen the implementation of the Task Force recommendations, which will require the following:

  • Experience shepherding change in a consensus environment.
  • Diversity in management experience, either within or outside California, exhibiting leadership agility in the face of unknowns.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the good use of data to inform actions and accountability.
  • Willingness to address serious problems posed by disparities in outcomes across social, racial and ethnic groups.
  • Commitment to strengthening the intersegmental coordination and cooperation among the California Department of Education, the California Workforce Development Board, industry leaders and other system partners.

The California Economic Summit is a partnership of California Forward and the California Stewardship Network focused on aligning champions in support of a triple-bottom-line strategy to attract investment, promote sustainable growth and restore economic opportunity. Business and civic leaders in sixteen regions around the state and the more than 700 experts and advocates have contributed to the Summit’s agenda in the Roadmap to Shared Prosperity and will focus on implementation in 2016.


Ed Coghlan

All stories by: Ed Coghlan