VIDEO: California’s next governor talks about the promise of community colleges

580 200 John Guenther

The next person to become governor faces tough challenges to the ideal of a California Dream for everybody, including making sure the state's higher education system can help students succeed in a rapidly changing economy.

Over the last several months, CA Fwd and the California Economic Summit helped lead a conversation about the future of work and have spoken to candidates, employers, educators, and others about how to build more training pathways to jobs that pay well.

In the latest CA Fwd video, both of the remaining candidates for California governor talk about how the state's community colleges could improve on the promise of providing an affordable pathway to good jobs in each region.

In an effort to boost student success and better prepare the state's workforce, the Colleges will experience some radical changes, like launching an online-only community college and putting in place a funding formula to increase the number of students completing programs.

The online college is intended to fill education and training gaps for people without the ability to attend traditional career education at brick-and-mortar schools. The first program announced as part of the new college will be a pathway into a health care industry as a medical coder.

The funding formula reform aims to tie some funds to graduation levels rather than just enrollment numbers alone. Here's more about the concept from Dr. Kindred Murillo, superintendent/president of Southwestern College:

“By prioritizing low-income and underrepresented students and recognizing student success, the proposed equitable approach allows colleges to combine enrollment figures with additional resources to truly help low-income and underserved students meet their educational goals.

In fact, half of all students fail to complete a certificate or degree after six years, with the rates for students of color even more concerning—only four in ten black and Latino students complete their goals.”

To help students also find success post-graduation, CA Fwd and the Summit co-hosted this past spring the Future of Work MeetUps, a series of workforce-themed conversations across the state to engage employers and others in talking about better ways to train students for important industries in each region.

Ahead of these efforts, Governor Brown and the Legislature also approved last year a bill aimed at providing free tuition to all full-time first-year students for their first year.

Free tuition and the community colleges were topics both John Cox and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom (plus more elected officials, education leaders, workforce development leaders, and others) discussed during conversations at last year's California Economic Summit. Watch the above video for more from the candidates.

(Photo Credit: Violeta Vaquiero/CAFwd)

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John Guenther

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