California has a big workforce challenge ahead of it. The state needs to produce 1 million more college degrees and 1 million more middle-skill employees over the next decade. This workforce challenge was a major theme at the recent California Economic Summit annual meeting in Ontario.
Employers are looking to higher education, including the community colleges, the California State University system, and the University of California system to address this critical need.
The Summit attracted many major statewide leaders including California State University Chancellor Timothy White, who has served in his current role since 2012. He’s been embroiled in a workforce challenge of his own recently, as he and CSU faculty are engaging in tense negotiations that could result in a work stoppage in 2016.
Chancellor White recently likened the need for 1 million additional bachelor degrees to the California drought. It’s a challenge that he said requires three parts: a “strong commitment to stable and strong funding from the state, a strong partnership across the educational continuum on college preparation and readiness, and a strong push from the CSU.”
“That is our next drought.,” said White in an op-ed in the Fresno Bee. “A drought of talented citizens who are armed with the applied knowledge and analytical soft skills that sustain economic growth.”
Creating more public support and support from industry for the CSU mission has been one of White’s priorities, as he told California Forward in a recent interview at the 2015 California Economic Summit.