California lawmakers have made large state investments—totaling more than $1 billion over the past five years—to support and expand career education. As the primary provider of career training in the state, California’s community college system was the recipient of much investment in this area, and their creation of the Strong Workforce program has established an ongoing source of funding to continue this work.
To assist policymakers, practitioners, and students to better understand how career education programs can meet regional workforce needs and connect students to well-paying, in-demand jobs, PPIC has engaged in a multi-year research agenda focused on community college career education pathways. We highlight our work in this area in a recent article, Strengthening Career Pathways in California’s Community Colleges, in Techniques magazine, a national publication that provides career education faculty and practitioners with timely analysis and insights to inform the delivery of high quality career education programs.
The article highlights recent research from PPIC’s Higher Education Center on the structure of career education pathways and their value to the students who complete them. Since many career education students are older than typical college-age students—and are likely to have work or family obligations (or both)—the article also highlights how various reforms being enacted by the community colleges could help students complete career training pathways, with a focus on the new online-only college, CalBright, that began enrolling students for the first time in October 2019.