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Higher Education as a Driver of Economic Mobility

By Hans Johnson, Marisol Cuellar Mejia, Sarah Bohn

Higher education is key in helping Californians move up the income ladder—but equity gaps are a big challenge. Among young adults born in California, 60% of Asian Americans and 40% of whites have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared to 21% of African Americans and 18% of Latinos.


Stackable Credentials in Career Education at California Community Colleges

By Sarah Bohn, Shannon McConville

California is investing in career education programs at its community colleges. Stackable credentials are a key component—students who “stack” multiple, related awards can build skills and increase earnings over time. We need to know more about how well-designed stackable credential programs help students succeed.


Reducing Child Poverty in California: A Look at Housing Costs, Wages, and the Safety Net

By Sarah Bohn, Caroline Danielson

Nearly a quarter of young children in California live in poverty—a fact that has profound educational, health, and economic repercussions now and in the long term. High housing costs and low wages are key barriers to reducing the prevalence of child poverty. Lawmakers have taken action to address these issues: the minimum wage is slated to increase to $15 an hour by 2022, and recently enacted laws aim to ease the state’s housing crisis.


Meeting California’s Need for College Graduates: A Regional Perspective

By Hans Johnson, Kevin Cook, Marisol Cuellar Mejia

Los Angeles County, the Inland Empire, and the San Joaquin Valley will play a critical role in whether California can keep up with the economy’s growing need for college graduates. Colleges and universities in these regions will need to work together to boost graduation rates, while enrolling more freshmen and transferring more students.


Career Technical Education in Health: An Overview of Student Success at California’s Community Colleges

By Shannon McConville, Sarah Bohn, Landon Gibson

Health programs at California’s community colleges attract a large and diverse set of students and are linked to growing job opportunities in a generally well-paying industry for Californians with less than a bachelor’s degree. Many community college students who have earned career tech credentials in health care over the past decade have seen sizeable wage gains. Efforts to increase completion rates and close achievement gaps can expand access to health careers while helping the state meet its workforce needs.

This research was supported with funding from the Sutton Family Fund.


Health Training Pathways at California’s Community Colleges

By Shannon McConville, Sarah Bohn, Landon Gibson

State and federal policymakers looking to improve economic mobility and meet workforce needs have renewed their focus on career technical education. Health training is of particular interest—California’s community colleges offer a range of health programs and credentials and demand is growing for health workers with some college training. Students who earn shorter-term health credentials tend to see relatively low wage gains, and relatively few return to school to pursue higher-level training. Targeted outreach and support could help more students move along pathways to higher earnings.

This research was supported with funding from the ECMC Foundation and the Sutton Family Fund.


Income Inequality and the Safety Net in California

By Caroline Danielson, Sarah Bohn

Income inequality has been growing for decades, in California and the nation as a whole. In recent years, inequality—and the role of policy in addressing it—has become a major focus of public debate. This report documents the polarization of incomes across the state and shows how social safety net programs mitigate inequality.

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