Looking Ahead:
Goals for Meeting California's Needs

The success of California’s broader system of higher education and workforce development stands or falls with the California Community Colleges. To meet California’s needs, the California Community College system should strive to achieve the following goals by 2022:
  1. Over five years, increase by at least 20 percent the number of California Community College students annually who acquire associate degrees, credentials, certificates, or specific skill sets that prepare them for an in-demand job. This increase is needed to meet future workforce demand in California, as analyzed by the Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research. This goal is consistent with the recommendations of the California Strategic Workforce Development Plan. Equally important to the number of students served will be the type of education they receive: programs, awards, and course sequences need to match the needs of regional economies and employers.1
  2. Over five years, increase by 35 percent the number of California Community College students transferring annually to a UC or CSU. This is the increase needed to meet California’s future workforce demand for bachelor’s degrees, as projected by the Public Policy Institute of California. (In California, occupations requiring bachelor’s degrees are growing even faster than jobs requiring associate degrees or less college.) Meeting this aggressive goal will require the full engagement and partnership of CSU and UC. While ambitious, the pace of improvement envisioned in this goal is not unprecedented: between 2012-13 and 2015-16 (a three-year period), California Community College to CSU transfers increased by 32 percent and between Fall 1999 and Fall 2005 (a six-year period), California Community College to UC transfers increased by 40 percent.2
  3. Over five years, decrease the average number of units accumulated by California Community College students earning associate degrees, from approximately 87 total units (the most recent system-wide average) to 79 total units—the average among the quintile of colleges showing the strongest performance on this measure. (Associate degrees typically require 60 units.) Reducing the average number of units-to-degree will help more students reach their educational goals sooner, and at less cost to them. It will also free up taxpayer dollars that can be put toward serving more students.3
  4. Over five years, increase the percent of exiting CTE students who report being employed in their field of study, from the most recent statewide average of 60 percent to an improved rate of 76 percent—the average among the quintile of colleges showing the strongest performance on this measure and ensure the median earning gains of the exiting students are at least twice the statewide consumer price index. Improvements on this measure would indicate that colleges are providing career education programs that prepare students for available jobs and offering supports that help students find jobs.4
  5. Reduce equity gaps across all of the above measures through faster improvements among traditionally underrepresented student groups, with the goal of cutting achievement gaps by 40 percent within 5 years and fully closing those achievement gaps within 10 years. 
  6. Over five years, reduce regional achievement gaps across all of the above measures through faster improvements among colleges located in regions with the lowest educational attainment of adults, with the ultimate goal of fully closing regional achievement gaps within 10 years.

In order to reach the ambitious system-wide goals proposed above, each college will need to do its part. Many colleges have already set goals as part of a system-wide or local effort and do not need to start from scratch—they should continue to use their goals as planned. However, every college should ensure their goals are aligned with the systemwide priorities and goals above, to ensure that the entire system is moving in a consistent direction.

  1. Source of analysis: Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research, by special request (2017). Notes: According to the Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research, there were 102,761 associate degrees, certificates, credit and noncredit awards in career technical fields awarded in the California Community Colleges in 2015-16. Meeting this goal will require attention to whether the number and types of awards issued are a good match for the labor market. Unfortunately this cannot be easily assessed using currently available data sources. However, the number of awards issued, in combination with the goal on employment in field of study, will provide evidence about whether the goal is being met. Increased wage gains among skills-builders would also be evidence of the goal being met. Because of forthcoming changes in the way the state projects job openings, the Chancellor’s Office should revisit and revise this goal as appropriate in the coming years.

  2. Source of analysis: Johnson, H. “Testimony: Closing California’s Workforce Skills Gap” (Public Policy Institute of California Higher Education Center, May 18, 2016). http://www.ppic.org/main/blog_detail.asp?i=2050
    Additional analysis by Public Policy Institute of California, by special request (2017). Source of statement about growth in occupations requiring bachelor’s degrees: Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research, by special request (2017).
    Source of California Community College to CSU transfer data: California State University. “California Community College Transfers, By Institution of Origin” (options selected: “all” in all categories; accessed online June 2017). http://asd.calstate.edu/ccct/2015-2016/SummaryYear.asp
    Source of California Community College to UC transfer data: University of California. “Transfer fall admissions summary” (options selected: transfer enrollees, residency, CA community colleges; accessed online June 2017). https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/infocenter/transfer-admissions-summary
    Notes: The most recent year of available transfer data for both UC and CSU is 2015-16, showing that there were 13,549 California Community College transfers to UC in Fall 2015 and 58,272 CCC transfers to CSU in 2015-16. (Note: UC data for Fall 2016 were available at the time of this publication and showed a promising increase in the number of transfers. CSU data for 2016-17 were not yet available at the time of publication.)

  3. Source of analysis of statewide average and top quintile average: Foundation for California Community Colleges, by special request (2017). Source of raw data: California Community College Chancellor’s Office, by special request (2017). Notes: Analysis based on most recent year of data, 2015-16. Analysis includes total units for all students, excluding those student records showing degree attainment with less than 60 units, on the rationale that virtually all 2-year associate degrees require at least 60 units and the excluded records likely reflect a record-keeping anomaly.

  4. Source of analysis of statewide average and top quintile average: Santa Rosa Junior College, administrator of the CTE Outcomes Survey. Notes: The most recent administration of the CTE Outcomes Survey was 2016, with 68 colleges participating. (In future administrations, all colleges will participate.) Survey respondents are former California Community College students who received a CTE award or who took at least 9 units of CTE coursework, including at least one non-introductory course. Respondents counted as having employment in their field of study if they reported their job was “very closely” or “closely” classated to their CTE coursework. Percentage calculation includes in the denominator respondents who were unemployed at the time of the survey, but excludes students who had transferred to a 4-year university and were pursuing studies, students who reported taking their CTE coursework for non-employment reasons (e.g. personal enrichment), and students who skipped the question on the survey. For more information on the CTE Outcomes Survey, see https://cteos.santarosa.edu/

graduates at Citrus College

graduates at Citrus College

We’re measuring too many things—this is one of the challenges we have—all of the different metrics that we’re required to use. IEPI has metrics that we were required to set; ACCJC has its own metrics that we’re reporting on annually; we have goals in our equity plans and student success plans. Can’t we just focus on three or four big goals and align our programs to these?
— Mojdeh Mehdizadeh, President, Contra Costa College