I’d like to share with you something that is near and dear to my heart — providing affordable and convenient ways for individuals to receive a top-notch technical education. Let me explain and provide some background.
Building a strong, local workforce is one of the most important things we can do to keep companies in California and help them thrive. To accomplish this, higher education must become more affordable and accessible. According to the California Community College Baccalaureate Degree Study Group, our state colleges will need to increase the number of bachelor’s degrees they award annually by almost 60,000 to meet the projected demand for highly skilled workers in 2025.
It makes sense, therefore, to allow community colleges to offer certain specialized four-year degree programs, which will increase California’s supply of highly skilled workers in technical fields. Employers will get the skilled talent they need in fields like automotive technology, respiratory therapy, homeland security, and dental hygiene, and students will get educated and into jobs with less debt. Those who are already in the labor force and want to upgrade their skills will also find it easier to access an affordable, local, four-year program that satisfies their requirements.
Senate Bill 850 (SB 850) proposes to set up a pilot program allowing some of California's community college districts to offer one bachelor’s degree program per campus to serve an unmet need in the area without duplicating programs at nearby state colleges and universities.
The Bill is currently in session — meaning that it was approved by the California Senate Education Committee and is moving forward through the State legislature. Progress is at hand! I am optimistic that the day is near when California will join the 21 other states that allow this, and truly build a qualified workforce that meets both our current and future business needs.
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More than fifty years ago, forward-thinking high-tech employees at Fairchild Semiconductor knew there was a better way to bank.