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Community College Push

California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley believes community colleges must do a better job preparing Californians for the state’s future workforce.

“There is a clear need for more workers to gain access to skills and credentials,” Oakley says. “And if we (the community colleges) can’t organize ourselves in a way that catches up with that demand, then we are going to make ourselves irrelevant.”

California’s community colleges educate more than 2 million students. Unfortunately, in 2016, just 48 percent of students who enrolled at a California community college left with a degree, certificate, or transferred after six years.

What’s more, students who eventually complete an associate’s degree take on average 5.2 years. This, of course, is considerably longer than the two-year timeframe the degree is expected to take when initially established. Also, two years is the length of time many students and their families think it should take.

Another current problem at community colleges is that students often accumulate far more course units than they need to earn a certificate or to transfer to a four-year college. These excess units drive up costs both for students and taxpayers. This problem also impedes the progress of other students who need the same courses.

For 10,000 Degrees community college students, in conjunction with recent funding secured by the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation grant, our College Success staff work one-on-one with our students to help mitigate these inefficiencies, so they can reach their educational goals in a timely manner.

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