An African American man instructing a Caucasian student on how to repair a diesel engine. He is teaching a class in a vocational school, for learning the auto mechanic trade. They are kneeling by an engine block which is color-coded for the classroom.

California Announces Major Support for Career Education and Working Adults

Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order to remove barriers for state jobs by directing the California Department of Human Resources to evaluate positions for which a bachelor’s degree remains a job-related educational requirement. The goal would be for state agencies to no longer require college degrees when hiring for jobs where a degree is unnecessary to perform the role’s duties. 

“All families, students, and workers deserve the freedom to succeed: to build real-life skills and pursue careers — including those that don’t require college degrees,” Governor Newsom said. “California is leveraging billions of dollars in investments to prepare students and workers for good-paying, long-lasting, and fulfilling careers.”

Nationwide, an estimated 100 million people are shut out of good jobs for reasons that have nothing to do with their ability to excel. These reasons range from people not having a four-year degree to people with criminal records and prejudicial hiring practices against people of color and women. In California, 6.8 million people from ages 25 to 54 are estimated to have a high school diploma but no college degree, and many of them are unable to access good jobs.

This hurts both the excluded individuals and businesses that need qualified workers. Research clearly shows exclusion of populations from economic prosperity creates a drag on the economy as a whole – while opening doors to traditionally disenfranchised populations creates economic growth for everyone

That’s why California’s taking action.

“California is preparing for shifts in the labor market and investing billions of dollars in career pathways initiatives to address key areas of need — worker shortages in the health and care economy, expanding construction careers to meet gaps, removing barriers to employment for diverse communities, developing the educator workforce, and removing silos and increasing connection between education systems and the workforce,” a statement from the Governor’s office said.  

The executive order also launches a new career education effort to prepare students and adults for the workforce of tomorrow, calling on stakeholders such as the state’s public education system, business groups, and labor unions to collaborate and develop a Master Plan for Career Education in California.

California is the 16th state to formally announce that it is reducing employment barriers at state agencies. It joins a growing movement of states and businesses which believe that for many positions, the skills a potential employee has are more important than any degree.

Calbright College is one part of California’s effort to connect workers with better jobs. In fact, bridging the gap between employers and potential employees is part of its DNA. 

“Governor Newsom’s new executive order sends a strong message that workforce development is a critical factor in strengthening the California economy. At Calbright, we’re thrilled to see the Governor’s office aligned with our own mission of supporting adult learners and creating better career pathways,” said Michael Younger, vice president of workforce, strategy, and innovation at Calbright College. “At the end of their programs, Calbright graduates are prepared with the durable, in-demand skills and industry-recognized certifications to enter the workforce and advance their experience – with no degree necessary. We’re committed to driving economic mobility for our students and graduates, and this executive order makes clear that we’re not alone in this fight.”

As a free, online, community college, Calbright uses a Competency-Based Education model to offer flexible classes that students can take on their own time, at a pace that is right for them. Instead of offering traditional degrees, the College offers training for industry valued certifications that can be earned in less than a year, preparing students for careers in fields like IT Support, Cybersecurity, and CRM Platform Administration. Graduating students are qualified for upwardly mobile jobs like Salesforce Administrators, IT Support Technicians, Security Analysts, and Cloud Administrators.

Calbright also plans to launch its newest program, Data Analysis, on September 18, 2023.

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