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Strategic Vision:  Where Does Calbright Go From Here?

As Calbright College prepares to take its next big steps, you can see its future by reviewing its past. 

Calbright has always been a different kind of community college:

  • It’s free,
  • It uses a flexible Competency-Based Education model that allows students to study at their own pace and time,
  • It awards career-focused certificates that can be earned in under a year and align with industry standards for upwardly mobile jobs, and
  • Its programs are focused on the needs of working adults without a college degree, but it accepts all adult Californians with a high school diploma. 

While it retains all those unique offerings, Calbright has changed significantly over the last three years. Between mid-2021 and January of 2024, Calbright has:

  • Grown from fewer than 500 students to over 4,000,
  • Increased certificates awarded from 100  to almost 500, and
  • Doubled program offerings.

In 2024, Calbright enters into a new period, with a new Strategic Vision, and a new set of goals. Where does it go from here?

Some of its challenges are to continue innovating and developing its unique model, but others are nuts-and-bolts changes that will impact every aspect of college operations by 2027.

Between now and 2027, Calbright’s goals include:

  • Growing its student body by 25% annually, to 7,000 students,
  • Increasing the number of certificates awarded by 12% annually, to roughly 300 students completing the program each year, and
  • Launching an average of two new programs a year.

All that growth, while maintaining and even expanding its unique education model.  

That’s what it’s going to take for Calbright to thrive in its mission, set by the California state legislature, to support the millions of “stranded workers” in California. Workers who are underemployed, who have the drive and ambition to change their careers and improve their lives, but not the opportunity to get the education which makes that possible. By designing its programs around the needs of working adults – letting them study on their own time and schedule, by making it free, by making it accessible, by making it fast and career focused, by providing the support they need — Calbright provides the opportunity they’ve been looking for.

Calbright’s task is to keep and enhance what makes it unique, what we’ve proven works, while scaling up.

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