Our fellow California colleges, and their students, are facing profoundly difficult challenges. In what one university system official called “thoughtful and intentional anarchy,” thousands of professors are moving their classes online on short notice, doing the best they can in circumstances no one should have to face.
They do this as administrators have to make the difficult choices about whether to keep dorm and cafeterias and whole campuses open, either risking the further spread of the virus or stranding their students without vital lifelines they depend on
There are no easy choices or clear right answers, not just because there’s so much we still don’t know about how the coronavirus has spread through California, but because of course our college systems weren’t designed to deal with the onslaught of a sudden pandemic. There is no button that can be pushed, no blueprint that can be followed. Even so, the scale and scope of what they’re doing is extraordinary.
At Calbright, our systems were designed to meet other challenges – we are no more “prepared” for this pandemic than anyone else – but we are incredibly fortunate that the solutions we did develop for California’s many “stranded workers,” such as free, exclusively online, entirely self-paced, coursework, can help provide a template for moving forward.
But we are also humbled at the scope of the challenge that is now looming before us.
Over 3 million Americans have just applied for unemployment benefits. California alone has seen over 1 million people apply for unemployment in the last two weeks.
Our mission is to prepare any of them who want our assistance with both training and help finding not just a new job, but a new, upwardly mobile, job. It was a difficult challenge when we were established, at the end of 2018, and when we opened for our first beta cohort just five months ago.
Now, it is potentially crucial – and potentially far more difficult. We are humbled by the scope of the challenge in front of us.
But it is our mission, and we are dedicated to living up to this moment with the same determination that we are seeing in college campuses across California, as they struggle to meet the challenges in front of them. A sense of purpose and urgency unites us. We are all in this together.