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SACRAMENTO, CA — Calbright College, California’s first and only fully online public community college, in March exceeded a student body of 1,000 students for the first time in its history. Open for less than three years, the 1,010+ students represent a 110% increase from July 2021 and are enrolled in one of four programs: IT Support, Cybersecurity, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), or Medical Coding.

The College’s CRM program, which launched under new leadership as a pilot in the spring of 2021 and then to the public in late summer, has grown from 30 students to 250 at present.

Calbright is designed around a pioneering concept: publicly funded, low-to-no cost online certificate programs based on mastery of skills related to specific job functions. The College is designed for nontraditional adult learners and those who have fallen through the cracks of the state’s economy. Calbright’s intense focus on this population is especially urgent in light of the state’s recovery from the pandemic, as many Californians are still experiencing unemployment, working multiple retail or gig economy jobs to make ends meet, and/or living in areas where the coronavirus remains active. As of February 28, 2022:

  • 80% of Calbright students identify as Black, Indigenous, or people of color.
  • Students represent 40 counties across California, including 22 rural counties.
  • 92.2% of students are 25+ years old (compared to approximately 42% across the CA Community Colleges system); median age is late 30s.
  • 40% of students are currently unemployed, 7% are working two or more jobs, and 31% are displaced workers who recently experienced job loss or a reduction in hours.
  • 32% of students are parents or caregivers (compared to approximately 10% across the CA Community Colleges system)

Increasing educational opportunities in California will better prepare the state and its communities for success in the changing economy. The College is currently in the process of applying for accreditation, a year ahead of schedule, and as Calbright moves into a new phase of high-quality, sustained growth, the College plans to launch additional programs in healthcare and technology that are linked to in-demand workforce needs to support a more equitable economic recovery across the state. 

Taylor Huckaby


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