Calbright College Receives Support from Diverse, Statewide Coalition 

Over 20 California Organizations Share Statements in Support of Calbright’s Mission

Sacramento, Calif., June 13, 2023 – In recognition of Calbright College’s notable growth and progress in recent years—enrollment more than doubled in the 2022-2023 academic year—the College has received support from diverse entities across the state. As California approaches the finalization of the 2023-2024 state budget, supporters in sectors from business to labor to workforce development have made it clear: Calbright fills a critical, statewide need to create learning and economic opportunities for nontraditional learners – or the 6.8 million Californians between ages 25-54 bearing a high school diploma and no college degree and those who have fallen through the cracks in the economy.  

“Amidst continued economic variability and uncertainty, Californians need more flexible and affordable post secondary learning options,” said Ajita Talwalker Menon, president and CEO of Calbright College. “Nine in ten Calbright students cite our model as the reason they were able to access their program, and I’m proud to collaborate with so many diverse California organizations that stand behind this model and recognize Calbright’s role as a statewide workforce catalyst in support of California’s long term prosperity and national leadership.”

Since its inception, Calbright has either met, or is on track to meet, every milestone outlined in its founding legislation. Calbright’s student body grew from roughly 1,000 students to more than 2,800 between July 2022 and June 2023. More than nine in ten students are over the age of 25 years old—more than double the California Community Colleges system’s rate—and they come from across the state, including 47 of California’s 58 counties and 27 of 40 rural counties. 

Calbright’s continued growth and positive trajectory recently prompted supportive statements regarding the College’s accessible, workforce-focused, and tuition-free education for adult Californians:

“Calbright embodies California’s student-centered values — meeting working students where they are, expanding lifelong learning, and setting graduates up for success in a career,” Ben Chida, the governor’s chief deputy cabinet secretary, said to Higher Ed Dive. “It’s exciting to see real lives being improved.”

“While other institutions may offer online programs, they are not competency-based nor do they fully address the barriers that prevent students—adult students specifically—from attending college,” said Arnold Sowell, Jr., executive director of NexGen California. “Recognizing the responsibilities these students juggle outside of their coursework including balancing family and work life, Calbright offers an accessible (their programs are currently no cost to Californians) and skills-based education designed to fit into students’ schedules.”

Additional organizations and individuals who shared statements of support for Calbright include: 

Bay Area Council; California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office; California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy; Community College League of California; Cooperative Economic Empowerment Movement (CEEM); Fresno Regional Workforce Development Board; Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP); Kern Community College District; Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; North Bay Leadership Council; Sacramento Black Chamber of Commerce; Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board; San Joaquin A+; SEIU-UHW; South Bay Workforce Investment Board; St. HOPE; and UNITE-LA.

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