For the last three years, we’ve come together around bold goals to improve student outcomes, including closing achievement gaps, increasing degree and certificate attainment and transfers to four-year institutions, reducing excess unit accumulation by students, and securing gainful employment. Our efforts are guided by the core belief that colleges should simplify paths to educational goals and help students stay on those paths until completion.

  • 1. Over five years, increase by at least 20 percent the number of California Community College students annually who acquire associate degrees, credentials, certificates, or specific skill sets that prepare them for an in-demand job.

    This increase is needed to meet future workforce demand in California, as analyzed by the Centers of Excellence for Labor Market Research. This goal is consistent with the recommendations of the California Strategic Workforce Development Plan. Equally important to the number of students served will be the type of education they receive: programs, awards, and course sequences need to match the needs of regional economies and employers.
  • 2. Over five years, increase by 35 percent the number of California Community College students transferring annually to a UC or CSU.

    This is the increase needed to meet California’s future workforce demand for bachelor’s degrees, as projected by the Public Policy Institute of California. (In California, occupations requiring bachelor’s degrees are growing even faster than jobs requiring associate degrees or less college.) Meeting this aggressive goal will require the full engagement and partnership of CSU and UC. While ambitious, the pace of improvement envisioned in this goal is not unprecedented: between 2012-13 and 2015-16 (a three-year period), California Community College to CSU transfers increased by 32 percent and between Fall 1999 and Fall 2005 (a six-year period), California Community College to UC transfers increased by 40 percent.
  • 3. Over five years, decrease the average number of units accumulated by California Community College students earning associate degrees.

    Decrease from approximately 87 total units (the most recent system-wide average) to 79 total units—the average among the quintile of colleges showing the strongest performance on this measure. (Associate degrees typically require 60 units.) Reducing the average number of units-to-degree will help more students reach their educational goals sooner, and at less cost to them. It will also free up taxpayer dollars that can be put toward serving more students.
  • 4. Over five years, increase the percent of exiting CTE students who report being employed in their field of study.

    Increase from the most recent statewide average of 60 percent to an improved rate of 76 percent—the average among the quintile of colleges showing the strongest performance on this measure and ensure the median earning gains of the exiting students are at least twice the statewide consumer price index. Improvements on this measure would indicate that colleges are providing career education programs that prepare students for available jobs and offering supports that help students find jobs.
  • 5. Reduce equity gaps across all of the above measures through faster improvements among traditionally underrepresented student groups.

    Reduce equity gaps with the goal of cutting achievement gaps by 40 percent within 5 years and fully closing those achievement gaps within 10 years. 
  • 6. Over five years, reduce regional achievement gaps across all of the above measures through faster improvements among colleges located in regions with the lowest educational attainment of adults.

    Reduce regional achievement gaps with the ultimate goal of fully closing regional achievement gaps within 10 years.

Core Commitments

We’re committed to realizing shared goals but also recognize that there are many paths to get there. We continue to find ways to support people on those diverse paths. Our institutions serve college students who face some of the greatest challenges, but also demonstrate the greatest resilience. We need to continue to deliver high-quality support that responds to the evolving needs of students and the current and future workforce. The seven points on this page represent our core commitments that will help us deliver on our goals.

  • 1. Focus relentlessly on students’ end goals.

    Getting students to their individual educational goals—whether a degree, certificate, transfer, or specific skill set—should be the explicit focus of the California Community Colleges. More than just offering courses, colleges need to be offering pathways to specific outcomes and providing supports for students to stay on those paths until completion.
  • 2. Always design and decide with the student in mind.

    Colleges need to make it easy for all students, including working adults, to access the courses and services they need. Students should not bear the burden of misaligned policies between education systems.
  • 3. Pair high expectations with high support.

    Students should be encouraged to go “all in” on their education, with support to meet their personal and academic challenges. Assessment and placement practices must be reformed so that students are placed at the highest appropriate course level, with ample supports to help them succeed.
  • 4. Foster the use of data, inquiry, and evidence.

    Data analysis should be a regular practice used for improving services at all levels, not a compliance activity. Decisions should be based on evidence, not anecdotes or hunches.
  • 5. Take ownership of goals and performance.

    The California Community College system should be rigorously transparent about its performance, own its challenges, and adopt a solution-oriented mindset to those things it can control. Goals should be used to motivate and provide direction, not punish.
  • 6. Enable action and thoughtful innovation.

    Moving the needle on student outcomes will require calculated risk, careful monitoring, and acceptance that failures will sometimes happen. Innovation should be thoughtful and aligned with goals; results should be tracked early and often.
  • 7. Lead the work of partnering across systems.

    Education leaders across the education systems and workforce development systems need to meet much more frequently, in more depth, and with more personnel dedicated to the task. By working together these systems can strengthen pathways for students and improve results.