New law opens door for more baccalaureate options at community colleges

San Diego Mesa College Health Information Management graduates participate in the launch ceremonies. Photo courtesy of the San Diego Community College District.

Legislation that makes it easier for community college students to earn bachelor’s degrees in specific areas of the workforce not offered by the University of California or California State University was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday. .

Assembly Bill 927 removes the 2026 expiration date for 15 existing bachelor’s programs and opens the door to up to 30 new bachelor’s programs per year at one of the state’s 116 community colleges . The bill was sponsored by MP Jose Medina (D-Riverside), who chairs the Higher Education Committee.

Constance M. Carroll, Ph.D., president and CEO of the California Community Colleges Baccalaureate Association, said the bill was urgently needed given the changing workforce needs of the ‘State. Carroll co-chairs statewide legislative efforts for the bachelor’s degree program with Foothill-De Anza Community College District Chancellor Judy C. Miner, Ed.D.

“This is a landmark decision that sets a bold direction for California’s 116 community colleges, enabling them to meet the workforce needs of local communities in an accessible, affordable and high-quality way.” said Carroll, who recently retired after serving 17 years as chancellor of the San Diego Community College District. “It’s a great decision and a win-win situation for the students. ”

San Diego County is home to five community college districts – Grossmont-Cuyamaca in East County; MiraCosta and Palomar, both in North County; South West in Chula Vista; and the San Diego Community College District – which educate hundreds of thousands of students in a range of fields and prepare them to enter the workforce or move on to four-year colleges.

A recent study by the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) identified the need for more than one million California bachelor’s degree holders over the next decade, especially in critical areas of the workforce. . The PPIC found that to meet the demand for graduate labor, the state would need to increase the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded by 40%.

The bill establishes a process for the Chancellor of California Community Colleges to view and obtain feedback from the California State University and University of California systems on proposed bachelor’s degrees and would require that individual districts seeking approval provide evidence of unmet labor needs.

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