Calbright Monthly Update: New Program on the Way


Portrait of Ajita Menon.

Good afternoon, 

The last few weeks at Calbright have been full of hope for the future, as we are in the midst of finalizing our three-year strategic vision in collaboration with our Board of Trustees and with input from statewide stakeholders. Last week, I spoke before the California Assembly Subcommittee on Education Finance and had the opportunity to update the committee on Calbright’s progress and provide straightforward answers to some of our toughest critics’ questions. 

Calbright is working hard to rapidly and responsibly build pathways to support a more equitable recovery, and it’s clear that the pace of progress can’t move quickly enough. The same people who were already most likely to be struggling with a changing economy have borne the brunt of this pandemic. These are working mothers with caregiving responsibilities and our communities of color, exactly the people Calbright was built to serve. So, our mission has only grown more urgent — especially because we know that our adult learners are also tempting targets for predatory for-profit colleges that promise quick fixes, but often leave students deep in debt they can’t repay.

In recent months we’ve done analysis of the labor market needs and pandemic impacts across California, and – as a statewide institution – we are able to be responsive to regions of the state where need is greatest, including places like the Inland Empire and Central Valley. We are excited to put this into action as we launch a new program in April to help people transition into new technology careers in collaboration with regional workforce development boards. 

Calbright is moving forward with steady progress in support of our mission to increase economic opportunity for California’s working adults, and we appreciate your support of this critical work. 

All my best,
Ajita Talwalker Menon
President & CEO, Calbright College


If you know someone looking to gain new skills and start a career in information technology (IT), send them this application link! We’re currently enrolling adult students in the IT pathway, where they will learn to apply a wide variety of skills in customer support and troubleshooting, ranging from installation and configuration to networking, operating systems, mobile devices, and security.


University Business: California’s quest to prioritize older students

A new California Competes report highlights the potential of bringing millions of former students back into higher education and the value it has in meeting workforce needs.

“The state has launched Calbright College, a fully online, mobile-first community college that serves adults with flexible course schedules and with a focus on relevant career paths. It has teams that work to connect employers with those who are going through the programs, so there is more to gain for those who attend than simply acquiring an associate’s degree. New career pathways are continually added depending on what employers are seeking, and some of those include hot fields such as coding, IT and cybersecurity.

“They only offer a handful of programs focused on high-demand, high-wage fields,” [Dr. Su Jin Gatlin] Jez says. “Even though it’s only a fraction of the students statewide, we think this investment in Calbright College can pave the way and demonstrate how the state can serve this population better.””


Did you get the chance to read our latest blog

“Based on information gained from Calbright’s beta cohort and ongoing research and interviews with industry leaders, workers, and economic experts, we have found four key principles about preparing traditionally marginalized adult learners for today’s labor market. 

‘Our student population faces different challenges than the typical postsecondary student,’ said Calbright president Ajita Talwalker Menon. ‘They juggle homeschooling, job loss or reduction in work hours, changes in employment status, housing instability, or caring for family members – and we are building tailored supports that address their unique needs.’”

Read more…