Some 70,000 Americans enter the labor force looking for jobs each month, and many of the jobs they’re applying for are increasingly high tech or high skills, requiring training and education.
So it’s disheartening to realize that educational opportunities are now harder to come by than they were a decade ago.
According to reports, state spending on higher education is down from where it was over 10 years ago in 41 out of 50 states. That means higher tuition, less opportunity, and less room to innovate. Most states are simply not investing in their workforce at a time when all labor is increasingly skilled labor.
Of those remaining nine states, higher education funding has increased in only four of them. Fortunately for us, California is one.
Those increases in higher ed spending mean the state has more room to offer new and innovative programs. That’s important because new approaches to education, based on 21st century considerations, can specifically address the needs of people increasingly at risk of being left behind by the new economy.
Calbright College is one such experiment – a whole new concept in outreach to non-traditional students, and people who former Governor Jerry Brown called “stranded workers” – people who are holding down jobs but don’t have access to the training or resources to climb the ladder of success in the new economy.
We offer students a very different pathway to success: instead of granting degrees, we work with California employers who need to hire a lot of skilled workers, and then train our learners to meet those industry standards. We then work directly with the companies to make sure learners have access to those jobs.
Calbright’s classes are online and modular, so that learners can take classes wherever they are, whenever it’s convenient for them.
Learners at Calbright study at their own pace, but should be able to complete their education in under a year.
Perhaps most importantly, Calbright is committed to providing this education, training, and career assistance for free.
At a time when college degrees are increasingly inaccessible because of student debt, Calbright’s founding mission is that Calbright learners will head into their new jobs with no student debt.
Can it work? California’s governor and legislature think it can, and we are testing our first beta cohort now, training students for jobs in three career paths: Medical Coding, IT Support, and Cybersecurity.
More will be added as the college reaches out to new industries, and hundreds, and then thousands, of Californians will be able to access targeted training to place them in successful careers.
Want to be part of it? Debt free education starts here.
Cover photo by Green Economy Coalition www.greeneconomycoalition.org