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GOVERNOR’S ONLINE COMMUNITY COLLEGE – A ROLE FOR LIBRARIES?
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January 23, 2018




TO: CLA MEMBERS/ SYSTEMS/ NETWORK CONTACTS

FROM: Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyists


RE: News From the Capitol

 

 

GOVERNOR’S ONLINE COMMUNITY COLLEGE – A ROLE FOR LIBRARIES?


When Governor Brown unveiled his 2018-19 State Budget on January 10, it included an interesting new proposal to create an “Online Community College” within the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.  This new concept, scheduled to roll out in late 2019, could potentially present collaborative opportunities with California’s public libraries.  


Specifically, the Governor’s new “college” seeks to target working adults (mostly in the age 25-34 year old demographic) who are in need of acquiring additional education for the purpose of bolstering their work opportunities or to enhance existing work (e.g. by gaining certificates or stackable credentials that could be applied to their current job).  According to the Governor’s proposal, the online college’s “initial focus will be collating and developing quality content and programs that provide vocational training, career advancement opportunities, and credentialing for careers in child development, the service sector, advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and in-home supportive services, among other areas.”  Importantly, the Governor’s document states, “The college will not impact traditional community colleges’ enrollment because its enrollment base will be working adults that are not currently accessing higher education.”  


The Governor is hoping to attract students who would appreciate the flexibility of online coursework and how it might complement their particular lifestyle demands (family, work, etc.).  Second, the Governor is concerned that California students are incurring significant costs by signing up for classes with “non-public, non-accredited, or out-of-state institutions, which are typically much costlier than California community colleges and often have poor student outcomes.”   


The proposal notes that the participation of “community partners,” such as libraries, will be essential to the program’s success.  “In addition to online student support services, the online college could collaborate with other community colleges, other education providers, community-based organizations, employers, unions, and libraries, to enable students of the online college to access in-person support services at other physical locations as needed, including use of a library, computer lab, other labs, and tutoring services.”  (emphasis added:  Online Community College proposal, January 2018, page 7.)


At its January meeting, the CLA Legislative Committee was encouraged by the concept behind the proposal and, as such, outreach to the Department of Finance and Community College Chancellor’s office has already commenced.  We will continue to keep CLA members updated on this proposal as it makes its way through the Budget subcommittee review of the Governor’s 2018-19 Budget in March and April.