Calif. Senate Approves 4-Year Degrees at Community Colleges
15 Campuses Could Start Offering Workforce Degrees Next Year
The California Senate Thursday gave final approval to measure that would allow 15 community colleges in the state to start offering bachelor’s degrees next year.
If Gov. Jerry Brown signs the bill into law, California would become the 22nd state to allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degree.
The initiative would allow bachelor’s degrees in a limited number of fields that are in high demand, such as dental hygiene, radiologic technology, automotive technology and health information science. Each community college would be limited to offering a single bachelor’s degree which meets workforce needs and does not duplicate one already offered by a nearby campus of California State University or University of California.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris praised the move.
“In today's economy, many businesses require their employees to possess a four-year degree or higher skill sets than are offered through associate degree programs, even in fields such as dental hygiene or automotive technology where a two-year degree would have been sufficient in the past,” Harris said in a prepared statement. “I applaud the Legislature for addressing California's urgent workforce needs.”
Said State Sen. Marty Block, a San Diego Democrat who sponsored the legislation: “This is landmark legislation that is a game changer for California’s higher education system and our work force preparedness. SB 850 boosts the focus of our community colleges on job training now when California faces a major skills gap in our workforce.”