by Joanna Rosenthal

Senior Communications Manager

Degree Attainment Employment Race and Ethnicity

Why California Policymakers Must Reform Higher Education

This op-ed was written by California Competes Executive Director Lande Ajose and originally appeared in the Silicon Valley Business Journal on February 16, 2018.


We are in a race with time. Our state is on track to produce 2.4 million fewer college degrees and certificates than the workforce will demand by 2025, and there is currently no statewide plan or policy platform to address this gap. 

How can policymakers address the cracks in California’s higher education system, so we can answer the demands of a growing innovation economy while positioning our diverse populations and communities to climb the income and achievement ladder? 

We must create a statewide system where all students—first-generation, re-entry, low-income, rural and urban—have a clear path to workforce opportunities, and in which barriers to degree completion are clearly identified and mitigated. ​

Lande Ajose

We must create a statewide system where all students—first-generation, re-entry, low-income, rural and urban—have a clear path to workforce opportunities, and in which barriers to degree completion are clearly identified and mitigated.

In 2018 we must turn our collective attention to higher education and build a policy framework that includes:

  • Pathways to degree completion for the millions of adults in California who have attended come college but haven’t earned a certificate or degree;
  • Accountability and coordination between higher education systems (California is one of only two states without comprehensive oversight);
  • Degree programs that directly align with workforce demands;
  • A reliable and sustainable funding system and a comprehensive data system. 


Read Dr. Ajose's full editorial here.

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