California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy aims to solve the state’s thorny social and economic problems by conducting rigorous higher education and workforce policy research. Through our research, we guide decision makers in developing and implementing policies that bolster equity so every Californian can engage, contribute, and succeed.


We envision a California where our state and regional economies and communities thrive, fueled by equitable and racially just postsecondary and workforce outcomes.


California Competes benefits from the expertise of our highly respected, bipartisan Leadership Council, which comprises current and former public officials, business executives, and community leaders from across the state.

Our diverse staff brings decades of experience in higher education and public policy. We work statewide and travel across the country to research and advocate for a higher education system that provides opportunities for all Californians.


California Competes executes its mission through four main strategies: research, governmental affairs, advocacy, and collaboration with key partners.


Since our inception in 2010, we have been engaged in policy research and proponents of solutions to numerous critical issues in California higher education. We strive to increase the number of meaningful credentials awarded in the state and ensure more students of color and underrepresented students earn those degrees and certificates. Our impact includes:

Our Business Group Partners

As the world’s fifth largest economy, California depends on entrepreneurship, small business growth, and success across a range of industries. Our higher education system is a key linchpin in fueling the success and prosperity of those industries. Sustaining the state’s overall prosperity requires keeping pace with modern workforce needs and demands.

To this end, California Competes partners with business organizations across the state to help ensure employers have access to local talent and job seekers have the tools needed to land new opportunities.

Our business group partners include:

Our Funders

California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy is a project of Community Partners and receives support from: