Since 2010, California Competes’ research, policy briefs, and analyses have identified and honed in on the challenges of California’s higher education system and the actions policymakers must take to address them. 

California Competes develops nonpartisan and financially pragmatic recommendations for improved policies and practices in California higher education. Opportunity, creativity, enterprise, efficiency, and equity are the lenses through which California Competes serves to guide the state in improving postsecondary education to drive economic growth and build vibrant communities. 

In the 1960s, California emerged as an economic powerhouse, envied for our lifestyle as well as the richness of our economy, driven by agriculture, natural resources, shipping and logistics, and the entertainment and IT industries. Recent developments in industries including artificial intelligence, data science, and augmented reality reinforce California’s leadership as an economic innovator. In California, identifying and investing in new ideas and talent is a part of our DNA. 

California is also at the forefront of creating the society of tomorrow—one which celebrates diversity, strives for inclusion, and believes that the prosperity of the individual matter for the prosperity of the whole. This mindset has driven our commitment to structure an education system that provides a place for everyone so that anyone has the chance to share in the prosperity of the state.

Our colleges, universities, and professional training programs provide the intellectual and technical foundation to maintain California as a hub of innovation; however, to remain economically competitive and to live up to our own ideals, we must create better pipelines to advancement in good-paying jobs. Building a talent pool whose creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and industriousness matches the needs of the 21st century will put economic prosperity within reach for all Californians.

To better align public policies with our higher education needs, the state must increase the share and distribution of residents with postsecondary credentials. Currently, California sits near the bottom of the list for degree completion. Whether they are traditional bachelor’s degrees, certificates in technical fields, or advanced training, the postsecondary credentials held by our population fuel our regional economies today, allow for economic self-sufficiency, and serve as an indicator of California’s preparation for the future.   

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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 the following foundations