Wanted: Social and Economic Mobility for California’s Stranded Workers


Governor Brown’s 2018 budget includes a proposal to create a new community college—distinct from California’s existing 114 community colleges by being fully online—aimed at improving the economic outlooks of our state’s “stranded workers.” This population is generally considered to be adults aged 25-34 who have graduated from high school but have not completed a postsecondary degree.

Increasing education is a winning strategy for expanding skill sets and bolstering students’ economic outlooks. Online coursework may offer flexibility to navigate some of the obstacles faced by stranded workers if the right supports are in place. This brief takes a closer look at California’s stranded workers, highlighting ways a fully online community college could increase their economic and social mobility.

To learn more about California’s 2.5 million stranded workers, we examined population characteristics statewide and regionally, looking into their employment status, occupations, family structures, and the kinds of economic hardships they face.

Key findings include:
  • 54% of stranded workers are employed full-time
  • Half of women who are stranded workers have dependent children
  • 25% of stranded workers don’t have health insurance
  • More than half (58%) earn less than $25,000 annually.

Download the brief.

Download the stranded worker snapshot.

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