What's Ahead for California Competes in 2024


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As we step into 2024, I am filled with gratitude for the incredible journey we’ve taken at California Competes and the team, board, and partners that made it all possible. The achievements we celebrate–our remarkable growth, the establishment of groundbreaking partnerships, and the expanding impact we’ve had–bring the state closer to transforming  higher education and workforce systems to serve all Californians. 

This year, which will mark our first full calendar year as an independent nonprofit, promises to sustain and build upon this momentum. California has the opportunity to seize this economic downturn and rethink how we leverage our resources to meet the unique needs of today while designing solutions that will endure for tomorrow and beyond.

A Look Back on 2023

Improving systems and structures in 2024 must begin with thoughtful reflections of lessons learned. Throughout 2023, we gleaned valuable insights from:

What’s on the Horizon for 2024

California’s estimated $38 billion budget deficit, while heightening cost concerns, presents a pivotal opportunity to galvanize our collective efforts and focus on strategic investments in the areas of highest impact and greatest need. In 2024, we’ll concentrate on:

  • fueling cross-sector efforts to prepare students to succeed in the workforce and supporting implementation of the Governor’s Executive Order on Career Education. We will deepen our work around how colleges, employers, and the local governments can join forces to boost students’ career readiness. We’re also working with policymakers to establish structures for more effective implementation of intersegmental and cross-sector policies in higher education and workforce development.
  • ensuring students receive the benefits and supports they’re eligible for. We will release a new tool that empowers students and higher education staff to identify public benefits and ways students can access them. We are also working to streamline student parents’ access to financial aid that recognizes their true cost of college.
  • strengthening a data-informed strategy for online education. Our research has helped propel state investments towards better leveraging this modality for student success. This year, our focus is on elevating promising practices to ensure California strategically moves towards an equitable and agile system of learning.  
  • rigorous, actionable research to advance institutional reforms and policy changes to better serve adult learners. This will include a new publication on re-engaging and supporting the some degree, no credential student population, a study on adult learner-focused strategic enrollment management, and collaboration with institutions to revise academic probation policies and procedures.
  • advancing the efforts of The California Alliance for Student Parent Success, including building membership, publishing its new website, and strengthening research and advocacy efforts to reshape higher education to better serve student parents and their families.

As we navigate the complexities of the coming year, your continued support and dedication remain vital to our success. Together, we will forge a path towards a brighter future, where California’s higher education system is more inclusive, resilient, and better equipped to meet the evolving needs of our communities.

In partnership,




Su Jin Jez, PhD
California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy

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