Policy Issues

PROVIDE ALL CALIFORNIANS ACCESS TO HIGH QUALITY POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Basic Skills Education

A postsecondary degree or certificate is increasingly essential for a middle class life and recent studies suggest that unless California increases the share of residents with postsecondary credentials, the state will soon face a skills shortage.  Yet most Californians lack the basic English and math skills they need to enter or succeed in college or other high quality training programs.  And the system that provides basic skills education in California is disjointed and outdated, so it fails a great many of those it serves.

The EDGE Campaign works with policymakers, administrators, and practitioners to implement policies and practices that research suggests support success for basic skills students and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of programs and of the system overall.  This includes more tightly integrating the programs now offered by the three major delivery systems: the Adult Education of the California Department of Education and both the credit and noncredit basic skills programs of the California Community Colleges.
 
 

PROVIDE ALL CALIFORNIANS ACCESS TO HIGH QUALITY POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION AND TRAINING

Career Technical Education

Many career technical programs provide graduates higher incomes and greater job security than traditional academic ones.  Studies suggest that California will need many more “middle skilled” workers as the baby boomers retire.  Yet young people are still often faced with the anachronistic “college prep” versus “vocational education” dichotomy, and many career technical programs fail to qualify high school students for four year schools and community college students for transfer.  In the context of serious budget shortfalls, career technical education programs – which often require expensive equipment – are at risk.

The California EDGE Campaign is committed to ensuring that California residents have access to multiple avenues to good jobs, including high quality career technical education at both the high school and community college levels.
 
 
INVEST IN REGIONAL WORKFORCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES TO BUILD PROSPEROUS COMMUNITIES AND COMPETITIVE INDUSTRIES

Industry Partnerships

Historically, there have been few links between workforce and economic development programs and, perhaps even more importantly, little connection between the programs that prepare workers for employment and the employers who hire them.  Some states and regions have begun to forge those connections through the creation of industry partnerships, which create long-term relationships between employers and unions in key industries and service providers, including the Workforce Investment Boards, community colleges, community-based organizations, and others.  Through industry partnerships, employers can help define appropriate career pathways and shape training programs to ensure their relevance to the labor market.

The California EDGE Campaign encourages the development of industry partnerships through state and local policy initiatives and through the practice of local practitioners.
 
 
PROVIDE WORKING ADULTS WITH OPPORTUNITIES TO MOVE UP THE SKILL LADDER

Career Pathways

Few individuals walk a straight line to their career goal. Most take a variety of education and training programs, frequently over many years. Currently, the disconnects among these programs result in vast amounts of wasted time and money, and – too frequently – dashed dreams, as individuals find that entry-level certificates don’t count toward certificates or degrees the next step up the ladder. Career pathways programs are one important solution to this problem. A career pathway is a set of connected education and training programs and support services that enables individuals to advance over time to successively higher levels of education and work in a particular occupation or industry sector. Career pathways frameworks are also useful in helpful in making systemic changes that fill gaps in education and workforce training systems.

The EDGE Campaign highlights promising practices in the development of career pathways both in California and across the nation, and works with policymakers to identify ways to create incentives for community colleges, the Adult Education Program, the Workforce Investment Boards and One Stop Career Centers, employers, labor, and community partners to come together to implement career pathways in a wide range of industries and occupations.
 
 
ALIGN PROGRAM GOALS AND MEASURES TO ACHIEVE A SHARED VISION OF CALIFORNIA’S FUTURE AND TO ENSURE ACCOUNTABILITY

Accountability

Today California has a patchwork of performance management systems and no way to judge how its education, training, and other workforce programs are performing against meaningful policy goals. In fact, some current performance measures are inconsistent with the needs of California residents and employers; other measures create disincentives for program operators to collaborate and align services.

The California EDGE Campaign works with state policymakers to articulate a clear vision for California’s future, set measurable goals for achieving that vision, and develop an integrated data system that can track program performance across institutions, over time, and into the labor market.