New California College Specializes in Low-Cost Adult Career Training

NBC Los Angeles

To compete with for-profit schools, the California Community Colleges system has created an institution of higher education that will focus on providing students between the ages of 25 and 34 who may be putting education on hold due to adult responsibilities, digital vocational training on their own schedule and pace, according to a Calbright College press release.

Beginning Oct. 1, Calbright College will offer workplace-based training in cybersecurity, general information technology and medical coding, and will expand course offerings following the fall pilot program, the Calbright College website states. Instead of working toward an associate’s degree, students will complete a specialized program to land a higher-paying job, the website further states. Enrollment starts this summer.

Gov. Jerry Brown and California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley have voiced their support for an online community college. Oakley said in a press release that Calbright College would reach adult learners who do not have time to further their careers through traditional community colleges due to the responsibilities of elder care, parenthood or multiple jobs.

“As much as we would like to, we cannot will them onto our campuses. We need to rethink traditional delivery models and pedagogies and meet this population where and when they are ready to gain skills and credentials,” Oakley said in a written statement.

During his 2018 State of the State speech, Brown said that an online community college was created so that “overlooked” Californians could receive necessary career training at an affordable cost.

“It is clear just how much of our prosperity depends on the intellectual contributions of our institutions of higher learning. Even with so many of our students attending college, there are still 2.5 million Californians between 25 and 34 who are in the workforce, but lack a postsecondary degree or certificate,” Brown said during his 2018 State of the State speech.

The cost-per-unit structure presently used in community colleges will be used to determine tuition costs for Calbright College. However, the institution is also exploring a subscription-based tuition model that would allow students to take as many courses as they would like during a set time period, the Calbright website states.

Unlike career colleges and vocational schools that may charge high tuition fees without guarantee of employment, Calbright College states on its website that California will hold it accountable to demonstrate increases in wages and employment opportunities for graduates of the program.