Op-Ed: Higher ed is a prerequisite for our future. Community colleges are key to that.

On Jan. 2, 2019, CALmatters published an op-ed by Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California Community Colleges and a regent of the University of California,  titled, “Higher ed is a prerequisite for our future. Community colleges are key to that.” Here’s an excerpt:

The entire education system and especially post-secondary education is charged with the monumental task of producing educated people who are informed, up to date, trained and enthusiastic about being part of the thriving whole. To be successful, a long-term view incorporating visionary, inclusive initiatives to improve higher education in California is required.

In other words, we must think big and be unapologetically bold.

California has significant challenges in workforce readiness, equity and poverty. But we start our next four-year chapter with a new governor, new education leaders and opportunities to improve education across the board and put in place ways to open the doors to higher education for all.

Data supporting the need to start this chapter with bold moves to improve California higher education is on the brink of being overwhelming. Not only is the country facing a skilled workforce shortage, but the future job market will require that more than 65 percent of workers possess a college degree or credential by 2020.

Such daunting realities clearly demand solutions that accommodate college-ready high schoolers, returning veterans and workers who need enhanced skills for economic mobility.

Keeping ahead of poverty is yet another proof point in the case for improving higher education in California, the state with 7.4 million people living in poverty.

The op-ed concludes:

All of these factors make it clear higher education is the lynchpin to our future. Now, as we enter a new era of leadership, we have a chance to be bold with solutions to ensure that the future is bright for Californians and the state economy alike.

Read the complete op-ed on the CALmatters website.