Tools for navigating career education in California

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

Two online resources in California help prospective students make decisions about what and where to study.

There are 114 colleges in the California Community Colleges system, all offering numerous programs that could lead to hundreds of different careers. That could be overwhelming to prospective students. To help people make sense of it all and make informed decisions about their education and career choices, the system developed two online resources.

The Salary Surfer website has more than 100 short videos and salary data to allow prospective students and their families to truly visualize various careers. And California’s Strong Workforce Stars database provides an opportunity to see which community college career education programs have the strongest post-graduation outcomes.

The California Community Colleges system just announced its 2018 Strong Workforce Stars. The system recognized 114 Gold Star programs, 294 Silver Star programs and 975 Bronze Star programs, for a total of 1,384 community college programs. Programs were recognized based on factors important in building a skilled workforce and for advancing personal social mobility, including “a substantial increase in earnings, attainment of a living wage and placement in a job closely matched with the field of study,” according to a press release.

For example, prospective students looking at studying nursing will see that Glendale Community College’s (GCC) has a Gold Star nursing program, earned because of success in improving student employment and wage outcomes through its innovative career education program. At GCC, 100 percent of students completing the program secure employment in nursing and 84 percent attain a regional living wage.

“The more informed students are about their chosen career and program of study at the outset, the better chances they have of reaching completion and transitioning into the workforce,” said Van Ton-Quinlivan, California Community Colleges executive vice chancellor for Workforce and Digital Futures. “Salary Surfer and Strong Workforce Stars complement one another in providing information that is important for making a well-informed decision about college and career.”

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.