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“Vision for Success: Strengthening the California Community Colleges for California’s Success” has provided our state’s community colleges with a framework to achieve some very specific and bold goals by the year 2025. • Increase by at least 20 percent the number of CCC students annually who acquire associate’s degrees, credentials, certificates, or specific skill sets that prepare them for an in-demand job. • Increase by 35 percent the number of CCC students system-wide transferring annually to a UC or CSU. • Decrease the average number of units accumulated by CCC students earning associate’s degrees, from approximately 87 total units (the most recent system- wide average) to 79 total units. • Increase the percent of exiting CTE (Career Technical Education) students who report being employed in their field of study, from 60 percent to an improved rate of 69 percent. • Reduce equity gaps across all of the above measures. • Reduce regional achievement gaps across all of the above measures. Dr. Kathleen Rose, President, Gavilan College Gavilan: The Rise of Community Colleges The U.S. Bureau of Labor reports a huge gap between U.S. skilled job creation and the pool of graduates qualified to fill those jobs. With over 100 community colleges serving 2.1 million students, the California Community College system (CCC) stands to play a vital role in closing this gap. . .if they can evolve to meet the need. In a 2017 report published by the National Student Clearinghouse, the overall completion rate for community colleges was an “unimpressive” 38 percent. A generally low and slow completion rate, coupled with the fact that the state’s LCFF funding formula is changing to completion- based funding, has sparked California’s community college leaders to reimagine their vision for success. As Gavilan College President Dr. Kathleen Rose put it, “We’re not the sleepy little colleges people used to talk about.” She described how, under the Chancellor’s direc- tion, the Foundation for California Community Colleges published a manifesto of sorts that is a game-changer. 38 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN “For too long, community colleges have been operating with an ‘open unit’ mentality that hasn’t benefitted students,” Rose said. “This needs to change. Now we have a relentless focus on students reaching their education goals, on time.” The California Promise Program is “a big win for California’s Community College system,” Rose said. “First- time, full-time students can now attend school for free their first year. In his new budget, Governor Newsom proposed additional funding for a second year of free education for students who are on track (i.e. carrying a full course load and a decent GPA).” “We award roughly $80,000 or more annually in student scholarships, thanks to our generous community partners. We continue to seek out additional partners through the Gavilan Foundation.” In 2018, voters passed Measure X, a $248M bond for Gavilan College capital improvements. A Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee is being formed to meet quarterly and review expenditures. Campus improvement and expansion projects at the Gilroy and San Benito County locations include classrooms, a new library and resource center, a STEM center, a central HVAC facility on the Gilroy campus, and renovations to its performing arts center there. “We’re introducing new programs and services over the next several years,” Rose said. “It can be a challenge to navigate the complex funding formulas from Sacramento. But it’s not insurmountable.” april/may 2019 COLLEGE, be more critical than ever. It’s like we are in a recession when you realize the true impact of declining enrollment.” Another initiative coming up for vote in 2020 is the Split Roll Initiative. The “split roll” would tax business and commercial properties at fair-market value rather than the purchase price with limited inflation (under Prop 13 law). Residential, ag, and certain small business properties would be exempt. Estimates are the initiative would raise $6 billion to $10 billion annually. Most of that revenue would go to local governments with 40 percent going to K-12 schools and community colleges (to supplement, not replace, the state’s minimum-funding guarantee to schools). The initiative is expected to face some strong opposition.