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State and System Policy

February 2012 | Colleen Moore, Su Jin Jez, Eric Chisholm, and Nancy Shulock

This report is the second in the four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. It examines the full set of career-technical certificate and associate degree programs offered across the system as a basis for understanding how well the CTE programs are meeting students’ needs to identify, enroll in, and complete programs with real value in today’s labor market. In the report, researchers evaluate the findings against a set of criteria, based on a literature review, that characterize an effective CTE mission and identify key issues that will need to be addressed to increase the effectiveness of CTE.


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January 2012 | Nancy Shulock and Jeremy Offenstein

This report is the first in a four-part series on career technical education in the California Community Colleges. It describes the complex organizational structure and funding arrangements for the CTE mission and the closely related economic and workforce development mission. It offers a set of criteria, based on a literature review, that characterize an effective CTE mission and identifies five key issues that will need to be addressed as efforts proceed to increase the effectiveness of CTE in the California Community Colleges.


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October 2011 | Colleen Moore

This brief discusses the findings of a report from the American Association of Community Colleges titled, The Road Ahead: A Look at Trends in the Educational Attainment of Community College Students. The brief offers an analysis of the AACC report’s claims that the investments made in a community college education are “paying off” due to the higher increase in certificates and degrees awarded by community colleges than in total enrollment. While there is cause for celebration with respect to increases in enrollment and college completions, a closer look at the data shows some reasons for caution related to the prominence of short-term certificates among the increased awards and to minority rates of improvement that lag the improvement rate among white students.


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August 2011 | Colleen Moore and Nancy Shulock

This report examines the importance of declaring and entering an academic program of study for community college student success and completion. Researchers track an entering cohort of community college students over a six-year period through programs of study to completion of a certificate, associate degree or transfer to a university. The study used student course patterns to identify those who entered a program of study in 21 program areas across the liberal arts and sciences and career technical education, and found that entering a program of study is an important milestone on the path to college completion.


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February 2011 | Nancy Shulock, Colleen Moore, and Jeremy Offenstein

This report examines four high-wage, high-need career pathways in the California Community Colleges as a basis for exploring the career technical education mission and its role in the college completion agenda. The study found that the potential of CTE to help meet the state’s completion, workforce, and equity goals is not fully realized due to a lack of priority on awarding technical certificates and degrees and an absence of clear pathways for students to follow in pursuing those credentials. The report offers recommendations to strengthen the CTE function. 


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