Council Advocates for Higher Education Funding in State Budget
Education is critical in preparing California’s workforce for current and future jobs. That’s why the Bay Area Council is sounding the alarm on a proposal by the state Assembly to gut funding for the new California Online Community College District, also known as Calbright College. And why we’re joining with The Institute for College Access and Success to encourage the Assembly to maintain state budget funding for expanding a key financial aid program serving thousands of students across the state. The Council was a strong advocate for creating Calbright College, which offers a fast, focused and free opportunity for underemployed working adults to upskill and obtain better jobs. The new college would serve over 8 million working adults who, by no fault of their own, are in jobs with limited future opportunities including wage gain, sustained employment and promotions. The 2019-20 state budget included $20 million in operations funding over the next seven years and $100 million to build out the program. The state Senate as part of the current budget process maintained the full funding, but the state Assembly is proposing stripping out all but $5 million of the operations funding and half of the startup funding. As the two houses work toward a June 15 budget deadline, the Council is urging the joint Senate and Assembly Conference Committee on the Budget, chaired by Sen. Holly Mitchell and Assemblymember Phil Ting, to provide the full Calbright College funding. The Council is also advocating expansion of access and increased funding for the important Cal Grant program. The program provides critical financial aid for students across the state. The Council is part of statewide coalition of business and education groups led by The Institute for College Access and Success that is urging the Conference Committee on the Budget to approve an almost doubling of the number of grants available and increasing funding for grants that primarily help lower-income students. The requests come as California faces a growing higher education affordability gap. For more information on our Workforce of the Future Committee, please contact Senior Vice President Linda Bidrossian.