California Community Colleges have kicked off a new campaign to inform underserved populations about the good-paying jobs available through career education.
According to a press release, there is a skill and an information gap in California, as many high-paying jobs go unfilled because employers can't find employees with the right training. This includes jobs in the information technology, healthcare, biotechnology and digital media fields.
Many people are put off by the cost of college education, but advocates say community colleges offer a low-cost alternative to career education programs and are expanding new efforts to ensure people are aware.
"Both adults and high school students hesitate to pursue higher education to gain new skills and refresh existing ones because they worry about student debt," said Van Ton-Quinlivan, vice chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development at the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office. "Career education offers a great pathway to increase earnings and make a living wage without that type of debt burden."
She added that the legislature had allocated money specifically targeted for students interested in training for new careers.
The campaign will target potential students through ads on traditional and digital media, a website and an app. The promotional campaign is part of a $200 million recurring investment made by Gov. Jerry Brown and the California legislature, according to a news release.
Ton-Quinlivan also said community colleges would work with local organizations to spread the message.
"We will get the advice of community leaders on how to get the word out," she said.
Cassandra Jennings, president of the Greater Sacramento Urban League, said working alongside community organizations was an important part of spreading the word in the Black community.
"What's going to be critical to their success is working with non-profit organizations, community-led organizations to really do a targeted outreach to reach certain populations," said Jennings.
The California Community College system has 114 campuses and educates more than 2 million students. It is the largest provider of workforce training in the nation.
African-American students make up 6.5 percent of the students at community colleges. About 5 percent of the more than 6 million students in the K-12 system are Black. Black students make up 6 percent of students enrolled in four-year colleges.