By Andre Barajas

Staff Writer

 

LBCC officials show no interest in senate bill 850 that would allow community college’s to offer Bachelor’s degrees and suggest the pilot program does not fall under the California Master Plan for Higher education.

The bachelor program, commencing no later than 2017-18 academic year, is for technical disciplines that currently have unmet workforce needs.

The Community Colleges selected for the program, which is limited to 15, will have to choose one bachelor degree to offer to satisfy the needs of the workforce in its surrounding communities.

S.B. 850 is an attempt to fill a shortage of a million bachelor’s degree holders by 2025 in California.

A study by the Public Policy Institute of California, an independent nonprofit research group said California is facing a serious shortfall in its supply of college-educated workers.

Projections of the state’s economy show it is continuing along a trajectory of steadily increasing demand for a highly educated workforce.

The report projected, if current trends persist, California will see only 35 percent of working-age adults having a college degree in an economy that would otherwise require 41 percent of workers to have college degrees.

LBCC president Eloy Oakley said LBCC will not look to participate in the program.

The decision was concluded by Oakley after he clarified that the law will only affect rural areas with no CSU’S and U.C.’s nearby.

LBCC has, for the last 33 years, served CSU campuses, helping students earn associate degrees and transfer into the CSU.

Natalie Gutierrez, Math major and Honor student said “the program really will not affect most of us dramatically, unless of course a student intends to receive a degree in a technical discipline but most students that I know here have intentions of transferring to a CSU or UC nearby.”

The LBCC Academic Senate has not taken a position on the bill and needs more time to study the impacts to the college and to students, said Karen Kane, the Academic Senate president.

S.B. 850, introduced by California Sen. Marty Block of district 39, “will require participating Community College districts to meet specified requirements, including, but not limited to, offering baccalaureate programs and program curricula not offered by CSU or UC and in subject areas with unmet workforce,” as stated in the bill.

LBCC officials may be reluctant to participate in the program, however, other colleges began considering bachelor’s programs.

“At San Diego City College, we’ve explored the nursing a bachelor of science, also a bachelor’s degree in information technology management,” said Randall Barnes, vice president of SDCC.

Proponents of the bill, including the Chamber of Commerce, the Workforce Committee and some Community Colleges, are confident the pilot program will establish rigorous undergraduate programs that confer high demand in degrees among regional employers.