By Carlos Ochoa / Contributing Writer

In an interview conducted Friday, Jan. 8, college spokesman John Pope explained the impact of the Long Beach College Promise, also known as Promise Pathways on students to inform them of the opportunities it provides.

Pope said the main point was to let students know that at an “early age, college is in their future.” He said a lot of students do not grow up in a culture where college is prominent and that the Promise helps create an easier path to bring college to younger students. The annual report to the community included a note, that involvement in Promise Pathways had increased from 56-78 percent from 2012-2014.

Pope said LBCC was a pioneer in the “concept of institutions working together,” promoting synergy between Long Beach institutions such as Long  Beach Unified School District, LBCC, Cal State Long Beach and other city partners, in order to make the transition into higher education seamless and effective.

In terms of the status quo that was to be reached, he said “LBCC is ahead of the curve in reducing barriers.” and said LBCC was a model that the White House was looking at as a frontline of educational innovation. One of the barriers included the first free semester that had expanded to a full year that nearly 12,000 students had used at LBCC.

The goal Pope explained today, was that with rapid advances, people need a higher level of education and that education is the “ticket to a middle class.” In simpler terms, he said “The baseline has been raised” for California and national students.

In terms of the global economy, Pope said, “It is scary to see the number of degree-holders out there” and “at our current rate, California will fall short, Community Colleges are poised to fill that gap.” Using estimates from the U.S. Department of Education on graduate-holders state by state, California has around 2 million graduates (37.9 percent) and President Obama said he wanted to reach around 3.5 million-4 million graduates by 2020.

Pope attended the September event at LBCC, celebrating the success of the Promise.

The Promise also received the Innovation in Higher Education Award, receiving roughly $5 million dollars.

Pope said I hope “raise awareness and outreach” for the Long Beach College Promise and wanted to tell the community that “the Promise is here for them.”