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Convening Spotlights Statewide Commitment to Degree Attainment

California is home to more than four million working-age adults with some postsecondary education credit but no college credential. In an economy where employers are increasingly requiring college degrees, these individuals often find themselves stuck – unable to advance in their career paths or compete for promotional opportunities. A goal for the state is providing more Californians with better pathways for degree completion that will increase their economic mobility, while fueling our state and regional economies. Representatives from 29 organizations across California gathered on Monday, January 27, to make progress on this goal during a “Degrees When Due” (DWD) California convening at Sacramento State Downtown.

In conjunction with “ProjectAttain!,” a regional initiative focused on increasing educational attainment for working-age adults in the Sacramento Region, Sacramento State is leading California’s efforts under the DWD project. DWD is a national initiative of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP). With the launch of Cohort 2 under this initiative, IHEP is expanding technical support to higher education institutions and equipping them with tools and resources to help more students complete their intended educational goals.

Using data and communications, DWD’s reclamation strategies support colleges to:

  1. Re-engage adult learners who stopped out before earning an associate or baccalaureate degree and provide them with targeted supports to help them complete their studies.
  2. Retroactively confer degrees to students who have left the higher education system but have earned enough credits for a credential.

January’s convening included representatives from a broad array of institutions: seven universities in the California State University (CSU) system; 10 colleges within the California Community Colleges system; the University of California, Davis; and other representatives from higher education. Featured speakers included Robynne Rose-Haymer, executive director of Wind Youth Services; Dr. Lande Ajose, senior policy advisor for higher education for Gov. Gavin Newsom; and Leanne Davis, assistant director of applied research at IHEP.

“Decreasing the attainment gap, skills gap, and equity gap is critical to moving citizens in our region forward and making sure they have what is needed to participate fully in a growing economy,” said Dr. Jenni Murphy, Dean of the College of Continuing Education. “By looking at our own data and learning with our sister institutions, we can shed light on practices and policies that may be inhibiting success early on in academic pursuits, and determine how to help more learners in our region cross the finish line.”

Murphy sees this as a pivotal opportunity. “With the region’s higher educational institutions participating, we have the chance to build momentum and magnify the impact of this initiative,” Murphy said.

–-College of Continuing Education

Project Attrain Meeting with two people talking in focus