California Community Colleges to Use New Skills Builder Metric

Jenna Leventoff
March 14, 2016

On March 30th, California Community Colleges will begin tracking wage outcomes for “skills-builders.” These students enroll in courses at a community college not to earn a credential or to transfer to a four-year school, but to get a promotion at work or earn a higher salary. According to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, there were 86,328 skills-builders in the system in 2011-12.

The California Community Colleges Board of Governors established the scorecard to measure student success at the system’s 112 community colleges. Currently, the scorecard provides the percentage of students who complete a degree, certificate, apprenticeship, or who transfer to a four year college. However, the new scorecard will include the skills-builders metric, which will show salary increases for students who take one or two courses, but don’t earn a credential or transfer.

Wage gains data will come from matching the state’s unemployment insurance wage records with individual student records.

“We in the California Community Colleges have long been frustrated knowing that we did not have a way to measure the success of students who come to us and take just a class or two to add skills, then re-enter the labor force,” Chancellor Brice Harris wrote in the Sacramento Bee. 

WDQC is excited to see wage records used to quantify a different type of success, and look forward to sharing the newest version of the scorecard upon its release. To learn more about California’s data initiatives, please visit California’s state page