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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 30, 2014
Pilot Program May Add Bachelor’s Degree Option at College
University Center Already Offers 40 Bachelor’s, Master’s & Doctoral Degrees
Historic legislation signed Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown could provide local residents with another option to earn a bachelor’s degree in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Brown signed Senate Bill 850 authored by Sen. Marty Block (D-San Diego), which authorizes the California Community Colleges to launch a pilot program for 15 college districts to offer bachelor’s degree programs.
“The ongoing health of California’s economy demands a highly educated workforce, and this program will enable community colleges to address unmet training and education needs,” said College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook.
The Public Policy Institute of California predicts that 41 percent of California’s workforce will need a college degree by 2025. If current trends persist, only 35 percent of workers will have obtained that level of education — a shortage of 1 million workers.
“The state’s higher education system is currently not keeping pace with the demand for education,” Van Hook said. “It makes sense to identify and implement solutions that are both innovative and realistic. Having community colleges offer bachelor’s degrees fits both criteria.”
Each participating college can award one degree in fields not currently offered by the California State University (CSU) or University of California (UC). The state Chancellor’s Office, in consultation with UC and CSU, will select the colleges for inclusion in the pilot based on their ability to offer degrees with high demand among area employers.
College of the Canyons is still evaluating what options fit within the requirements of the legislation, and match community needs. In the meantime, the college already makes more than 40 different degree and credential programs available on the Valencia Campus through the Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook University Center.
Brandman University, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Northridge, National University, and the University of LaVerne offer a variety of bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees, as well as credential programs. Since the University Center opened in 2002, 2,139 students have earned degrees.
“The University Center makes higher education more accessible in Santa Clarita, empowering students to grow their careers, and enabling local businesses to expand by drawing from a wealth of well-trained local talent,” Dr. Van Hook said.