MiraCosta College’s Life Sciences, Biology, Biotechnology and Nursing programs were honored Monday by the California Community Colleges system for emphasizing a close collaboration with industry that is yielding significantly higher wages for students.
MiraCosta secured a Strong Workforce Stars award–a new, annual commendation for career education programs in California’s 114 community colleges whose students show significant gains in factors important for advancing social mobility. Career education programs can earn designation as a Strong Workforce Star if 90 percent or more of students report their current job is close or very close to their field of study, if 70 percent or more of students are earning a regional living wage, or if half or more of students are seeing an increase in salary.
MiraCosta College earned Strong Workforce Stars recognition in the Life Sciences/Biotech sector. Students who participate in the Life Sciences, Biology, Biotechnology or Nursing programs are seeing their wages rise by 174 percent, according to data derived by comparing earnings one year before and one year after exiting the California Community Colleges system.
“Strong Workforce Stars, with its focus on proving student success through data, is another demonstration of how the California Community Colleges is carefully and intentionally building a strong workforce for California and improving social and economic mobility,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley.
MiraCosta was lauded for its industry advisory boards, its dedicated staff and its strong connections with individuals working in the field. Al Taccone, MiraCosta College’s dean of Career Education and Workforce Development, noted that Nursing program faculty put in hours and time beyond what they are required to contribute to ensure students’ success.
Students in MiraCosta Colleges biology and biotechnology programs have transferred to some of the top universities in the country, and MiraCosta College’s Registered Nursing program was recently ranked the third best in California based on the passing rates of students taking a state licensure exam. This fall, MiraCosta launches a baccalaureate program in biomanufacturing. It was one of just 15 community colleges that in 2015 won approval from the California Community Colleges’ Board of Governors to host a pilot bachelor’s degree program in career technical fields for the first time in history.
Strong Workforce Stars grew from the California Community Colleges’ Doing What Matters for Jobs and Economy framework and its Strong Workforce Program. California is investing $200 million annually to spur additional and improved career education programs throughout its 114 community colleges.