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Proposal For Bachelor’s Degrees At Community Colleges Clears Senate Committee

A proposal to allow community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees where a local workforce need can be documented was approved Thursday in the California Senate Education Committee by an 8-0 bipartisan vote.

Senate Bill 850, authored by Sen. Marty Block, D-San Diego, would create an eight-year pilot program allowing select community colleges to offer an applied baccalaureate degree in a highly specialized field, such as nursing, automotive and public safety administration.

“California has a workforce skills gap,” Block said. “By 2025 our state will need 1 million more adults with four-year degrees. We need to use all of California’s resources — including our community colleges — to close that gap.”

Community colleges in 22 other states currently offer a baccalaureate program.

Supporters of the bill include veterans, business organizations and community college districts.

The proposal faces likely opposition from CSU, though a spokesman for the system said it has not taken a position on the proposal yet.

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