WORKFORCE BRIEF SERIES: California Community Colleges – Career Technical Education


The Community Colleges’ CTE Mission

The mission of the Community Colleges around Career Technical Education is to build the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and experiences required for youth and adults to succeed in higher education and/or employment.


Report Author: The California EDGE Coalition

Date: August 2011


This installment of the Workforce Brief Series titled “Community Colleges – Career Technical Education” describes the partnerships and mechanisms that community colleges avail themselves of to ensure that middle skill career pathways are open to students of all backgrounds. To learn more, download the full text of the article here.


The state’s major investment in CTE comes from credit and non-credit course offerings at the 112 California community colleges, with about one third of all community college full time equivalents students (FTES) enrolled in CTE courses. In 2009-10, the community colleges received $1.78 billion in apportionment dollars to fund over 390,000 FTES in credit-bearing CTE courses and $48 million in non-credit courses serving almost 15,000 FTES.

Perkins Act

Colleges also receive Carl Perkins Act funding (the state received $140 million that is evenly split between community colleges and K-12) for the purpose of improving CTE programs, integrating academic and CTE instruction, and servicing special student populations. Local colleges receive 85 percent of the college share of these funds.


By The Numbers

Community College Total Enrollment vs. CTE Community College Enrollment


Total CC Enrollment


CTE CC Enrollment

33% (5 Million)

California workers earning less then $13.63 per hour


Legislation in 2004, Assembly Bill 1417, created a performance measurement system with annual reporting. The system, called
Accountability Reporting for the California Community Colleges (ARCC), includes the following workforce development indicators: number of vocational awards by program, the programs with the greatest enrollment, and income trends for students earning degrees and certificates.

Population Served

The CTE state plan indicates that roughly 1.4 million students are enrolled in community college CTE programs, or about 56 percent of the 2.5 million students that are enrolled in the colleges. Students vary widely in age with almost half over the age of 25, and 22 percent over the age of 40.

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