ZTCs for High Wage, High Demand Fields: Bay Area Landscape Study

Project Start Date: 

While Bay Area community colleges have long engaged in innovative OER projects, their efforts have generally not encompassed degree or certificate programs that position graduates for success in the highest paying, highest demand Bay Area careers—including computing, architectural and engineering, and healthcare (see U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Western Information Office, and CCCCO’s Labor Market Projections). 

In 2016, 25 colleges across California, five of which were Bay Area community colleges, were awarded grants from the CCC Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO) to develop Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) degrees. With the exception of a few colleges, nearly all of the ZTCs developed were in programs such as child development, sociology, and general education—fields that do not address Bay Area wage disparities, wherein 68 percent of Black and 72 percent of Latino residents are low income, compared to 35 percent of White residents (see Bay Area Equity Atlas data, 2020). 

With support from the 20MM Michelson Foundation's Spark Grant program, ISKME will conduct a landscape study and gap analysis of current and planned ZTC degrees in high wage, high demand fields. In the long term and as state funding for OER development continues, the project aims to support Bay Area community colleges in ZTC decision making through a regional network around shared data and evidence, while also connecting to other parts of the state seeking to apply the gap analysis findings to their local economies.
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