About Us

Serving Our Colleges & Community

Silicon Valley is a powerful economic engine in California, which is the 6th largest economy in the world. However, the innovation which made Silicon Valley famous has not transferred to the social sector sufficiently to mitigate inequality. In time, the outcomes we will achieve in Silicon Valley to shrink inequality and grow the working class will demonstrate effective practice for the nation. But for now, the gap of income inequality has widened. The California Budget and Policy Center reports that greater income inequality is associated with greater difficulty for low-income families to climb the economic ladder and greater equity gaps in educational outcomes.

The high cost of living in Silicon Valley triggers out-migration and hinders talent recruitment. Inequality challenges regional planning for transportation, housing, and sustainability. Social justice advocates and corporate leaders alike seek to mitigate a perfect storm of disproportionate underemployment and unemployment in communities of color, inadequate educational attainment by the fastest growing populations, unsustainable resource demands, disproportionate incarceration, voter apathy and suppression, and a persistent myth that merit alone matters. Such a myth is aspirational, but it masks the reality that our history, systems, and policies accrue benefit to some groups more than others. The Community College Center for Economic Mobility serves at the nexus of economic mobility and workforce development as an expression of the San José Evergreen Community College District’s (SJECCD) values of opportunity, equity, and social justice.

Our History

Established in 1988, the Workforce Institute (WI) cultivates the rich diversity of our communities with economic opportunity while supporting the competitive workforce development needs of our regional economy. With an organizational history rooted in providing customized on-demand training, the new CCCEM will continue to include robust workforce development, while adding a broader vision of working with underserved communities to generate economic mobility. This variance in focus shifts the purpose and meaning of the organization directly to the strengths, capabilities, and needs of our diverse communities for economic mobility. Rather than focusing only on labor market demand, which has left many behind, the CCCEM provides programs that enhance a sustainable and equitable economy where realizable opportunity reduces inequality and creates a highly skilled workforce. These programs focus on serving students and community members with an equity mindset, which ultimately leads to a greater participation in our colleges, as well as an increase of pathway onramps leading to a highly skilled and diverse locally grown workforce.

The Work

The Community College Center for Economic Mobility (CCCEM) leads educational and economic advancement by working towards a socially just and sustainable regional economy ensuring the promise of higher education for a better life to the San José Evergreen Community College District’s (SJECCD) diverse communities.

In simple terms, economic mobility means the next generation is better off than the previous generation. Community colleges are transformational opportunities for students to achieve their credentials and positively impact economic mobility. CCCEM works to make the complex ecology configuration of opportunity fit together like pieces of a puzzle. When all the pieces fit, we make real the promise of higher education for a better life. The CCCEM provides our community with on-demand training, guided pathways, financial capability workshops, career exploration and readiness coaching, non-credit education options, and more in order to work towards bridging the inequality gap present in Silicon Valley. Included in this booklet is detailed information about the various services offered through the CCCEM.

Highlights of 2017

In 2017 the Workforce Institute expanded its impact on mitigating economic disparity in the region with the full launch of SparkPoint San José. WI continued to expand its focus and support to increase capacity for adult learners through non-credit bridge to college programs, strategies for career pathway development, high quality customized training solutions for businesses and other organizations, and vitality for lifelong learners.

The rebrand of Workforce Institute to Community College Center for Economic Mobility (CCCEM) kicked off in 2017. This vision continues to include robust workforce development, but now it will be fortified within a broader vision of the role of higher education in generating economic mobility with marginalized communities.

While the difference may initially seem subtle, it shifts the purpose and meaning of the organization directly to the needs and capabilities of communities for economic mobility and democratic participation. Rather than focusing first on labor market demand, a strategy which has left many behind, we seek a robust, sustainable and equitable economy where realizable opportunity creates a highly skilled workforce.

Starting with an equity–minded focus with (not on) diverse communities will lead to greater participation, fewer pathway loss points, and increased attainment supporting a highly skilled, diverse workforce needed for a competitive economy.

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