Category: Education

Fresno State again ranks 3rd in U.S. News for graduate-rate performance

Courtesy of Fresno State News; by BoNhia Lee

For the third consecutive year, Fresno State has placed among the top three best public universities for graduate-rate performance in U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 Best College rankings issued today.

Fresno State scored third-highest among public national universities and was No. 4 overall in the national universities category, improving from the No. 5 spot last year.

The graduation-rate performance category uses the University’s actual six-year graduation rate compared to predicted performance based on admissions data, school financial resources, the proportion of federal financial aid recipients who are first-generation, math and science orientations and the proportion of undergraduates receiving Pell grants.

The first-generation variable is new for this year’s rankings and gives schools more credit for their graduation rates when accomplished.

“At Fresno State, we believe that talent exists in every household,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “These rankings show that, through educating and empowering our students to obtain an academic degree, we are unleashing this talent to prepare a new generation of bold leaders for the Central Valley, the state and beyond.”

Fresno State’s quality and affordable education also was reflected in other categories of the U.S. News and World Report rankings.

  • The University ranked No. 6 for having the least debt load at graduation among public national universities and No. 18 among all national universities. Forty-one percent of the students who graduated in 2019 will have an average debt of $15,772 compared to the national average student debt of $29,475.
  • Fresno State moved up to No. 101 in overall rankings for public universities compared to No. 112 last year. San Diego State University is the only other California State University campus ranked on the list at No. 68.
  • In the new social-mobility category measuring how well schools graduate students who receive federal Pell Grants, meaning they come from low- and medium-income households, Fresno State ranked No. 27 ahead of San Diego State, which came in No. 66.

Fresno State’s reclassification as a Carnegie doctoral university in 2016 means it joined the top research universities in the nation in rankings produced by the magazine. Fresno State offers doctoral degrees in nursing, physical therapy and educational leadership.

U.S. News and World Report evaluates campuses on multiple factors for its overall national ranking. The magazine gives the most weight to graduation and retention rates followed by faculty resources, academic reputation, financial resources, student excellence and alumni giving.

This year, the number of ranked universities grew as a result of changes in the Carnegie classifications. A slew of regional universities joined the national rankings category increasing the field of competition.

In other rankings

The U.S. News and World Report rankings follows last month’s announcement of Fresno State as No. 24 in Washington Monthly’s annual nationwide college rankings. The Washington D.C.-based magazine calls attention to colleges that best serve the community ranking institutions on social mobility, research and service.

This is the fourth straight year Fresno State has ranked in Washington Monthly’s top 25. Fresno State was the only California State University campus selected alongside six Ivy League institutions, including top-ranked Stanford University; six University of California campuses; and MIT on the list.

The University also ranked No. 35 in MONEY Magazine’s 50 Best Public Colleges rankings for 2019. Fresno State was one of 12 California State University campuses included in the top 50.

Note: If you would like to share this story on your social media accounts, please link to the news story on FresnoStateNews.com.

CSUB geology department leading the pack


For students at the CSUB geology department, times have never been busier.

While they look at a wide variety of topics, much work is also being done studying things that have an impact on the everyday lives of people right here in the Central Valley.

Following the events in Ridgecrest, one of the obvious is earthquakes.

“How earthquakes have influenced the geomorphology of the valley, of particular areas. How those earthquakes initiate landslides. What’s happened in the past, and what can happen in the future,” Dr. Anthony Rathburn, the chair of department, said.

And the department’s hard work has certainly paid off.

Over the past few months, several geology students have won a series of prestigious scholarships and awards, and even been asked to speak at nationally acclaimed geological events.

For many of the students, it’s the teachers who make the difference.

“What I love is that they’re overly enthusiastic about geology. And that is what I want to learn about. And it just makes the students, and myself, excited,” Toni Ramirez, a graduate student, said.

But as far as Dr. Rathburn is concerned, it’s all just a part of the job.

“We have fantastic potential. And I view it as the department’s job, as my job to bring the potential out in those students to enable them to reach their goals.”

https://bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/csub-geology-department-leading-the-pack

CSUB named 6th Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly

Back to School
Students make their way across the Cal State Bakersfield campus during the first day of school Monday.

Cal State Bakersfield is a top choice among students looking for a quality education without spending a fortune on tuition — so much so that the university has been recognized as being among the West’s top 10 Best Bangs for the Buck.

CSUB ranked No. 6 in the category for the 2019 Washington Monthly College Rankings. The university also ranked No. 17 out of 200 for its graduate school.

“The Washington Monthly ranking is one that we’re particularly proud of because it’s for universities like ours that are mission-driven, that are working typically with students from the region that are coming to us for a hope for their future,” CSUB President Lynnette Zelezny said. “We’re happy we are able to really show off the great work that our faculty and staff are doing to support students who are largely first in their family to go to college.”

In order to keep the rankings in the future, Zelezny said her goal is to keep tuition and student fees down.

Washington Monthly said it focused on showing which colleges “do a good job promoting social mobility” and helping low-income and first-generation students with its Best Bang for the Buck ranking.

According to statistics provided by Washington Monthly, the net price of attendance for families below $75,000 income at CSUB is $5,119. Additionally, 77 percent of full-time undergraduates received need-based scholarship or grant aid during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Twelve other Cal State universities appear in the top 30 of the West rankings.

Getting into the top 20 for both cost and master’s degree categories could help CSUBboost enrollment and bring in a diverse group of students from all around California and the country.

“You’ll find we have a welcoming environment, personal touch, dedicated faculty and staff that will make sure you’re successful,” Zelezny said. “We’re proud of our programs, academics and athletics, we’re rising together and this is a university that’s on the map.”

Other California schools that made the top 10 for Best Bang for the Buck include Stanford University (No. 2), Cal State Stanislaus (No. 3), Cal State Los Angeles (No. 5), Cal State Northridge (No. 8) and Cal State Long Beach (No. 10). For other rankings, visit https://washingtonmonthly.com/2019college-guide.

https://www.bakersfield.com/news/csub-named-th-best-bang-for-the-buck-by-washington/article_ad7b6336-c915-11e9-820b-e7ba301a43aa.html

Kern quickly rises to become California’s top hemp-producing county

As of Friday afternoon, the county’s Agricultural Commissioner’s Office had registered 33 different entities planning to grow hemp on 76 sites comprising 6,864 acres, a county-wide total the agency said eclipses every other in the state.

With interest skyrocketing among local and out-of-town investors, there is some concern the boom in hemp cultivation could lead to a glut of material to produce the trendy cure-all cannabidiol, or CBD. But the plant itself is versatile enough that market participants are hopeful the crop is here to stay.

“I’d like to see this become a crop on your top-10 list in Kern County,” said Arvin-area hemp grower Kent Stenderup. The diversified farmer said he gets phone calls every week from people interested in contracting his company to grow the plant or show them how to do it themselves.

So many people have contacted county ag officials about their intentions of growing hemp locally that such inquiries now take about 80 percent of their time, said Cerise Montanio, deputy director of Kern’s Agricultural Commissioner’s Office.

WIDE INTEREST

State records show Kern hemp registrations have been issued to companies with mailing addresses as far away as Encino. Companies with names like CA Hempire and Freedom Farms LLC have gotten approval to grow on various parcels concentrated in the Lamont and Arvin area.

Questions remain as to how well-rooted the plant is locally. Montanio said harvesting techniques remain experimental and that it’s still unclear how many of the hemp fields being grown now will meet the requirement that the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol, accounts for no more than about one-third of 1 percent of the plant’s chemistry.

“It’s a tricky little game,” she said, adding that any plant testing greater than that THC threshold must be destroyed.

HANDS-OFF APPROACH

One reason Kern has attracted so much interest, she said, is the county’s accommodating regulations. Other counties have caps on how much acreage may be used to produce hemp, while others ban cultivation of the plant altogether, she said. But not Kern.

“We don’t have a moratorium. We don’t have ordinances,” she said.  “We are allowing it.”

She and Stenderup expressed worries the surge of interest in CBD oil may quickly lead to over-planting. Stenderup said he hopes the situation doesn’t soon create a market “bubble.”

Even if the CBD market doesn’t need as much hemp as is being grown, though, Montanio said the plant’s strong fiber could prove useful for things like textiles, straws and even automobile parts.

ADDED BENEFITS

On the other hand, Kern’s openness to the crop may allow it to capitalize on another aspect of the CBD trend: oil processing.

The director of the county’s Planning and Natural Resources Department, Lorelei Oviatt, noted that hemp plants may be turned into oil within the county’s borders, but that this activity can only take place legally on land zoned for agricultural use. Once that’s done, however, the oil can be processed into creams or lotions on non-ag real estate.

She was optimistic hemp’s relatively low consumption of water would help Kern farmers weather upcoming restrictions on groundwater pumping. Plus, the need to extract oil from the crop is already bringing underused ag processing plants in the Arvin area back to life.

Here’s where Fresno State ranks on a list for colleges that best serve the country

 

Fresno State has once again been ranked in the top 25 universities in the country by Washington Monthly magazine.

The school has met that bar for four straight years, landing this year at No. 24 out of 395 institutions of higher education, according to the magazine.

Also on that list are six Ivy League schools, six University of California campuses, MIT and top-ranked Stanford University.

Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro said the school is proud to be recognized as a leading public university for expanding opportunities to diverse students and conducting beneficial research, according to a news release.

“Just as importantly, these rankings place a premium on public service, which transforms our surrounding communities, where more than 80% of our alumni choose to stay and work,” Castro said.

Washington Monthly uses criteria for what it calls “a different kind of college ranking,” focusing on colleges that best serve the country. Some of the highlights included:

▪ An increasing number of undergraduates have opportunities to work with faculty on research at Fresno State, according to the news release. A record $45 million in research grants and contracts were awarded to the university last year.

▪ Thousands of students, faculty and staff provided more than 1 million hours of volunteer service to the community every year for the past decade.

▪ Nearly 6,000 students, about 63% of whom are the first in their families to go to college, graduated from Fresno State in May. That’s the largest class in the school’s history.

Some of the schools on the list are wealthy and can provide low-income students financial aid and support, but that model is hard to replicate for many universities, the release said.

“Real improvement will mean following the example of institutions like (Fresno State), our 24th-ranked national university, which enrolls an unusually large number of low-income and first-generation students and helps them graduate into good-paying jobs,” the magazine said.

The university two weeks ago ranked No. 35 in Money Magazine’s top 50 “Best Public Colleges”list, which measures the affordability of nationally competitive institutions.

Fresno State enrolled about 23,622 students this fall and about 89% are from the Central Valley, according to numbers from the university. The school looks to open up admissions to about 1,000 more upper-division transfer students this spring.

https://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/education/article234392387.html

This community college in Stockton has been named one of the best in the country

 

SAN JOAQUIN DELTA COLLEGE

San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton was recently named the fourth best community college in the United States.

WalletHub, a personal finance website, analyzed 710 community colleges across the country on a variety of merits and found that the nearby school was the best in California.

Local colleges in the Los Rios Community College District made the list as well, with Folsom Lake College placing 118th overall and 18th in California, American River College placing 148th overall and 22nd in California, Sacramento City College placing 186th overall and 28th in California, Sierra College placing 253rd overall and 40th in California, and Cosumnes River College placing 397th overall and 60th in California.

WalletHub’s ranking is based on tuition costs – San Joaquin Delta College received praise for its affordability – educational outcomes and career outcomes.

The Stockton community college tied for third lowest in-state tuition along with American River College, Sacramento City College and Folsom Lake College.

San Joaquin Delta College’s enrollment fees for California residents are just $46 per unit, which adds up to $552 for a full academic load of 12 units.

The community college was beat out by State Technical College of Missouri in first place overall, Arkansas State University, Mountain Home in second place and Southern Arkansas University Tech in third.

These three colleges received higher marks from WalletHub in terms of educational outcomes, though still were given lower scores for cost, and the top two were given higher marks for career outcomes. San Joaquin Delta College was given a significantly better score for career outcomes than Southern Arkansas University Tech.

https://www.fresnobee.com/news/california/article234221017.html

You’ve Heard of Berkeley. Is Merced the Future of the University of California?

 

By Jennifer Medina

July 19, 2018

MERCED, Calif. — As he walks to class at the University of California, Merced, Freddie Virgen sees a sea of faces in various shades of brown. He is as likely to hear banda corridos blaring out of his classmates’ earphones as hip-hop. With affectionate embraces, he greets fellow members of Hermanos Unidos, a peer support group for Latinos that is one of the largest student organizations on campus.

“When I looked at other campuses, I would find myself feeling that I didn’t belong, like I’d stick out,” he said. “This was the only place where I saw so many students I could connect to, who would get where I was coming from. Even if it felt like academic shock, it wouldn’t feel like culture shock.”

In the decades since a ballot measure banned affirmative action in California’s public institutions, the University of California has faced persistent criticism that it is inadequately serving Latinos, the state’s largest ethnic group. The disparity between the state’s population and its university enrollment is most stark at the state’s flagship campuses: at University of California, Los Angeles, Latinos make up about 21 percent of all students; at Berkeley, they account for less than 13 percent.

But at Merced, the newest addition to the 10-campus University of California system, about 53 percent of the undergraduates are Latino, most closely mirroring the demographics of the nation’s most diverse state.

Merced lacks the same national reputation for academic excellence as other campuses in the University of California system. It has the highest acceptance rate by far (70 percent compared with 16 percent at U.C.L.A.), and some students across the state do not see it as in the same league as the other campuses. Graduation rates have consistently been lower than at any other campus in the system: 45 percent of freshmen who entered in 2009 had earned a degree four years later, compared with 65 percent at San Diego and 76 percent at Berkeley.

Merced has yet to hire the star faculty found at other U.C.s and has a much smaller graduate program. The college does not attract the state’s top-scoring applicants when it comes to test scores and grade-point averages. Eligible students from California who are rejected from other University of California campuses are often funneled to Merced, which offers them a spot even if they have not applied. But more than 90 percent of those students rejected the offer, according to a 2016 state audit.

Still, many Latino students are attracted to the campus, and many professors and administrators in the system are working to ensure their success.

During student orientation each summer at Merced, parent workshops are offered in Spanish. Each year, there are large celebrations and altars for Día de los Muertos and performances from the campus ballet folkorico. Study session snack binges often include tostilocos, corn chips or Cheetos smothered in chamoy, a sticky salty-sweet sauce made popular in Mexico.

Merced, which opened its doors in 2005, is an outlier in other ways, too. The campus draws students from all over California, but almost none from other states or countries. Nearly three-quarters of students are the first in their families to attend college.

And whereas other campuses are situated near the state’s big urban centers, Merced sits in the middle of California’s Central Valley, a vast agricultural region that has long been one of the poorest and overlooked parts of the state. In the early 2000s, state leaders focused on opening a campus there to serve a region that lagged far behind in educational attainment.

“More Latinos than ever are trying to go to college and they are largely not represented in the state’s elite public university system,” said Audrey Dow, the senior vice president at the Campaign for College Opportunity, which has pushed for more Latinos and students from California to be admitted. “Half of all school-age children are Latino, so it’s the future we’re looking at. If we don’t improve these numbers quickly, a significant population will continue to be shut out.”

Now, more than any other campus, Merced is pivoting to serve a new generation of students. If California hopes to address the vast gap between rich and poor, students such as Mr. Virgen will need to earn college degrees. It is something of a paradox: the future of the state depends on whether the University of California can grow to be more like Merced, and the future of Merced depends on whether it can grow to be more like other campuses.

Surrounded by vast green fields on every side, with cows meandering by a small lake, the campus evokes a kind of isolation that is compounded by the long stretch of highway that needs to be traversed to find it. For students coming from cities like Los Angeles and Oakland, it can either feel like relief or a painful shock.

Mr. Virgen, a psychology major, often thinks the remoteness deepens the relationships among students.

“Here, you don’t feel like you’re in exile from your community, which could lead to all kinds of mental health issues,” said Mr. Virgen, who was born in Los Angeles after his parents emigrated from Jalisco, Mexico. But he does worry that entering graduate school or the professional world, where he may encounter far fewer Latinos, may be jarring. “That’s one of my fears. Latinos aren’t very well represented in the professional work force now compared to whites. So will I be in for a culture shock then?”

Latinos make up the majority of students at fewer than two dozen four-year public colleges nationally, including the University of Texas at El Paso and Florida International University in Miami. Latinos are also the majority at a handful of campuses and make up nearly 40 percent of all students in the California State University system, which is larger and less selective than the University of California. Merced was not specifically intended as a predominantly Latino school, but many students, professors and administrators see the campus demographics as a point of pride that drew them there.

Though he rarely spoke Spanish with his friends in Los Angeles, growing up in Koreatown and attending high school in Silver Lake, Jason De Leon, 20, finds himself using it far more often at Merced, where he is majoring in cognitive science. When he meets someone and picks up that they know the language, he will likely pepper his sentences with “pues” and “oye.” When he was setting up an event on campus and needed help, he shouted out to a group of friends the same way his grandmother used to call out to him: “Ven! Ayúdame!”

“It worked, it grabbed their attention,” said Mr. De Leon, whose parents immigrated from Guatemala in the 1990s. “That kind of stuff happens all the time. Some of it is being homesick, some of it is slang and some things just make much more sense in Spanish.”

Although Latinos are the dominant culture on campus, there have been signs of discomfort in recent years, as the national debate over immigration arrived on campus.

Earlier this year, the College Republicans set up a table on campus with signs that said “I love undocumented firearms” and “Ice Ice Baby,” referring to the acronym for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There was also a phone number posted for students to call federal immigration authorities.

The signs prompted weeks of protest by Latino students. Dorothy Leland, the chancellor, issued a statement in March saying that she was troubled that anyone would wish harm on undocumented students and “would deliberately introduce added stress and anxiety into their fellow students’ lives.”

The incident also prompted renewed calls for a student center on campus that would have dedicated spaces for Latino student groups.

In part, Latinos make up the majority of students at Merced because many have no other choice in the University of California system. The system promises to admit all students who graduate in the top 9 percent of their local high schools, but that is no guarantee that they will receive a spot at the most competitive schools, like U.C.L.A., Berkeley or San Diego. Often, students who are rejected elsewhere are sent to less-sought-after campuses such as Santa Cruz, Riverside, and Merced, all of which have the highest percentages of Latino students.

The campus is also attracting students from the surrounding Central Valley, many of whom considered other University of California schools out of reach and applied specifically to Merced. The number of applicants from the Central Valley to the U.C. system have more than doubled since the Merced campus opened, many the first in their families to take that step.

As a child in Fresno, Tatiana Acosta did not know anyone who had attended college, other than her teachers. Her mother has spent years working in a packing plant, filling small boxes with figs. Her grandfather, too, had held down mostly low-wage jobs in the agriculture industry after moving to the Central Valley from Nayarit, Mexico.

But in her sophomore year of high school, Ms. Acosta was recruited to an Upward Bound program, run by Merced to help high school students get into college. She spent several nights in the dorms at Merced that summer with other low-income students from Fresno, which is about an hour’s drive south.

“Before that, I was not doing anything good, I was not on the right path,” Ms. Acosta, 19, said one recent evening. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life or even if I was going to finish high school. But I started connecting myself with people who wanted to see me succeed. It made me want something better for myself.”

To improve the graduation rate on campus, administrators say they are trying all sorts of strategies for getting first-generation students not only to enroll, but to earn diplomas.

Ms. Acosta has struggled to juggle her family life back home with her new life on campus. Last fall, after her older sister was sentenced to several months in jail, her mother was often lonely and depressed, so Ms. Acosta felt obligated to visit. But Ms. Acosta struggled to stay on top of her school work, and ended up nearly failing a course in math and had to repeat a writing class. By the spring semester, Ms. Acosta, who is majoring in management and business economics, told her mother that she could visit only once every two weeks for a night at a time.

“She didn’t want me to just leave her,” she said. “It was very hard to explain to my mom that this wasn’t about me not wanting to see her, but about doing what I came here to do.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/19/us/university-california-merced-latino-students.html?login=email&auth=login-email&utm_source=CALmatters+Newsletter&utm_campaign=02db22ffc7-WHATMATTERS_NEWSLETTER&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_faa7be558d-02db22ffc7-67854805

UC MERCED Student Discovers 65-Million-Year-Old Triceratops Skull

By Josh Axelrod | NPR
Friday, July 26, 2019

As a child, Harrison Duran would visit the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, captivated by the fossils preserved in asphalt. Now 23, Duran is responsible for his own fossil discovery: the 65-million-year-old partial skull of a triceratops.

In June, the University of California, Merced student participated in a paleontology dig with Michael Kjelland, a biology professor at Mayville State University of North Dakota. The two met at a conference and began a mentor-mentee relationship – now, Duran is an intern at Kjelland’s nonprofit group, Fossil Excavators.

Duran’s account isn’t too far off from the action-movie plot the name Fossil Excavators evokes.

The pair went off into the Badlands of North Dakota on a two-week paleontology expedition. Arriving at Hell Creek Formation, an area famed for cretaceous dinosaur fossils, they came across the skull.

“I’m just feeling absolute – it’s almost like disbelief at first, but absolute just joy, excitement and it’s a very fulfilling feeling,” Duran tells NPR, about the moment the team made the find. “It’s almost like a spiritual moment in a way because I’ve been so passionate about this topic.”

After finding leaf fossils embedded in sandstone, the excavators continued forward and noticed the triceratops horn sticking out above the ground.

The dinosaur skull, which Kjelland and Duran named Alice, will be prepared for display after the specimen is solidified. Duran plans to have a mold exhibited at his school, where he is entering the fifth year of a 4+1 program in biology.

Duran’s dinosaur passion is prehistoric. He can’t remember the moment he first became infatuated.

“Since I was an infant I’ve always been so fascinated with a bunch of titans of these lost worlds,” Duran says.

As a freshman biology student, he took a course on the History of Dinosaurs with Justin Yeakel.

“He was just one of the most curious students in the class,” Yeakel says. “He probably knew about as much as I did about dinosaurs and would always ask really good questions.”

Duran plans to continue on with his biology degree and keep going on expeditions with his fossil-hunting mentor Kjelland. He hopes that the 65-million-year-old skull will stimulate interest in the land before time and the world of nature.

“I just want to say that our mission is for public education,” Duran says. “Our mission is to make sure that the public can become inspired and re-engaged in paleoecology, paleontology or just conservation.”

http://www.capradio.org/news/npr/story/?storyid=745760553

Training California’s Students for Well-Paying Jobs

BONNIE BROOKS JULY 18, 2019
photo - Professor Using Model to Train Nursing Students

California’s community college system is the largest provider of career education—also known as career technical education or vocational education—in the state. Career education programs play a critical role in training students, especially underserved and nontraditional students, for jobs that provide solid wages but don’t require a four-year college degree.

How can colleges identify these jobs? In a recent PPIC report, we compare occupational earnings to regional poverty thresholds to assess how future workforce needs connect to well-paying jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. Other work by the Brookings Institute focuses on “opportunity industries,” in which good jobs—those that provide stable employment, middle-class wages, and benefits—represent an above-average share of the industry’s total jobs and are filled by workers with only some college training.

Opportunity industries are largely concentrated in fields that align with many of the community colleges’ career education disciplines, including business, engineering, health, information technology (IT), and public and protective services. A critical question is whether students are successfully completing programs that will prepare them for careers in these fields.

The good news is that over the past 20 years, there has been a consistent upward trend in the completion of career education credentials in California’s community colleges, with major gains observed in the last decade. This increase spans industries. Notably, more degrees and certificates are being earned in health than in any other discipline—this is important since health credentials are especially valuable in increasing students’ subsequent earnings.

Figure - Community Colleges Have Seen Steady Growth in the Number of Career Education Credentials Awarded

But not all credentials are associated with large economic gains. For example, in our analysis of wage returns, we find that career education credentials in business and IT do not provide much of a wage boost.

Furthermore, there seems to be a mismatch between the awards with the most value and the awards students are earning. While awards from longer programs generally tend to confer more value than those from shorter ones, completion of short-term awards has increased in several career education disciplines.

Community colleges and industry partners need to work together to ensure students have a path to well-paying jobs and the tools needed to succeed. As shown in our research, some of that work begins with colleges structuring effective pathways to these industries and clearly communicating the economic returns and opportunities available to students.

Moreover, strong partnerships between community colleges and nearby industries will be essential in creating a bridge between students and their industry of choice. Ultimately, these efforts can help improve the economic well-being of individual students and the state as a whole.

https://www.ppic.org/blog/training-californias-students-for-well-paying-jobs/