Organization Name: California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy

Focus Area: Adult Learners
Region: United States
Sector: Non-Profit
Investment Year: 2023
California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy is a nonpartisan policy research organization focused on identifying solutions to California’s most critical higher education and workforce issues. We work to transform the state’s higher education system into an engine of economic opportunity that empowers all Californians, particularly those from underserved communities, to achieve their full potential.

Why We Invested

State-level policy decisions can have a significant effect on the lives and success of student parents, particularly in a state as large and diverse as California. In 2022, the passage of AB 2881, which made California the first state to require that educational institutions provide priority registration for student parents, signaled growing momentum for policy change to support the success of the state’s parenting students. We invested in two leading California-based policy and advocacy organizations, Education Trust-West and California Competes, to formalize and co-lead a coalition of partners working to advance policies that can meaningfully improve the lives of the state’s one in five college students who are raising kids, providing a model for other states around the country.

As a first-generation college student, woman of color, and daughter of an immigrant, California provided me the opportunity to grow as a person, scholar, and community member. The benefits of higher education profoundly impacted my life. I want all Californians to have this opportunity to reach their potential, regardless of their background or what life throws at them. Moreover, we must make this happen if we want to grow, or even maintain, our standing as a world leader.
Su Jin Jez, Ph.D., California Competes CEO