Good Jobs With Equity: A promise for a better future workforce


Anthony Vasquez/The Rip

Kathy Booth, project director of educational data and policy at WestEd,talking to the audience at the panel about student pathways into the workforce.

Anthony Vasquez, Reporter

For many students, their goal of following a certain pathway after their education involves a stable career. Most of the time it is usually their motivation to follow through with their education, but there are often cases where personal situations cause them to change their plans into following their pathways. The Good Jobs With Equity panel, hosted by California Community Colleges State Chancellor Eloy Oakley and KCCD Chancellor Dr. Sonya Christian presented the important conversation of prioritizing economic and social mobility for underrepresented and minoritized communities. 

The panel was hosted in person at the Bakersfield Marriott, within the convention center’s Grand Ballroom on May 4. The event was also broadcasted through a livestream within the Youtube platform for those who weren’t able to attend. The video of the broadcast was also posted on the KCCD’s YouTube channel for people who are interested in watching what occurred during the event. 

Kathy Booth, project director of educational data and policy at WestEd opened up the event for the audience by starting with an insightful conversation. The main issue with the workforce today is that there aren’t many resources available for students that are unprecedented workers. Booth stated, “The pathways to economic mobility, is that the skills that you need to become a manager, or a leader, or an entrepreneur, are normally taught on the Gen-ed side of the house, not in CTE.” It brings up the issue that there is a lack of work opportunities for students who are not following a pathway that involves participation in general education. 

“When you have somebody who comes to you, who is in the middle of an economic emergency for their family and they’re like, ‘I need a job right now,’ and you appropriately direct them into a short term training program, if we are not thinking about how we are gonna reach back out to them, and make sure they can come back and keep going to their dreams, we end up perpetuating the status quo, and that’s what we really need to dig into today,” adds Booth.

Booth also brought up several initiatives that are currently doing their part in helping with these situations. The foundation of Community College is currently running a program called R.E.A.C.H., or the Racial Equity in Adult’s Credentials in Higher Education. The program is attached to guided pathways for these students, which not only focuses on those who finished their high school education, but they also have goals of going directly to transfer pathways and several more. 

Booth ends her conversation by stating, “We are in the privileged position to be able to figure out how we can help them get there. We are the ones who built these systems, you have the power in your hands to make it possible for students to obtain these dreams.”