Bachelor’s Degree program should be available at ARC: Third largest community college in California should offer more opportunities

Bachelor’s degrees for select disciplines will be offered at 15 California community colleges beginning in 2017, but, somehow, not at American River College.

With ARC being the third largest community college in the state and in close proximity to the capital city, the Los Rios Community College District should be eager at the chance for bachelor’s degrees to be offered here.

According to Mitchel Benson, the associate vice chancellor for communications and media relations for Los Rios, the district is focusing on other priorities.

“Our priorities are with the Associate Degree for Transfer and for more ways for students to transfer to state universities,” Benson said.

The Associate Degree for Transfer, or ADT, allows Los Rios students to gain units towards a bachelor’s degree if they transfer to a California State University school that accepts the program.

The bachelor’s degree programs that would be offered by community colleges, however, are limited to fields for which the California State University and the University of California have no bachelor’s degree program for.

Jane Harmon, president of Yuba College in Marysville, said that her college is interested in offering a program in machine manufacturing.

Sacramento County has an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent, higher than the national average.

If American River College decides to pursue bachelor’s degree programs, students here can pursue a level of training in their chosen field that they can’t currently attain, as well as training for jobs that are open but for lack of qualified candidates.

The state is investing in student success not just because education is a social good and gives graduates a higher quality of life, but because people with higher incomes can contribute more to the economy and to the government through tax revenue.

Not everyone can afford a university education, and not everyone wants or needs a liberal arts or science degree.

Doesn’t it make sense for the college to respond first and foremost not to a 54-year-old state plan for education, but to our immediate needs and those of the workforce in this area?

Gov. Brown has given us the chance to do just this. We should be champing at the bit to answer his call.

Why should the college deny us–all tens of thousands of us students–the opportunity to follow our dreams and improve society and our economy at the same time while allowing other people to jump at those selfsame opportunities?

Our school needs to advocate for us and not pass up a chance to be the effective instrument it should be to broaden opportunity–and return on the state’s investment in the community college system.

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