How community colleges prepare a post-pandemic workforce

Students need community colleges to offer more than a pathway to a four-year degree. For many, the colleges have to provide skills for a first job or continuing education for a better job. According to the Public Policy Institute of California,  one out of every three jobs in California requires some college but less than a bachelor’s degree. This roundtable explores the opportunities and roadblocks confronting California’s 116 community colleges.

Is more funding needed to prepare for a post-pandemic economy? Should there be changes to state or institutional policies so colleges can quickly adapt to constantly evolving workforce needs? And are there solutions outside of California that the colleges could learn from? Panelists discuss how colleges can provide more workforce training to develop necessary skills, as well as partner with employers and industry leaders to guide more students into career pathways.


Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley

California Community Colleges

Eloy Ortiz Oakley has served as chancellor of the California Community Colleges since December 2016. His career in education includes serving as an adjunct faculty member teaching in and coordinating the Environmental Technology Certificate Program at Golden West College, manager of risk services at the Coast Community College District, vice president of college services at Oxnard College, and assistant superintendent/executive vice president of administrative services at the Long Beach Community College District.

Chauncy Lennon

Vice president for learning and work, Lumina Foundation

Chauncy Lennon, Ph.D., is the New York-based vice president for learning and work at Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. He leads Lumina’s community college strategy to equitably expand access to high-quality short-term credentials and associate degrees.

Anthony P. Carnevale

Research professor and director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce

Anthony P. Carnevale currently serves as research professor and director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, a position he has held since CEW was created in 2008. Between 1996 and 2006, Dr. Carnevale served as Vice President for Public Leadership at the Educational Testing Service (ETS). While at ETS, Dr. Carnevale was appointed by President George Bush to serve on the White House Commission on Technology and Adult Education.

Adriene "Alex" Davis

Assistant vice chancellor of economic & workforce development in the Educational Services division at Rancho Santiago Community College District and serves as the executive director for the Los Angeles Orange County Regional Consortium

Adriene “Alex” Davis is the assistant vice chancellor of Economic and Workforce Development in the Educational Services division at Rancho Santiago Community College District (RSCCD) and serves as the executive director for the Los Angeles Orange County Regional Consortium (LAOCRC). She serves as the primary contact for the LAOCRC CEOs and is responsible for the overall management of the LAOCRC, and accountable for all of its functions. She manages the LAOCRC in conjunction with the LAOCRC LA and Orange County directors; including LAOCRC-wide meetings, development and managing budgets, meeting reporting requirements and representing the LAOCRC at statewide meetings, overseeing LAOCRC policies, procedures, systems, and timelines.

Sergio Rosas

Founder and CEO, Next Shift Learning

Sergio Rosas is a workforce development and learning entrepreneur. He is the CEO and Founder of Next Shift Learning, a workforce design studio that builds economic freedom by shifting mindsets to shift futures ultimately. He has over a decade of experience designing, building, and launching local and national programs that aim to make the technology industry equitable through learning and capacity investments in communities of color through partnerships with employers and public institutions.

Previously, Sergio led a $1M national grant portfolio that offered financial and capacity building to ten Black, Latinx, and People of Color-led training organizations nationally. In addition, he co-authored research that demonstrates how diverse talent is not leveraged fully in each ecosystem. Moreover, he is a co-founder of the LA Tech Talent Pipeline, a partnership with Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Area of Chamber. This Pipeline placed 500 low-income youth and young adults in tech internships and provided 15,000 students with work-based learning experiences during his time

Ashley A. Smith

Panel moderator; Reporter, EdSource

Ashley A. Smith covers higher education and other student success reforms for EdSource. She joined EdSource in July 2019 after covering community colleges, for-profit schools and non-traditional students for Inside Higher Ed, in Washington D.C.

Anne Vasquez

Panel moderator; Executive Director, EdSource

Anne Vasquez took the helm as EdSource’s Executive Director in May 2021. Previously, she served as Director of Content and Strategic Initiatives at EdSource. In that role, she helped shape editorial strategy, grow partnerships and expand the organization’s footprint throughout California. Prior to joining EdSource, Anne was an executive at Tribune Publishing, where she most recently served as Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives and Chief Digital Officer. She previously was the Managing Editor of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Anne began her career at The Miami Herald and the San Jose Mercury News, where she was an education reporter and later an editor.