The timing, also, is perfect: In 2016, at the recommendation of the California Community College Board of Governors, Gov. Jerry Brown and Legislature approved the Strong Workforce Program to support the state’s goal of producing one million middle-skill postsecondary credentials by 2025. The $248 million annual investment will bolster career pathways in high-growth, high-opportunity industries and fuel upward mobility and regional economic success.

The engagement of businesses is critical to the program’s success. So, we encourage human resources executives at mid-size and larger businesses to reach out directly to the community college system or via the Center for a Competitive Workforce, a partnership dedicated to progress on this issue. The colleges have all committed to providing a liaison for businesses.

As technology adoption accelerates, we risk leaving many workers behind. That would be detrimental to businesses and miss an opportunity untapped to create income equality. A certain way to keep our region’s economy strong for all is to ensure our workforce has relevant skills. Let’s help future-proof our collective prosperity by creating more education-business partnerships.

Kathryn E. Jeffery, Ph.D., is superintendent and president of Santa Monica College; Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D., is chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District.

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