By Natalie Hannum, M.P.A., Dean of Workforce and Economic Development

California Community Colleges Strong Workforce Stars is an annual recognition and celebration for career education programs, also known as career technical education, whose students show significant gains in factors important for advancing social mobility represented by: 

  • An increase in earnings by 50% or more
  • Attainment of the regional living wage by 70% or more
  • 90% or more were employed in a job similar to their field of study

Strong Workforce Stars is an output of the Strong Workforce Program, an annual recurring investment of $200 million to spur career education in California Community Colleges (see Strong Workforce Program). 

2018 LMC Strong Workforce Stars

A number of LMC’s career education programs were recognized as 2018 Strong Workforce Stars for their programmatic achievements:  

Gold Stars — Graduates achieved strong outcomes in all three categories: earnings gains, living wages, and employment in a job similar to their field of study

Registered Nursing: 83% increase in earnings, 77% of students attained the regional living wage and 100% of students are employed in a job similar to their field of study

Silver Stars — Graduates demonstrated strong outcomes in two of these employment and earnings categories

Basic Law Enforcement Academy: 240% increase in earnings and 97% of students attained the regional living wage

Process Technology: 54% increase in earnings and 71% of students attained the regional living wage

Early Childhood Education: 54% increase in earnings and 90% of students are employed in a job similar to their field of study

Bronze Stars — Graduates met a high bar in one category

Electrical & Instrumentation Technology: 78% increase in earnings

Appliance Repair: 56% increase in earnings

Welding Technology: 93% increase in earnings

Automotive Technology: 109% increase in earnings

Computer Networking: 100% of students are employed in a job similar to their field of study

Administration of Justice: 130% increase in earnings

Fire Technology: 120% increase in earnings

In addition to themes in the types of programs that generate strong levels of economic mobility – such as health care, manufacturing, and public service – six program characteristics emerged that are hallmarks of effective, evidence-based practices. Strong Workforce Stars are generally:

  1. Industry Driven: Programs use a range of strategies that expand their relationships with employers designed to build trust, understand occupational expectations and trends, and position themselves as a go-to source for future employees.
  2. Career Directed: Top programs reinforce paths to employment through the integration of real-world experiences such as hands-on simulations, project-based learning, field experiences and internships. 
  3. Faculty Led: Career education faculty contribute to students’ employment outcomes by working in the industry while teaching, staying connected through sector-based associations, and/or participating in professional networks.
  4. Student Centered: Effective programs respond to the priorities, experiences, and needs of the students through career counseling, educational planning, progress monitoring, tutoring, and one-on-one faculty intervention when a student is falling behind. 
  5. Data Informed: Effective programs continuously use data and evidence to direct the development and delivery of their offerings, often by soliciting information from students and employers.
  6. Intersegmentally Engaged: Strong Workforce Stars often jump start high school students on a path to employment through dual enrollment, articulation agreements, and/or summer bridge programs. 

Considered together, these characteristics provide useful guideposts for developing and delivering
Los Medanos College career education programs in any sector. 

For more information on the Strong Workforce Stars Program, please visit: