California Community Colleges Launches New Student-Centered Support for Guided Pathways Implementation

California Community Colleges Launches New Student-Centered Support for Guided Pathways Implementation

Resources and technical assistance will further center the needs of adult students of color in guided pathways

SACRAMENTO, CA—December 6, 2021—In partnership this month, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation for California Community Colleges will launch activities to help colleges strategically center adult learners of color in guided pathways, an equity-focused framework that forges clearer paths for students and removes systemic obstacles to their success. The Racial Equity for Adult Credentials in Higher Education (REACH) Collaborative, funded by Lumina Foundation, will provide resources and technical assistance to 25 colleges to increase success of adult learners of color through guided pathways, advancing the goals of the Vision for Success and Call to Action.

“I commend our colleges for being student-centered and forward-thinking, for courageously addressing systemic barriers that perpetuate equity gaps, and for collaborating in these activities to drive transformational change at their institutions,” said Executive Vice Chancellor Marty Alvarado.

REACH will build on resources, programs, and support from the state and system to help colleges identify friction points in student journeys and fundamentally redesign with the student in mind. The network will convene in five workshops through 2023 to optimize colleges’ guided pathways efforts for adult learners of color, such as by embedding culturally sensitive practices and sequenced student supports and creating pathways with quality short-term credentials that lead to associate degrees. These efforts will make it possible for students to pursue better job prospects while continuing to progress toward a degree. The Success Center at the Foundation for California Community Colleges will facilitate the project and connect California’s REACH colleges to technical assistance providers, including California-based WestEd, and to a national network of colleges in five other states.

Guided pathways is an equity-centered framework to advance the system’s Vision for Success, helping colleges to increase the number of students earning community college credentials and close equity gaps. The adoption of guided pathways at institutions across the country has shown promising results in improving completion rates, but more needs to be done to serve adults and close racial equity gaps. Disparities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic threaten to widen the 17-point percentage gap between white and Black adults and further compound inequalities.

There is an urgent need to provide functional and equitable pathways to attainment for adults of color,” said Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “Lumina is proud to support the REACH Collaborative, not only as a necessary effort to reach our own attainment goal but as a moral imperative. Community colleges are uniquely suited for this critical work because of their long history as diverse engines of social mobility, addressing the needs of both students and the workforce.”

To learn more about Guided Pathways in California community colleges, please visit the Chancellor’s Office website. To learn more about the REACH Collaborative, please see Lumina Foundation’s recent announcement.


The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and Chancellor’s Office. The Foundation’s mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community Colleges system, the largest higher education system in the nation. Incorporated in 1998, the Foundation works to benefit all California Community College students, colleges, college foundations, and the system as a whole by accelerating paths to economic and social mobility, strengthening communities, and reducing barriers to opportunities for all Californians. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization. For more information, visit

California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, composed of 73 districts and 116 colleges with 116 campuses serving 2.1 million students per year. California community colleges provide career education and workforce training; guaranteed transfer to four-year universities; degree and certificate pathways; and basic skills education in English and math. As the state’s engine for social and economic mobility, the California Community Colleges supports the Vision for Success, a strategic plan designed to improve student success outcomes, increase transfer rates and eliminate achievement gaps. For more information, please visit their Facebook and Twitter.

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. Their goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy. For more information about The Lumina Foundation and the Racial Equity for Adult Credentials in Higher ed: The REACH Collaborative, please visit their website.