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A coalition of higher ed organizations is launching a campaign, called California Reconnect, to re-enroll adult learners who stopped out of college in the state.

The three-year effort, announced today, will involve working with up to 30 California colleges and universities, with a focus on campuses located in regions that suffered economic losses during the pandemic. The effort aims to help these institutions re-engage students who have some college credits but no degree and improve their policies and practices to enhance student success outcomes.

The organizations spearheading the campaign include the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP), InsideTrack, California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy and ProjectAttain!

California Reconnect will be modeled on an approach by ProjectAttain!, a group of colleges and universities working to boost educational attainment in Sacramento area, which helps students identify college options that best fit their career plans and life circumstances, rather than attempting to re-enroll them in their original institutions. A data-mining tool from IHEP, a higher ed research and advocacy organization, will help colleges identify former students, and coaches from InsideTrack, a student-success coaching organization, will guide the students through choosing programs that align with their interests and re-enrolling. California Competes plans to document the experiences of students returning through the campaign to gain a better understanding of their needs in the re-enrollment process.

“Helping adult learners return to and complete degrees and credentials is an equity, economic, and civic engagement imperative for the state of California,” Su Jin Jez, executive director of California Competes, said in a news release. “This is about giving working adults the resources and fresh start they need to achieve their educational and career goals. It’s about helping them attain the skills and credentials needed to access rewarding careers that will lift up themselves, their families, their communities, and the state.”

The coalition also aims to gather data and insights on best practices to share with state lawmakers and inform other re-engagement campaigns.

“Higher education offers a path to a better living and a better life—but only if students are able to complete college and earn a valuable degree,” IHEP president and CEO Mamie Voight said in the release. “There are many reasons students may need to stop out from higher education, and that means they stop short of the workplace advancement, economic security, and social mobility a degree can provide.”