Strong Workforce Stars Recognition

Community college career education programs advancing economic & social mobility

California Community Colleges Strong Workforce Stars is a new, 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 – a substantial increase in earnings, attainment of a living wage and a job closely matched with the 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.

The Strong Workforce Program is a bold step California took in 2016 to create one million more middle-skilled workers, thereby producing a job-ready workforce for employers and lifting low-wage workers into living-wage jobs. The program’s policy specifies that one-sixth of the dollars be allocated based on contribution to student success outcomes rather than the traditional approach of student enrollment, and Strong Workforce Stars is one way to measure that goal.

Strong Workforce Stars demonstrate quantitative gains in factors important for advancing social mobility, as measured by Strong Workforce Program LaunchBoard.

The number of programs recognized each year depends upon the number of programs that meet the established criteria. Coming soon are “Rising Stars”, those career education programs with promising potential to meet the Strong Workforce Stars criteria.

View Criteria
Search for Stars
College Publicity Toolkit

Strong Workforce Stars Criteria Infographic


The top five programs in
12 industry sectors, based on

CTE Star #1 Increase in earnings
CTE Star #2 Attainment of regional
living wage
CTE Star #3 Employment in field of study