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Orange County Initiative

In 2021, Coastline College was awarded Strong Workforce grant funding to lead the Orange County region and its community college partners in exploring how Competency-Based Education can contribute to the Strong Workforce Program’s overarching goal: “More and Better Career Technical Education to Increase Social Mobility and Fuel Regional Economies with Skilled Workers”.   The conversation on implementing the CBE format within the community college system is fueled by the potential benefits to the students, the workforce, and also the academic institutions:

Benefits to students

  • CBE programs are flexible in that they have no specific set hours, semesters, or rigid structures. Instead, these programs are completed based on the individual learner’s schedule. This flexibility accommodates working professionals, dislocated workers, economically disadvantaged learners and adult/part-time learners.

  • CBE programs provide students with the resources and support needed throughout the learning process, including academic advising, mentoring, etc., which makes for better student engagement and student success

  • CBE programs are more affordable and accessible to students, decreasing equity gaps among student populations. 

Benefits to the workforce

  • CBE programs are designed with industry involvement and competencies are identified via employer input.  Hence, learning is geared to real-world expectations and employer needs.

  • The instructional model functions as a flexible alternative to in-class instruction bound by semesters and provides opportunities for existing employees, managers, and new graduates to reskill and/or upskill.

  • Since programs are centered on developing competencies, they support an evolving workforce where employees are not only required to have technical skills but also soft skills, such as critical thinking and good communication skills.

Benefits to the institutions

  • CBE enables student success and student retention and allows for meaningful faculty-student engagement.

  • Students have better outcomes upon completion as they have proven mastery of content thus enabling better pathways to employment

  • CBE programs define a clear and well-defined pathway to degree/certificate attainment and completion, increasing the number of awards from the college

Coastline College is already one of eight California colleges participating in the Chancellor’s Office’s Direct Assessment CBE Collaborative, which works to build capacity for the development and implementation of direct assessment CBE programs and is currently developing a competency-based A.S. in Business Management, as well as exploring competency-based degrees and certificates in various disciplines. 


On September 27, 2022, Coastline was informed that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) approved our substantive change application for Competency-Based Education (CBE). Coastline College has the distinction of being the first public two-year college in the state to get a substantive change approved for a CBE program.

Orange County College Partners

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