Environmental Scan: Analytical Summary - Research and Planning Office

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  • Population will increase statewide by 44.4% from 2000 to 2030, but Alameda County’s predicted growth rate is about half (23.3%) of California’s forecasted growth. In the past three years, population within the Ohlone Community College District has actually declined 0.6%. (California Department of Finance)

  • The Ohlone Community College District is characterized by a culture of attainment. In Fremont, where 55.1% of students live, 27.7% of the residents aged 25+ possess baccalaureate degrees, and an additional 21.2% also have graduate or professional degrees. Over half (52.0%) of the employed civilian population work as management or professionals. In such an environment, children are expected to attend college, and high standards are expected of schools and colleges. (United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

  • The proportion of adults in the district with a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2010 was 43.7% compared to the 38.4% in 2000 in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose metropolitan area. In Fremont, the proportion of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher was 48.9%. These numbers are significantly higher than both the state (29.8%) and national (27.5%) proportions. (United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

  • The Bay Area’s highly educated population is largely imported. Of those people living in the Bay Area with a bachelor’s degree (and age 25+), only about one-third were born in California. Among those who moved to the Bay Area from other places in the US or from abroad, 41% had at least a college degree. However, the Bay Area will face escalating battles to attract and retain its necessary highly-educated workforce because of the growing number of less well-educated residents, a weak K-12 education system that is failing to supply college-ready students, and the increasing number of highly-educated foreign graduates of Bay Area universities that are starting to return home. (Bay Area Council Economic Institute)

  • Forty-two percent of district residents are foreign born and in over half of the district households, English is not the first language. Educationally, Ohlone must excel in English and ESL as well as in cross-cultural communication and understanding. (United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

  • In Fremont, 79% of foreign born residents were born in Asia (compared to 66% in the Bay Area) and 13% were born in Latin America. (United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

  • English was the predominant language in only 45% of district households in 2010. Other languages spoken at home were Spanish (13.1%), Asian (27.3%) and other Indo-European (14.4%). Of these households, 45.8% of Spanish speakers, 43.6% of Asian speakers, and 29.2% of other Indo-European speakers reported they spoke English “less than very well.” (United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

  • The current ethnic distribution within the district is 3.6% African-American, 35.8% Asian, 18.5% Hispanic, 9.3% Filipino, 0.2% Native American, 0.9% Pacific Islander, 28.7% White, and 3.1% Other/multi-ethnic. Comparatively, students at Ohlone College are distributed 4.6% African American, 35.1% Asian, 13.7% Hispanic, 7.1% Filipino, 0.3% Native American, 1.2% Pacific Islander, 26.4% White, and 11.6% Other/multi-ethnic. (United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey; California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)

  • Hispanic students are the third largest ethnic group on campus at 13.7% of the student population, but are under-represented by 4.8%, below the district resident average of 18.5%. This gap has closed significantly from 2007 when Hispanic students were under-represented by 8.0%. (United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey; California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)

  • Significant changes are occurring among age groups in Alameda County. From 1990 to 2010, the proportion of residents age 25 to 44 as a share of the county’s population decreased from 36.8% to 32.0% while the proportion of 45 to 64 year-olds increased from 17.7% to 25.3%. The 20 to 24 year-old age range, a prime college-going group, decreased from 8.4% to 6.3%. (United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

  • Between 2000-2030, the growth rate for 15-19 year olds will be 12.75% and for 20-24 year olds it will be 6.56%; however, there will be a decline for all age groups between 25-49 and 100+% growth for age groups between 60-85+. (California Department of Finance)

  • County residents in the gap between baby boomers and “echo boomers” (those born between 1982 and 1995) will impact county demographics. Despite strong growth among Hispanics in the age ranges (the number of Hispanics in the 30 to 49 year-old range will almost double by 2030), there will be significant decline by 2030 among 30-34 year-olds (from 8.6% of the population in 2000 to 6.1% by 2030), 35 to 39 year-olds (8.9% to 6.6%). 40 to 44 year-olds (8.4% to 6.3%), and 45 to 49 year-olds (7.4% to 5.9%). The declines are steepest among White residents, where 30 to 49 year-olds represented 35.2% of the White population in 2000 but will only account for 22.3% in 2030. (California Department of Finance)

  • Public high school graduates in Alameda County are projected to decline by 16.28% between 2007-2016. (California Department of Finance)

  • African Americans showed the greatest improvement over the previous year with a three percent increase in overall graduation rates and an eight percent increase in those graduates meeting UC/CSU requirements. Asian (95%), White (93%) and Filipino (92%) groups reported the highest graduation rates and American Indians reported the lowest at 73 percent. (California Department of Education)

  • More than a sixth of the young adults (18 to 24 year-olds) in California have less than a high school education. These estimated 980,000 individuals represent a larger share of the population than the number of students expected to enter California community colleges as a result of Tidal Wave II. In the district there are conflicting patterns of high school graduation. For all residents age 25 or over, only 9.0% of Fremont residents lack a high school diploma or equivalent; in Newark, however, 16.2% (down from 20.5% in 2007) have not graduated from high school, and 16.0% of Union City residents age 25 or over have not completed 12th grade. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education)

  • In 2007, Alameda County had the 8th largest K-12 enrollment of California’s 58 counties, but ranked 55th in numeric growth (down1,848 students since 2006) and 34th in growth rate (down 0.9%); by 2016 the county will be the 10th largest, having lost 18,218 students for a growth rate of -8.6%, the fifth worst growth rate in the state for K-12 enrollment. (California Department of Finance)

  • The college’s projected ten year growth rate of 14.1%, as estimated by the Chancellor’s Office, is 65th among 72 California community college districts, despite a 39.7% projected growth for 18-19 year olds in the county over the same period. This suggests the district is “aging” and families with children are increasingly likely to reside elsewhere in the county. . (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education)

  • High school enrollments in the district have decreased slightly (1.4%) from 2007, and high school graduation rates have declined by 3.7%, suggesting a smaller pool of college-prepared students and an increased demand for basic skills. English learners and socio-economically disadvantaged students pass the high school exit exam at rates well below other students. (California Department of Education)

  • Of those high school students that do graduate, students from all seven district high schools complete CSU/UC entry requirements at a rate higher than the state average. Three of ten of all district high school graduates enroll at the college. For these students, the college must maintain a strong transfer focus and continue to increase transfer opportunities, programs, and articulation. (California Department of Education)

  • Mission San Jose High School continues to rank academically as one of the top high schools in the state, but only 13% of their graduates enroll at Ohlone after graduation. Conversely, 553 Mission San Jose students are concurrently enrolled at Ohlone, preparing themselves for universities after high school graduation.

  • Five district high schools have an Academic Performance Index score below the state’s target of 800, but five of the seven increased their API between 2008-09 and 2009-10. Ohlone College students are diverse academically as well as ethnically and culturally. (California Department of Education)

  • Eight percent (7.6% in Fremont, 7.5% in Newark, and 9.5% in Union City) of the district population aged 16 to 64 reports a disability. Ohlone will need to provide appropriate assistance to students with disabilities who enroll. (United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

Economy and Housing

  • In the United States, it takes two incomes to provide the standard of living that one income provided 30 years ago. Work time, family time, and traffic congestion all conspire to impact attendance at community colleges by working-age adults. (Warren, E. and Warren, A. The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke, 2003)

  • Silicon Valley, of which the Ohlone Community College District is a part,. Suffered a major blow in the recent economic downturn. Although private employment is now picking up, public employment is declining. (JointVenture Silicon Valley Index 2011)

  • Unemployment fell from 2003 to 2006, but rose from 4.5% in March 2006, to 5.5% in March 2008, and by March 2011 was at 10.2% in Alameda County.  In times of unemployment, college enrollments often increase as residents seek retraining. (California Employment Development Department)

  • Silicon Valley is a knowledge economy, and success depends on the talent of the population. High-tech and science and engineering (S&E) talent represent 16% of all occupations in Silicon Valley. This compares to a nationwide rate of 6%. (National Center for Educational Statistics)

  • As employment in the district changes to meet the changing populations, college programs may also need to change. For instance, despite the growing need for such services, child day care jobs are in decline; but as the district ages, the need for home health care and for community care facilities for the elderly increase. (California Employment Development Department)

  • Much of the employment growth is in computer, electronic, and technical services, consistent with the Silicon Valley environment. However, computer and semiconductor manufacturing industries are in decline, reflecting increased outsourcing in those industries. (California Employment Development Department)

  • In comparison with the state, the district is home to a significantly higher proportion of managers and professionals (46.7% to 35.9%) and fewer blue collar workers (16.9% to 21.5%). Within the district, Newark exceeds the statewide proportion of blue collar workers at 22.3%, Union City exceeds it at 22.6%, but Fremont has significantly less proportion of blue collar workers at 13.8%. Fremont also has more than half (52.0%) of its workforce employed as managers and professionals. (United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

  • Nearly 80 percent of all new jobs created to 2012 in the United States require an Associate’s degree or less. The predominate mode of training employees is “on the job training,” so the college needs to partner closely with private employers to help provide training programs. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Many of those industries projected to add the greatest number of jobs by 2014 do not align with current college programs, but many, too, do not require college preparation. Of those occupations that are consistent with college programs, those in health sciences, business, and technology are the most common.

  • 64.5% of area jobs are in the mid-wage level ($30,000-$80,000). These are jobs that are often accessible with an associate’s degree, even those at the higher end of the scale. Two of the growth areas also correspond to emerging programs in multimedia and environmental science. (California Employment Development Department)

  • There are marked differences in the California workforce. Among working age adults, about 52% of Hispanics do not have a high school diploma, compared to 8% of Whites. Alternately, only 12% of working age Hispanics have a college degree, compared with 46% of working age Whites. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education)

  • By 2020, the percentage of the workforce in the state with a college degree is projected to decline, while the share of the workforce with less than a high school diploma is projected to increase. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education)

  • By 2025, California will face an estimated shortfall of one million workers with skills learned in college. In another time, such a prediction might have led to the building of new college campuses or an increase in capacity to those already existing. Now, demand is over capacity but the state’s fiscal resources have evaporated.  (National University System Institute for Policy Research)

  • If the average educational level of the state workforce declines, California’s personal income per capita is projected to drop 11% by 2020, the largest drop in the nation. One consequence of such a decline in personal income would be a decrease in the state’s tax base. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education)

  • Unemployment rates are much lower for college graduates and wages are substantially higher. College graduates in California earn almost twice as much per hour as high school graduates.  (National University System Institute for Policy Research)

  • The district continues to be one of the least affordable regions in the country for home ownership and renters. 48.1% of the district homeowners in 2010 paid more than 30% of their household income for housing, with a range of 45% in Fremont to 55% in Newark. Additionally, 10.5% of renters in the district paid more than 30% of their household income for housing. (East Bay Community Foundation; United States Census Bureau, American Community Survey)

  • Across all educational levels, real median household income in 2009 sunk to below 2005 levels. High school graduates witnessed the greatest income drop of 13 percent over the four-year period. Median income fell only three percent for people with graduate and professional degrees. The decline for people with a baccalaureate degree was 7% and was 9% for those with some college or an associate degree. (American Community Survey)

  • The number of home sales in Silicon Valley dropped 46% between 2004 and 2009. After peaking in 2008, Silicon Valley foreclosures fell 17% in 2009 and continued to decline in 2010. (RAND California Statistics)

  • Thirty-three percent of working county residents commute to work outside the county. Most commute to San Francisco County (72,000), Santa Clara County (70,000), Contra Costa County (36,000), and San Mateo County (34,000). A larger number of workers commute into Alameda County, primarily from Contra Costa County (96,000), Santa Clara County (37,000), San Francisco County (21,000), San Joaquin County (20,000), San Mateo County (15,000), and Solano County (13,000). (United States Census Bureau)

  • Five-year migration patterns from within the continental US reveal that more people leave Alameda County than arrive and the county loses residents at a 6.8% rate over five years. For new residents coming to the county from out of state, the most come from Texas (8.5%), New York (7.8%), Washington (6.0%), Illinois (5.9%), and Massachusetts (5.0%); residents moving out of state are most likely to choose Washington (9.2%), Texas (7.2%), Nevada (6.6%), Oregon (6.0%), or Arizona (6.0%). Residents moving to Alameda County from within California come from Santa Clara (18.6%), San Francisco (15.2%), Contra Costa (12.9%), San Mateo (11.8%), or Los Angeles (10.6%) counties. When leaving Alameda to another California county, residents are most likely to go to Contra Costa (24.6%), Santa Clara (10.0%) or San Joaquin (8.9%). (California Department of Finance)

Higher Education and Public Policy

  • A recent report estimates that 1.5 million students who probably would have been awarded Pell Grants in 2003-04 did not apply for them, up from the estimated 850,000 who missed out on aid in 1999-2000. The number of low income students who did not file for federal financial aid rose to 1.8 million, or 28% of low-income students. Ohlone should not overlook the opportunities to enroll students, especially under-represented minorities, who could afford college with the help of financial aid. (American Council on Education)

  • Just over one-half (52%) of all undergraduates are independent students and represent almost two-thirds (64%) of community college students. The needs of these students—who are considered by the federal government to be financially independent of their parents—are sometimes overlooked and not considered with the needs of traditional undergraduates. (National Center for Education Statistics)

  • The abolishment of the federal 50-percent rule—which previously prevented a college enrolling more than 50% of its students in distance education or offering more than 50% of its courses via distance education from participating in federal student aid programs—will provoke an increase in both online programs at traditional colleges and the creation of for-profit businesses specializing in distance education. (Chronicle of Higher Education)

  • Accrediting commissions are becoming more aggressive in upholding clear and measurable student learning outcomes, and the emergence of diverse student populations in age, goals, background, and economic status requires colleges to develop a variety of teaching modalities and hiring practices.

  • Community colleges are meeting unprecedented demand for their services in a time when traditional public financial support is not increasing at the same rate, forcing new sources of revenue to maintain and expand programs and services.

  • In a speech on July 14, 2009, President Obama introduced the American Graduation Initiative. He introduced several new initiatives for strengthening the ability of higher education, and community colleges in particular, to deal with the education and training needs of America and Americans.

  • Although studies show that during periods of economic downturn postsecondary enrollment demand increases, due to fiscal constraints, California public postsecondary enrollment increased by only 2215 students between 2008-09 and 2009-10 with enrollment in both the CSUs and CCCs actually declining. The problem is lack of seats, not lack of demand.  (National University System Institute for Policy Research)

  • In Fall 2008 there were 192,347 unfunded students enrolled in California’s three higher education systems—University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges. Only five campuses within the three systems—one of ten UC campuses and four of 112 community college campuses—had surplus physical capacity.  (National University System Institute for Policy Research)

Community Colleges

  • The decision by the California State University system in 2009 to cap enrollment will put added pressure on the state’s community college system to increase capacity at a time when community colleges are also facing resource shortfalls.

  • University of California undergraduate enrollment will grow 17.8% between 2005-2015; California State University undergraduate enrollment will grow by 16.4%; by comparison, California Community College enrollment will grow by 24.5%.

  • Among the 21 community colleges that comprise the Bay 10 districts, Ohlone is mid-sized with an annual headcount enrollment around 17,000. Four of the Bay 10 colleges enroll 30,000+. Full time equivalent student (FTES) enrollment for the college ranks seventh at 4,200+ and is one of only eight Bay 10 colleges that increased FTES from Fall 2009 to Fall 2010. (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)

  • With 30.0% of all students enrolled for 12 or more units, Ohlone ranks in the middle of Bay 10 district colleges for rate of full time students. Only two area colleges are above 35% full time enrollment, Ohlone’s stated goal. (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)

  • The 2011 Accountability Reporting for Community Colleges report saw Ohlone rate above its peers and above the statewide average on all of the seven success indicators. It is one of only three colleges in the 112 California Community College system to accomplish this measure of student success. (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)

  • Ohlone is in the top third in the Bay 10 for percentage of students transferring to California State Universities (7th of 21) but in the top fourth (5th of 21) in sending students to Universities of California. The college’s percent of students earning associate’s degrees compared to annual FTES (3.1%) ranks in the bottom third of Bay 10 colleges within the overall range of 2.0%-7.3%. (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)

  • Ohlone students who transfer to CSUs do so with entering grade point averages at or above the state average for all community colleges. CSU students who transferred in from Ohlone as upper division students have a first year GPA above the state average. Ohlone’s upper division transfers persist to a second year at CSUs slightly below the state average, but above for lower division transfers. Completing a comprehensive 60 unit transfer curriculum portends better-than-state-average success rates for students.


  • The percentage of classified staff aged 50+ (40%) has declined by 5% since 2007, but more than two-thirds (69%) of management are older than 50 years of age. Among full-time faculty, 57% are 50+, but Ohlone has 2% more full-time faculty under age 34 than the state average. (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)

  • In most categories of employment, the number of staff has increased more than proportionately to student enrollment so that staff in 2007 are serving fewer students per staff member than in Fall 2002. A notable exception is the categories of administration/management where the proportionate student-to-administration/management ratio has risen. Most dramatically, the ratio of students to administrators has risen 57.4% (from 411 students/administrator to 647 students/administrator) since Fall 2002. (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)


  • 70.8% of students come from within the Ohlone Community College District; 12.6% come from other areas within Alameda County; 8.4% are from Santa Clara County.

  • Male and female students are virtually equal in headcount, reversing a trend that consistently saw female students outnumber males. About three-fifths (62%) of students are under the age of 25, but the average student age is 28.4. 15% of students are still K-12 students concurrently enrolled. Only a third of Ohlone students currently enroll for less than 6 units, down from 51% just three years ago.

  • Annual FTES has increased 10.1% since 2007-08 despite a similarly-sized headcount. Generally, students are taking more units, so the percent of full-time students has increased 3% since 2007-08.

  • 8.8% of FTES is generated through distance learning, up from 8.1% in 2007-08. Since Fall 2007, online enrollment has increased 18%.

  • 77.6% of all course enrollments in Fall 2009 were in CSU/UC transferable courses. Vocational course enrollments in Spring 2010 were the highest they have been in four years. Basic skills enrollments have increased 66.7% over Fall 2007, reflecting an increased demand and the focus of the goals of Title III and the Basic Skills Initiative.

  • Enrollment by first-time freshmen aged 19 and younger is trending upward in California community colleges. At Ohlone, there are 37% of students aged 19 or less.

  • The highest percentage of entering students is freshman high school graduates at 43%; 15% are concurrently enrolled K-12 students. At the other end of the spectrum, 13% of students already possess a bachelor’s degree or higher.

  • Only 17% of Fall 2010 students were first-time college students; 68% of students had been enrolled at Ohlone prior to Fall 2010. The remaining 15% of students are those concurrently enrolled in both Ohlone College and a district high school.

Student Success

  • In the 2011 Accountability Reporting for Community Colleges (ARCC) report on student success, Ohlone is one of only three colleges within the 112 California Community Colleges system to rank above both the statewide average and the peer group average on all seven performance indicators.

  • In the past five years, the number of degrees awarded has declined by 27.6%, and the number of certificates awarded has declined by 81.1%. Among the 21 colleges in the Bay 10, Ohlone is 18th in the percentage of degrees awarded.

  • Transfers to campuses of the University of California are up 24.5% over the previous two years, but transfers to the California State Universities have plummeted by 31%. (California Postsecondary Education Commission)

  • Ohlone’s course success rate is above the state average and has increased for each of the past three years. Retention rates, however, have been below the statewide average for the past five years. (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)

  • The college’s persistence (year-to-year retention) rate is above both the California Community College average and above those “peer” colleges as identified by the Chancellor’s Office. (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)

  • The percentage of students successfully completing vocational courses is above both the CCC and peer group averages, as is the percentage of students successfully completing basic skills courses. (California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office)

Courses and Sections

  • Weekly student contact hours (WSCH) increased by 8.3% in 2009-10 over the previous five year average, while full-time equivalent faculty (FTEF) decreased by 3.1%. This resulted in an11.8% increased efficiency in WSCH/FTEF.

  • Twenty-one academic departments had an increase in WSCH greater than 25% over the previous five year average; ten departments saw a decrease in WSCH over the same period.

  • Half of all the weekly student contact hours is produced by the top ten departments

  • The average load efficiency (WSCH/FTEF) for 2009-10 was 654; 25 departments were above that average. Conversely, 20 departments were below the efficiency benchmark of 525.

  • English and Mathematics are, by far, the two highest enrolled departments, have the highest numbers of faculty, and account for one-fourth of the college’s total WSCH.

  • Twelve departments saw declines in weekly student contact hours in 2009-10 from the previous five year average.

  • Basic skills enrollments have increased 23.8% in English but have declined 15.6% in mathematics compared to the previous five year average.