California has proved to be a land of opportunity where hard work delivers prosperity and nurtures innovation. Its human capital has helped the state develop into the world's ninth-largest economy, which attracts nearly half of the venture capital in the nation.
But this opportunity and success have not reached everyone, and the California dream is in danger of slipping away.
Today, California ranks first in the country in the number of working low-income families. "Working Hard, Left Behind," a new study conducted by the Campaign for College Opportunity, found that millions in the state are working hard but are increasingly left behind. More than a third of California's working families are considered low income, earning less than $45,397 a year for a family of four.
There is a solution. The study also found that higher education is a proven pathway from poverty to prosperity for working Californians. And it can work, even in these difficult economic times, if there is a will for reform and investment in the state's higher education system.