Student Balancing Act: Worker and Learner Experiences in Los Angeles’ Community Colleges
Community college students in Los Angeles who balance work and school face an array of difficult barriers: housing insecurities, mental health hurdles, inadequate financial aid, and parenting stress, among others. These inequities were only exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Student Balancing Act: Worker and Learner Experiences in Los Angeles’ Community Colleges, the latest brief released by the UCLA Labor Center, analyzes the experiences of Los Angeles County community college students who attend school and who work. For this analysis, the authors subsetted the data of 391 survey responses and nine interviews collected from community college workers and learners and featured in the UCLA Labor Center and Dolores Huerta Labor Institute (DHLI) report Unseen Costs: The Experiences of Workers and Learners in Los Angeles County.
Among other findings, the brief notes:
- Many students face an array of barriers such as navigating school and work-life balance, encountering housing insecurities, and handling other pitfalls in pursuing higher education. Many of these stressors are rooted in the lack of paid internship opportunities, a disconnect between work and school experiences, and the need for more financial aid.
- These inequities were further exacerbated for community college students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Students voiced particular difficulties with their online classes, mental health, and the constant juggling of schedules, especially for students who were also parents.
- Supporting Los Angeles community college students through additional online and evening educational services, financial support, work-study, internship access, and promotion of career and technical education (CTE) training.
- Expanding the recommended resources and other forms of support to include Los Angeles County community college students so that they can attain their future goals.