COM Offers Gig Economy Pathway Starting Spring 2018

December 1st, 2017 - 12:55pm

News Contact:
Nicole Cruz
Office of the Superintendent/President
(415) 485-9508

COM Offers Gig Economy Pathway Starting Spring 2018

$15,000 grant helps kick off the effort

NOVATO / KENTFIELD, CA—December 1, 2017–The workforce has seen rise to freelancers, independent contractors and entrepreneurs who work in short-term discrete jobs or ‘gigs,’ often performed remotely by individual proprietors, partnerships, or corporations without employees. This global phenomenon has been dubbed the “gig economy.” 

To prepare students for opportunities and challenges that come with this shift, College of Marin (COM) is launching a new education offering in spring 2018 called the Gig Economy Career Pathway. The College received a $15,000 grant in October to kick off this effort.

A study by Edelman Berland found that 34 percent of the American workforce–or 53 million people–are working as freelancers who have engaged in supplemental, temporary, or project-based work, thus adding $715 billion annually to the economy. A separate study by Intuit estimates that 40 percent of the workforce will be made up of freelance workers by 2020. 

COM Instructor and Business Department Co-chair Nancy Willet views the pathway as a means of equipping students and working professionals with solid tools, information, and mentorship necessary to capitalize on the rise in alternative work options.

“The goal of this educational offering is to teach students to be their own boss,” says Willett. “This Gig Economy Career Pathway is a tremendous addition to the College, both for students who will pursue freelance positions, as well as current professionals who have found themselves working as independent contractors, yet in need of self-employment skills.”

The pathway is made up of three classes and a mentorship designed to prepare students for freelance and gig-driven jobs. Successful completion of three courses–Entrepreneurship, E-Commerce and Online Business, and Self Employment Strategies–lead to a COM skills certificate.  

Though the certificate is stand-alone, it can augment other career certificates. 

“While gig economy opportunities abound, our goal is to also help our workforce develop or upgrade their skills to fill in-demand, higher pay positions in the region,” said Dean of Career Education and Workforce Development Elizabeth Pratt.

The addition of the Gig Economy Career Pathway is one of many expanding and new career education programs at COM. The College has been granted nearly $2 million over the past two years as part of California’s Strong Workforce Program, a recurring investment made by Governor Jerry Brown and the California legislature. The program’s aim is to create one million more middle-skilled workers, thereby producing a job-ready workforce for employers and enabling social mobility for more Californians.

For more information about career education at COM, visit To apply, visit

About College of Marin
Established in 1926, College of Marin remains committed to educational excellence, providing equitable opportunities, and fostering success in all members of its diverse community. With campuses in Kentfield and Novato, students of all ages have affordable access to an exciting variety of credit and noncredit courses as well as community education classes for lifelong learning. College of Marin is one of 114 public community colleges in California and approximately 13,000 credit, noncredit, and community education students enroll annually. 

College of Marin is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Boulevard, Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.