LOS ANGELES, CA – Today, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) School Board unanimously approved a resolution to expand students’ access to work-based learning opportunities by requiring vendors that get contracts from LAUSD to offer high-quality work-based learning opportunities for students through the Linked Learning approach. Currently, LAUSD purchases goods and services from over 9,000 vendors that did not, previous to this resolution, offer work-based learning opportunities to students.
“Young people are inspired and motivated when they see the relevance of what they are learning” said Christopher Cabaldon, Executive Director of the Linked Learning Alliance. “Linked Learning students know how what they learn in school applies in real professions because they partner with real professionals. We applaud the LAUSD School Board and their community partners for their efforts to expand work-based learning opportunities for students. Work-based learning is a core component of the Linked Learning approach, and a primary vehicle by which all students can make progress towards college and career readiness. Employers are critical partners to making the Linked Learning approach effective. LAUSD’s decision to proactively invite businesses to the table will help the district meet many more students’ needs for quality work-based learning experiences as Linked Learning becomes a district-wide strategy.”
High quality work-based learning opportunities strategically blend components of rigorous academics with career-based learning by empowering teams of teachers to collaborate with business, post-secondary and community partners to offer professional learning experiences to students. Students then develop the skills and knowledge they need to be better prepared for high-skill, high-wage jobs.
LAUSD was selected to participate in the state Linked Learning Pilot Program, which includes 63 districts and county offices of education across California. The Linked Learning Pilot Program is a state initiative to develop and support district-wide and region-wide systems and policy for the delivery of Linked Learning.
“The Linked Learning approach provides a challenging and inspiring educational experience to LAUSD students who are disengaged and struggling with conventional high school,” said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy. “As we work to take Linked Learning to scale district-wide, we need to ensure that all students have the opportunity to gain experience in real-world professional environments. I am very excited to see the significant expansion of high quality work-based learning opportunities for LAUSD students. I am even more excited to see our students benefit from these opportunities to prepare for college, in their careers, and in life. I commend our community partners that advocated for this proposal to enhance our students’ exposure to the vast opportunities and career paths available to them that will help prepare them for life after high school.”
The LAUSD Linked Learning District initiative is organized around major industry sectors such as ﬁnance and business, health science and medical technology, or engineering. Each pathway provides rigorous academics such as college preparatory English language, science, arts and math, integrated with real-world professional skills and work-based learning experiences including internships.
The LAUSD Linked Learning initiative has expanded from eight to 14 high schools this school year, with a total of 22 career-themed pathways. “This is a direct pathway for many of our students from classroom to college and career,” said Esther Soliman, Linked Learning Administrator for LAUSD. “Our goal is to prepare our students with real world professional skills to help them get a head start on a successful career.”
The resolution was co-sponsored by LAUSD Board President Monica Garcia, Board Member Steve Zimmer, and was proposed by the Alliance for a Better Community, a community-based organization.
“The Alliance for a Better Community has long recognized the opportunity to improve equity in education for California’s students though the Linked Learning approach,” said Angelica Solis, Executive Director of the group. “Community groups across the state play an important role in helping to identify and create reform efforts like this that address students’ diverse learning styles and provide strong educational opportunities to ensure more students graduate prepared for college, career and life.”
In the districts that have Linked Learning, graduation rates have improved. Teachers, administrators, school boards, parents and businesses are working together. Doors to college and career are opening.
“Although no two school districts are the same, the passage of this Linked Learning resolution marks a significant milestone for the Linked Learning field,” said Angelo Williams, Assistant Executive Director, Policy and Programs at California School Boards Association (CSBA). “To make Linked Learning work, industry partnerships and student access to high-quality work-based learning experiences is a must. When CSBA’s Linked Learning Taskforce meets Sunday May 19 this resolution, the replication of this strategy and taking Linked Learning to scale in California’s communities will be at the top of our agenda.”
Linked Learning is an approach to high school that integrates rigorous academics with career-based learning in school and in real-world professional workplaces. Students can experience Linked Learning through career-themed pathways at small high schools, schools-within-a school, or as an option at large comprehensive high schools.
There are many ways for employers to engage with Linked Learning schools, from single-day commitments to deeper, ongoing partnerships. With a commitment to equity, support, academic rigor and real-world experience, the Linked Learning approach creates opportunity for all students to achieve. Learn more about Linked Learning by visiting www.linkedlearning.org.