Local educators receive $15 million

On Friday, educators of Tulare and Kings counties were pleased to learn they were selected in a competitive application process to receive $15 million in funds from the California Career Pathways Trust.

The awarded funds are to expand the counties’ college and career readiness programs, known as Linked Learning.

Linked Learning is an approach that connects schools with regional employers, allowing students to get hands-on experience and training that prepares them for what comes after high school, whether it is college or a career in the professional world.

In the two counties, every high school and three community colleges – including College of the Sequoias – within 11 school districts will be extended to include bigger programs that link students to 45 pathways that include hands-on programs in agriculture, health education and more, according to John Snavely, the superintendent of Porterville Unified School District, who represented the Tulare and Kings counties’ Pathway Projects in a Friday press conference.

Through the programs, students can be connected with any of 450 business partners in the Tulare and Kings area.

Jim Vidak, county superintendent of schools at the Tulare County Office of Education, said the educators in the county often feel they aren’t recognized for their hard work and that the awarded funds are well deserved.

“We’re very excited to get some recognition for all the hard work we do in the valley,” he said. “I think so many times we feel we’re overlooked and we know we’re doing an awesome and tremendous job here.”

On Friday, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the California recipients of a total of $250 million in competitive grants. Local education officials are hoping Governor Jerry Brown will provide additional funding in the near future for the continued transformation of Linked Learning.

Long Beach Unified, Antioch Unified and Los Angeles Unified School District were among the groups awarded funding from the trust.