New Incentives for School and Business Partnerships Featured at Linked Learning Fall Showcase

San Diego, CA – State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, school district leaders, and employer leaders from the San Diego region today kicked off the 2013 Linked Learning Fall Showcase. This statewide series of events are highlighting how Linked Learning is transforming education across California, celebrating commitments to expand Linked Learning options for students across key regions in the state, and stimulating new partnerships between employers and schools that are critical for student success and future workforce development.

“The Linked Learning approach and programs like it can be important motivators for keeping students invested in their education and brightening their prospects after graduation,” said State Superintendent of Public Schools Tom Torlakson. “With this type of seamless pathway from school to college and career, students get the knowledge and skills they need to succeed—which is good for them, for our employers, and for our economy. In San Diego and other regions in California, school districts in the Linked Learning Pilot Program and employer leaders are committed to work together to make these options available for students region-wide. We encourage more employers to get involved to help prepare many more students for successful futures.”

Linked Learning ignites students’ passions by creating meaningful experiences in career pathways including engineering, performing arts, health care, law, and more. These pathways are aligned with California’s workforce demands, so that students graduate from Linked Learning pathways with the skills and work experience necessary for both college and career success. Linked Learning pathways coordinate with employers to provide work-based learning opportunities that are aligned to students’ course of study.

Superintendent Torlakson recently announced that the California Department of Education is providing $2 million for the Linked Learning Pilot sites, which is matched by a $2.5 million grant from the James Irvine Foundation, and by $3.3 million from the California Community Colleges.

Next year, the California Department of Education will distribute $250 million from a new Career Pathways Trust to build and strengthen partnerships between employers and schools and to expand work-based learning opportunities that are aligned to students’ industry-themed course of study.

“The Career Pathways Trust will provide substantial new incentives to create and strengthen partnerships between education and businesses to give students work-based learning opportunities,” Superintendent Torlakson continued. “By working with professionals, students learn the real-world skills necessary for success in college and careers. We need more employers to come to the table and offer these opportunities to high school students. There is no better investment that we can make for California’s future in jobs and job creation than to have an educated and skilled workforce.”

Work-based learning aligned with students’ course of study is an essential element of Linked Learning. It helps students see how what they are learning in school applies in the real world, and it gives students the professional skills needed to succeed in both college and in the workforce.

“We believe that Linked Learning can and should be available to any high school student in California,” said Anne Stanton, Youth Program Director for the James Irvine Foundation, a leading supporter of the Linked Learning movement. “That will require strong regional partnerships between school districts, employers, and the broader community. It’s exciting to see those kinds of partnerships coming together, and we will continue to support the regional hubs that are needed to make Linked Learning available to all of California’s youth.”

Research shows that Linked Learning students of all demographic profiles have higher rates of staying in school, higher test scores, and higher graduation rates than their peers at traditional high schools.

In the San Diego region, Carlsbad Unified; Escondido Unified, Grossmont Unified, Oceanside Unified, and San Diego Unified school districts, partnering with the Long Beach Unified School District as their mentor, were selected by Superintendent Torlakson to participate in the State Linked Learning Pilot Program earlier this year.

Other regions that have significant number of districts participating in the Linked Learning pilot program include the Inland Empire, the South Central Valley, the greater Sacramento region, the East Bay Area, Los Angeles, and the Central Coast.

“The Linked Learning Fall Showcase is a testament to all Linked Learning partners making coordination at the regional level a reality,” said Linked Learning Alliance Executive Director Christopher Cabaldon. “This commitment positions Linked Learning regional hubs to benefit from the California Career Pathways Trust. By fostering partnerships between employers and schools these regions will be able to deliver the work-based learning opportunities that students need.”

The inaugural event of the Linked Learning Fall Showcase featured a school tour at Kearny High Educational Complex School, the first pathway that received Linked Learning certification in California.

The kickoff at Kearny High Educational Complex is the first in a series of Linked Learning Fall Showcase events being held statewide between October 24 and November 5. Events are planned around the state to demonstrate how Linked Learning is succeeding and to stimulate engagement with the business community, which is needed to make Linked Learning available to all students in the region.

See schedule below for additional events across the state.

Event Schedule

Each regional event will include a press conference featuring high-level Linked Learning champions and a site visit to a Linked Learning school. Below is a detailed agenda of event opportunities for press.