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Foundation for California Community Colleges and Linked Learning Alliance Partner with JPMorgan Chase in Statewide Initiative to Improve Workforce Readiness

October 30, 2013 | Linked Learning Alliance

Sacramento, October 29, 2013 – The Foundation for California Community Colleges and the Linked Learning Alliance today announced a new initiative with JPMorgan Chase to help improve the workforce readiness of high school students throughout the Golden State.

JPMorgan Chase awarded a $1.2 million grant to support a pilot program that will engage employers statewide in the Linked Learning movement and help high school and community college students secure paid internships in top fields such as engineering, health care, and law, so they can begin developing the skills necessary to be successful in today’s workplace.

“Work experience in a professional setting aligned to rigorous classroom instruction makes learning relevant because it shows students how the subjects they learn in school are applied in the real world,” said Christopher Cabaldon, executive director of the Linked Learning Alliance. “This makes a major impact in student preparation for college and career. The challenge before us is how to make work-based learning opportunities available to students at scale. This generous grant from JPMorgan Chase will help us answer that question,”

“JPMorgan Chase is committed to doing our part to spur economic growth across California and the US,” said Andy Carney, Chase California Regional Manager. “A key part of that effort is training workers—both current employees and future prospective employees—with the skills they need to fill high demand jobs.”

The Linked Learning Alliance, a statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations dedicated to preparing high school students for success in college, career, and beyond, will be collaborating on this project with the Foundation for California Community Colleges (Foundation), the official nonprofit supporting the 112 college California Community College system.

“The Foundation for California Community Colleges welcomes this partnership with JPMorgan Chase and the Linked Learning Alliance to expand opportunities for students and to increase student success while building a stronger workforce to meet current and future demands,” said Keetha Mills, president and Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation. “Work-based learning opportunities allow students to see the relevance of their classroom studies, inspire them to achieve success, and prepare them to fulfill their education and career goals. We need to make it easier for employers to connect with schools and support student learning, and we will use this grant to build systems that support these relationships.”

The pilot program funded by JP Morgan Chase will launch a series of industry-specific employer engagement convenings. It will also create a database connecting qualified high school students seeking internships with employers who are interested in hiring. The coalition will provide human resource support for hiring employers, such as payroll, health, and liability insurance, as well as training for students on basic workplace etiquette.

The pilot program is an expansion of the work that the Foundation has been providing since 1998 through its Career Pathway student internship program, which pairs students from California colleges and universities with public and private sector employers for paid internships. The additional funding from JPMorgan Chase will allow the Career Pathway program to enhance and expand its back-office support and adapt the program to serve the specific needs of a diverse range of students and employers.

“Improving education to meet the needs of California’s workforce is a high priority for the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the Foundation,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris. “The resources provided by JPMorgan Chase will help to continue our momentum in addressing the skills gap in the workforce–with a focus on priority economic sectors such as health care, manufacturing, and environmental technology. Facilitating partnerships with regional employers and expanding work-based learning opportunities for students will enrich education and benefit communities throughout the state.”

Although California’s economy increasingly demands a highly skilled workforce, the state is faced with a serious workforce “skills gap.” Postsecondary credentials are required for 59% of California jobs, and this need for advanced training and education is expected to grow. By 2018, this figure will grow to 63 percent of all jobs, a trend that is likely to continue to grow.[i] With approximately 10,000 baby-boomers retiring every day and many current college students lacking the required skills necessary to fill current and future job opportunities, the need for workforce development solutions is critical.

Meanwhile, an estimated 850,000 of California youth, ages 16 to 24, are neither in school nor working. In 2012, only 78.5% of high school seniors received a high school diploma[ii], and only half of all California Community College students seeking to earn a degree or certificate or to transfer to a four-year institution do so, even though completion would nearly double their earnings within three years. [iii]

The Linked Learning approach is a solution to this challenge. Linked Learning, which includes work-based learning as a core component, integrates rigorous academics with career-based learning in real-world professional workplaces. Research,[iv] has found that Linked Learning increases high school graduation rates, college attendance rates, and success in college. It gives students industry-specific professional training and experience while preparing students for college.

JPMorgan Chase’s grant to the Foundation for California Community Colleges and the Linked Learning Alliance (LLA) aligns with California state education policies that encourage college and career readiness for all students. Currently, 63 school districts and county offices of education are participating in a state Linked Learning Pilot Program. When fully implemented, the Linked Learning Pilot program will make Linked Learning available to approximately 600,000 high school students, 30% of the state’s total. The employer engagement work funded by the JPMorgan Chase grant will be instrumental in supporting growth and scale of Linked Learning in regions around the state that are participating in the state Linked Learning pilot program.

In addition, this year the State Legislature allocated $250 million to create a state Career Pathways Trust. It is intended to provide funding on a competitive basis to support career pathways and to increase engagement between high school industry-themed Linked Learning pathway programs and employers in that industry sector. Potential uses include funding for work-based learning specialists to connect students and employers. The JPMorgan Chase grant will help regions committed to expanding work-based learning opportunities for students to lay the groundwork for Career Pathways Trust fund applications.

With the support of JP Morgan Chase, the Foundation and the Linked Learning Alliance have launched the Linked Learning Fall Showcase to increase the participation of the business community in the Linked Learning movement and encourage employers to offer work-based learning opportunities for students. Through this series of regional gatherings, employer leaders and state elected officials are discussing the benefits of Linked Learning, the workforce development needs of the current workforce, and new incentives for employers to partner with schools through the Career Pathways Trust. The regional tour included stops in San Diego, and Sacramento, with upcoming meetings in the Inland Empire (Oct. 30), the Central Valley (Nov. 1), and the East Bay Area (Nov.5).

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About Foundation for California Community Colleges
The Foundation for California Community Colleges is the official nonprofit foundation to the California Community Colleges’ Board of Governors and Chancellor’s Office. The Foundation’s mission is to benefit, support, and enhance the missions of the California Community College system, the largest higher education system in the nation. Incorporated in 1998, the Foundation works with Community Colleges and partner organizations to manage donations, grants, programs, and services that drive excellence in education while saving millions of dollars for colleges each year. The Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit corporation and receives no direct state or public support. Information about the Foundation for California Community Colleges is available at

About Linked Learning Alliance
The Linked Learning Alliance is a nonprofit statewide coalition of education, industry, and community organizations dedicated to improving California’s high schools and preparing students for success in college, career, and life. Information about the Linked Learning Alliance is available at

About JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small business, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, asset management, and private equity. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional, and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at


[i]Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018. P v.

[ii]Parsi, Ace, David Plank, and David Stern. Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE). Costs of California Multiple Pathway Programs p.4.

[iii] Accountability Reporting for the California Community Colleges, a report to the Legislature pursuant to AB 1417, 2012 –

[iv] Career Academy Support Network report, Profile of the California Partnership Academies, 2011 –; UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access report, Exploring the Educational, Labor Market and Civic Trajectories of Young Adults Who Attended Linked Learning Pathways: Survey & Interview Findings, 2013 – ; Additional research sources available at