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Investing in Golden State Pathways for Economic Justice

February 8, 2022 | Anne Stanton

For years, lawmakers in California have worked together to design systemic approaches to college and career preparation that create opportunities for students to grow through real work experiences. And educators, industry partners, students, and families like you have been at the forefront of bringing together the entire learning experience, bridging the gaps many students struggle to navigate between grade 12, college, and career.

The more than $2 billion in funding for college and career readiness in the California Budget, and detailed in the K-12 Omnibus Trailer Bill draft, is an essential investment in youth ages 14 to 24 who are in the decade of difference, a formative period of development when adolescents establish their identities, dispositions, and lifelong aspirations. The proposed investments as part of the Golden State Pathways Program recognizes that college and career preparation investments like Linked Learning are essential to California’s future workforce. The bill language acknowledges solutions that transcend the K-12, higher education, and workforce silos that constrict possibilities for our state’s young people.

As budget negations progress, we look forward to working with lawmakers to build on our collective progress. For the legislature’s proposed investment to truly support students and communities, we must ensure college and career pathways reach students broadly and equitably, meet evidence-based, high-quality standards that generate excellence, and provide experiential learning opportunities in postsecondary and professional settings that accelerate student progress toward college and career.

We can only accomplish these bold goals if we bring together K-12, higher education, industry, and community to help California's adolescents make a seamless transition to college and career. Together we can build a movement to connect learning and workforce development. And we can keep California youth linked to learning, community, local businesses, purpose—and related to a better future for California. I look forward to our collective work ahead.