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Regions Encouraged to Apply for $250 Million Career Pathways Trust

January 21, 2014 | Linked Learning Alliance

Grant Provides Incentives for School and Business Partnerships Needed to Support Quality, Regional Growth of Linked Learning

Sacramento, CA

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg today announced the opening of a competitive application process that will award $250 million from the Career Pathways Trust to help establish, grow, and strengthen systemic connections between schools and employers. Such linkages are needed to support quality implementation of Linked Learning at scale. “Momentum is growing to make Linked Learning available to students in many regions in our state,” said Linked Learning Alliance Executive Director Christopher Cabaldon. “But to make the promise of Linked Learning a reality at scale, we need systems that support region-wide coordination between educators and employers. The Career Pathways Trust is spurring regional innovation that will benefit hundreds of thousands of California students. We encourage all regions committed to the Linked Learning approach to submit creative and inclusive Career Pathways Trust applications.” The Linked Learning Alliance has developed an Idea bank of high-impact investment opportunities that reflect the priorities of the California Career Pathways Trust, to encourage creative thinking about proposals, and to focus attention on high impact, sustainable uses of these one-time monies. In 2013, 63 school districts and county offices of education were selected to participate in a State Linked Learning Pilot Program. When the Pilot Program is fully implemented, Linked Learning will be available to more than one-third of the state’s high school students. Regions that have significant number of districts participating in the Linked Learning Pilot Program include the Inland Empire, the Greater Sacramento Region, the South Central Valley, San Diego, the East Bay Area, Los Angeles, and the Central Coast. The Career Pathways Trust, championed in the state budget by Senator Steinberg, is designed to foster regional partnerships between schools, community colleges, and businesses to expand the number and quality of industry-aligned, work-based learning opportunities available to students in Linked Learning pathways, and support the expansion and improvement of career pathway programs statewide. “The career pathways approach works to prepare young people for successful futures,” said Senator Steinberg. “The opportunity should be available to students throughout California, and we need employers and schools working together to make learning relevant and consistent with real world-industry expectations. The Career Pathways Trust will support schools and employers as they combine their efforts to give students the quality, integrated classroom and work-based learning experiences they need to prepare for college and career success.” Linked Learning integrates college preparatory academics with rigorous career-based training and work-based learning in career-themed pathways, including engineering, performing arts, health care, law and more. With Linked Learning, educators coordinate with industry experts to align high school courses with California’s workplace demands, and provide work-based learning opportunities that relate to students’ courses of study. Linked Learning students see how classroom learning is applied in the real world, and they gain the academic and professional skills needed to succeed in both college and in the workforce. 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. “California’s economic engine is starting to hum again. If we want to hear that hum become a powerful roar, we need to support and expand strategic and systemic connections between schools and employers,” said David Rattray, Senior Vice President Education & Workforce Development for the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. “The Career Pathways Trust will support the growth of partnerships between the businesses that drive our economy and schools that are using the Linked Learning approach to prepare students for a career they are passionate about. This will fuel innovation and economic growth in our state.”