Career Pathways Initiative

California Invests $250 Million in Career Pathways

Posted by Andrala Walker - On February 11, 2014 (EST)

California Invests $250 Million in Career Pathways Implementation


Last month, California announced its intent to award $250 million in one-time state funding to help address California's dropout rate and "skills" gap through new college and career readiness programs and partnerships.  The new California Career Pathways Trust seeks to establish and strengthen partnerships between K-12 schools, community colleges and businesses to better prepare students for college and future careers while also bolstering the economy.

The grants will be awarded in June 2014 to school districts, county departments of education, charter schools and community college districts, to establish regional partnerships or expand existing programs that link academics with real-world work skills. It is anticipated that funds will be roughly divided to support up to 10 larger or regional efforts; a group of mid-sized projects; and finally smaller rural initiatives. 

The programs are intended to establish connections between the classroom and work experiences to enhance students’ skills for college or their careers, including through programs offered by Regional Occupation Centers and Programs, which offer students career preparation courses so that high school graduates who are ready to enter the work force.

Other programs are intended to set students on a college path. Schools with similar programs, often called linked learning, typically offer three or more courses emphasizing the practical application of what they are learning in the classroom with one or more high-skill, high-earning career paths, such as technology or engineering, said Hilary McLean, deputy director of the Linked Learning Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes the programs.

McLean said the career theme is integrated throughout an academic curriculum with the program culminating in workplace internships, job shadowing, apprenticeships or enrollment in other post-secondary programs. She added that the programs often offer a variety of support services for students, including counseling and supplemental instruction in core subject areas to help guarantee their future success in college and in their careers.

Throughout the state, the programs linking school to career have rapidly gained support among educators and business leaders who contend that the programs can reduce high school dropout rates and improve student achievement while simultaneously reinvigorating the economy.  For more information on the Trust, go to

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Modified On : February 11, 2014
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