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Career Readiness Initiative 2015

Through his California Career Readiness Initiative, SSPI Tom Torlakson has directed the California Department of Education to proceed with 21 key objectives to support, sustain and strengthen Career and Technical Education (CTE) in the State.

Implement the California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT): This new program provides new or expanded sequenced pathways of integrated academic and career-based education and training, aligned to current or emerging regional economic needs, designed to lead students to a postsecondary degree or certification in high-skill, high-wage, and high-growth fields. The overarching goal of this program is to build and sustain robust partnerships between employers, schools, and community colleges in order to better prepare students for the 21st century workplace and improve student transition into postsecondary education, training, and employment. The Legislature has twice in consecutive budget acts appropriated funding for the CCPT, which now totals $500 million. In addition, in 2014, the Legislature for the first time codified the CCPT in the Education Code.

Promote and Increase Use of Career Technical Education (CTE) Programs as a Viable Pathway to Career Readiness: State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) Tom Torlakson has asked staff and CTE practitioners to promote and expand use of the State’s 41,405 CTE courses so students have access to career pathways in the 15 Industry Sectors. In addition, CDE will focus on promoting and expanding use of the 10,527 CTE courses that meet the a-g criteria needed for students to enter our state colleges and universities.

Define and Promote Career Readiness and 21st Century Skills: CDE staff will work with SSPI Torlakson to provide resources that will promote career readiness and 21st Century skills for all California students. This will include promotion of CDE’s new Standards for Career Ready Practice. The standards describe the fundamental knowledge and skills that all California students need to prepare for transition to postsecondary education, career training, and the workforce.

Advocate for Continued State and Federal Funding for CTE Programs: SSPI Torlakson will work with legislative leaders to continue state funding for California Partnership Academies, Specialized Secondary Program (SSP), the Agricultural Incentive Grant (AIG) Program, Adult Education programs, other CTE programs, and to protect federal Perkins funding.

Advocate for Inclusion of Career Readiness in Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA): SSPI Torlakson will work with federal agencies and policy makers to include career academies and career pathway approaches into the reauthorization of ESEA.

Support, Sustain and Strengthen California Partnership Academies (CPAs): SSPI Torlakson will work with legislative leaders and stakeholders to continue to support, sustain and strengthen these valuable college and career readiness programs. Currently, the State has 450 CPA programs, which are highly successful in their role of supporting at-risk students by improving retention rates, grade point averages, and graduation rates, and in preparing students to transition to better than entry-level employment, certificate programs, and post-secondary education. These programs have shown themselves to be highly adaptable, and their size and flexibility make them ideal “living laboratories” for education innovation. CPA senior graduation rates are 95 percent––10 percent higher than the statewide rate, 14 percent higher among Hispanic students, and 16 percent higher among African-American students statewide.

Support and Expand Career Technical Student Organizations: To strengthen and sustain Career Technical Student Organizations, SSPI Torlakson will work with legislative leaders and stakeholders to preserve funding. This funding provides students with increased leadership development and industry-based competitions to demonstrate their career readiness.

Promote Young Worker Safety Awareness: SSPI Torlakson has asked CDE staff to continue to work with educators to promote student safety in school and the workplace. It is important that students have the ability to recognize hazards at work, how hazards should be addressed, and how to react to hazardous situations at work locations, shops, labs, and classrooms. These critical needs are outlined in the Standards for Career Ready Practice. The SSPI will also promote the May Safe Jobs for Youth Month campaign and will encourage school administrators and parents to help ensure California student minors obtain work permits from their local school authorities and remain safe on the job. The reminder is made in the context of seeking to reduce the incidence of work-related injuries to California’s working minors.

Support, Strengthen and Promote Adult Education: SSPI Torlakson will work with Adult Education administrators, legislators, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, and stakeholders to preserve funding for the Adult Education system. For the social and economic benefit of the 6.3 million adults in California who do not have a high school diploma or its equivalency, the SSPI will work to ensure that Adult Education programs fully prepare adults to successfully transition into postsecondary education and/or into the workforce. These programs include Adult Basic and Secondary Academics, English as a Second Language, Citizen Preparation, and CTE.

Implement Linked Learning Pilot Program: CDE will continue to implement the Linked Learning Pilot Program consisting of 20 pilot sites throughout California. The pilots are designed as district led school re-design initiatives that integrate career-themed pathways into the organization and instructional practices of participating high schools. Linked learning combines rigorous academics, technical training, and workplace experiences, providing students a seamless path to follow through their schooling and into their careers.     

Promote and Increase Use of Career Exploration: The California Career Resource Network External link opens in new window or tab. will continue to promote and increase the use of CDE’s career exploration and planning tools within California schools, including the California Career Center, the California CareerZone, and the Career Surfer mobile application.

Increase Industry Certification Programs and Work-Based Learning: CDE will develop strategies to expand industry certification programs and work-based learning opportunities. CDE will develop a new statewide policy to award pupils with CTE certificates upon graduation from high schools and Adult Education schools if the pupil meets specified requirements, including satisfactory completion of specified CTE courses and structured work-based learning experiences.

Encourage Concurrent Enrollment: In collaboration with California’s postsecondary segments, CDE will identify successful concurrent enrollment practices among districts and colleges, including early college and middle college programs, and share these approaches statewide.

Promote and Expand Articulation Agreements: CDE staff will highlight the articulation agreements that exist between our middle schools, high schools, and colleges, and work to expand them into other areas of the state that may benefit from such partnerships.

Increase CTE Enrollment: CDE staff will develop strategies with educational partners to increase the number of students—including underrepresented youth and girls—taking CTE courses covering traditional and non-traditional occupations in the State.  This focus will help ensure more students are career ready. Currently, more than 807,000 students are enrolled in such programs statewide.

Educate Stakeholders: Through this awareness initiative, CTE practitioners and California Department of Education (CDE) staff are asked to educate parents, students, teachers, business and civic leaders, and educators on the benefits and successes of CTE programs and to encourage them to support the further use of these important CTE programs.

Revise and Disseminate CTE Standards Aligned with the Common Core: CDE is working with stakeholders to implement the CTE Model Curriculum Standards that the State Board of Education approved in 2013. In addition, a series of presentations and professional development opportunities are being conducted that will assist schools in incorporating the standards into their curriculum.

Increase Use of the University of California Curriculum Integration Institute: CDE will utilize Senate Bill 1070 funding to sustain the successful institute process to develop CTE courses that meet rigorous a-g criteria in designated academic content areas.

Support, Sustain, and Strengthen Regional Occupational Centers and Programs (ROCPs): CDE staff will promote successful program practices and collaborate on strategies to preserve the future viability of this important collaborative CTE program. ROCPs provide the majority of CTE courses in the state and are a major resource to school districts and California business and industry partners in building the career preparedness of students.

Increase Use of Social Media and the Internet to Promote Career Readiness: CDE staff has created new Facebook and Twitter accounts devoted specifically to communicate with CTE practitioners on CTE developments, to solicit feedback, and to promote use of CTE in the State’s schools. To follow us on the Web: CaliforniaCTE on Twitter External link opens in new window or tab. | California-CTE on Facebook External link opens in new window or tab.

Implement Career Readiness Initiative Campaign: In February 2012, SSPI Torlakson asked practitioners of CTE throughout California to join him in implementing the Initiative by promoting their local efforts, and advocating for program expansion, resources and support for CTE throughout the State.

Questions:   Career & College Transition Division | 916-445-2652
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