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California Department of Education
News Release
Release: #14-7
January 21, 2014
Contact: Communications
Phone: 916-319-0818

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson and State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg Invite Applications for California's $250 Million Career Pathways Trust Grants

SACRAMENTO—California is taking a major step toward helping to keep more students in school and better prepare them for careers and well-paying jobs as schools and education agencies across the state can now apply for grants from the state's new $250 million California Career Pathways Trust fund. The request for applications for programs designed to build seamless pathways between schools, higher education, and careers was announced today by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg.

"We want every student in California to graduate prepared for college and careers," Torlakson said. "We need students to be able to seamlessly transition between high school and post-secondary education, training programs, and gainful employment. Partnerships between our schools, community colleges, and businesses have the potential to make that happen."

The Career Pathways Trust provides competitive grants to create innovative programs and partnerships linking rigorous academic standards to career pathways in high-need and high-growth sectors of the economy. Through curriculum that's relevant to career interests, students will be more engaged and less likely to drop out of school while gaining better preparation for the highly complex and competitive working world of the 21st century. There will also be a significant boost to local, regional, and state economies by providing business and industry with skilled workers. California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice Harris and Workforce Investment Board Executive Director Tim Rainey joined Torlakson and Steinberg for the announcement.

"This model of learning helps bring curriculum to life, by making education more relevant to college and careers," said Steinberg. "Where this career pathways approach has been applied, we've seen reduced dropout rates and avenues to good-paying jobs. With so much attention on helping kids after they fall behind, this substantial grant reaches kids before they may fail."

Applicants for the one-time, competitive grants can include school districts, county education offices, charter schools, and community college districts. The California Career Pathways Trust, spearheaded by Steinberg and included in the state's 2013-14 budget, is administered by the California Department of Education. Grant recipients will be expected to create sustained career pathways programs that connect businesses, K–12 schools, and community colleges to better prepare students for the 21st century workplace.

"These grants will help K-12 and community college students progress through strengthened job training programs that will lead them to employment in industries that are in need of skilled workers," Harris said. "This initiative builds on the California Community Colleges strategic approach for narrowing the skills gap in our state and accelerating the economic recovery."

The grant levels can be as high as $15 million for larger regional programs. Local educational agencies interested in applying for the CCPT should submit a Letter of Intent to Apply by February 14, 2014. Applications should be submitted by March 28, 2014, on the California Department of Education's Funding Web page.

Throughout the month of February, the state Education Department will be hosting a series of workshops around the state to give potential applicants a thorough overview of the application process and an opportunity to have their questions answered directly.

  • 9-11 a.m., February 5, 2014: Fresno County Office of Education, 1111 Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, CA.
  • 1-3 p.m., February 7, 2014: Health and Human Services Auditorium, 1500 Capital Avenue, Sacramento, CA.
  • 9-11 a.m., February 12, 2014: Los Angeles County Office of Education, Education Center Room 100, 9300 Imperial Highway, Downey, CA.
What's Being Written about the Career Pathways Trust

Linking Schools with Business Partners []
Bruce Maiman, The Sacramento Bee, January 7, 2014
[Note: the preceding link is no longer available]

"More than 100,000 California students drop out each year, according to educators. Well, instead of teaching subjects in the abstract, can we teach, say, mathematics and computers to aspiring auto mechanics relative to the repair of today's complex car engines without sacrificing standards? In this state, doesn't learning Spanish make you more marketable to companies looking to serve more customers? We can't meet the future with a system designed to address the economic circumstances of the past."

Linked Learning Seems to Work for High School Students [] External link opens in new window or tab.
George Skelton, The Los Angeles Times, November 13, 2013

"It used to be called ‘shop.' Then educators started using two-bit labels like 'vocational education.' And it got worse. ‘Career tech,' they renamed it when the era emerged. Now it goes by ‘linked learning.' Or is it ‘career pathways?'

"Whatever it's called, it seems to work for high schoolers where it exists, which isn't enough places. It provides relevance to their studies and sets them on a career path. So maybe ‘career pathways' is a better tag after all."

DeAnza High Students in El Sobrante Excited by Hands-on Learning [] External link opens in new window or tab.
Theresa Harrington, The Contra Costa Times, November 8, 2013

"Some health academy students are studying diabetes in an integrated curriculum that even includes their Spanish class, linking coursework so they can see connections in their community. Similarly, law academy students visit courtrooms to see justice in action, said Judge Judy Johnson, who works with the program.

"'In an academic framework, we bring it home to them when they see a defendant in court being arraigned and told what the charges are against them,' she said. ‘Or sometimes they've seen people taken away and incarcerated for a crime they've been convicted of committing.'"

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Tom Torlakson — State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100

Last Reviewed: Thursday, November 8, 2018
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