California allocates $470 million to help students get to college and career – EdSource

Students from Skyline High School in Oakland discuss courses in one of four career-themed tracks.

California has made good on a promise in its 2022 budget to invest in programs that prepare students for both college and careers simultaneously.

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office announced Friday that the state has released $470 million to 302 school districts, charters and county education offices to fund the Golden State Pathways program.

The program allows students to “move seamlessly from high school to college and careers, and provides the workforce necessary for economic growth.”

“It’s an incredibly historic investment for the state,” said Anne Stanton, president of the Linked Learning Alliance, a nonprofit that advocates giving young people opportunities to learn about careers.

Both state and federal governments have previously made major investments in preparing students for college or careers at the K-12 level, but the Golden State Pathways program is different because it connects school districts, colleges, employers and other community groups challenges to create ‘pathways’” – or a focused series of courses – that simultaneously prepare K-12 students for college and their careers. These pathways are designed to prepare students for high-paying careers in fields such as healthcare, education and technology, while also ensuring they complete 12 credits through dual enrollment courses and the AG classes required to apply at public four-year universities.

“By creating technical career paths that are also college preparatory, the Golden State Pathways Program provides a game-changing opportunity for California’s young people,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Thurmond said in a statement.

The Golden State Pathways are a key part of the new Education Master Plan – Newsom’s vision to transform California’s career education – expected by the end of the year.

The state is distributing the vast majority of the funding – $422 million – to enable schools to implement their plans in collaboration with higher education and other community partners. The remaining $48 million will help those who still need grants for planning.

All types of schools across the state – rural and urban, large and small – benefited from the funding.

Schools in Northern California’s rural Tehama and Humboldt counties — with fewer than 30,000 K-12 students — collectively received about $30 million to implement and plan pathways to help students stay on track for college and a career with a living wage.

“It’s a big deal to have that kind of influx going into so many small schools,” said Jim Southwick, assistant superintendent of the Tehama County Office of Education, which plans career opportunities in education, health care, construction, expand production and agriculture. .

Schools in Tehama had previously begun implementing career pathways at the high school level, in consultation with local employers and Shasta College. However, many students struggled to complete the pathways because they were ill-prepared in high school, Southwick said.

But one pilot program for high schools successfully introduced students to vocational education, he added, leading to an influx of funding through the Golden State Pathways that will expand the program to other high schools.

Long Beach Unified, the state’s fourth-largest district, received about $12 million through the Golden State Pathways program. District spokesperson Elvia Cano said the funding will provide counseling and additional support for students pursuing dual enrollment, Advanced Placement courses, college support, externships and other work-based learning opportunities.

The district also plans to expand access to dual enrollment through partner Long Beach Community College and create a new pathway in arts, media and entertainment at select high schools.

Advocates applaud the governor’s commitment to the program despite the uncertainty surrounding this year’s budget.

Linda Collins, founder and executive director of Career Ladders Project, which supports redesigning community colleges to support students, said, “It’s an impressive commitment at a time when it is desperately needed.”

Newsom said in a statement that this funding will help students even if they don’t go to college, saying it “will be a game-changer for thousands of students as the state invests in pathways to high-paying, high-need careers — including those which does not require a college degree.”