California Distributes $108.6 Million to Create Regional Education-to-Career Pipelines
California’s ground-breaking K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program will provide new pathways to career opportunities for students in their local communities, addressing longstanding equity challenges in higher education and workforce participation
SACRAMENTO – The Department of General Services (DGS), Office of Public School Construction, and the Foundation for California Community Colleges announced the first six awards – totaling $108.6 million – for the Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program, as part of a $250 million investment in the 2021 Budget Act. This program is a key component of a statewide strategy for cultivating regional economies, strengthening education-to-career pathways, and ensuring that education, vocational, and workforce programs work in partnership to provide broader access for all to education and employment opportunities. “We’re creating new regional pipelines – K-12 schools to higher education to the workforce – for California’s students that will prepare our kids for the jobs of the future in their communities. This essential collaboration will help bridge equity gaps and provide more resources to help our students achieve their career goals right in their own communities,” said Governor Gavin Newsom.As communities across the state work to transform our public education system from cradle to career – scaling universal transitional kindergarten, expanding after-school programs, improving college access and affordability, and more – the regional collaboratives will serve to marshal action and promote implementation. Along with priorities such as the Community Economic Resilience Fund and Cradle-to-Career Data System, California is building partnerships and structures to ensure policies translate to on-the-ground improvements. “The Department of General Services is proud to be of assistance in administering this innovative program that will bring together regional partners to better serve all the learners of California, ensuring equitable pathways to meaningful careers,” said DGS Director Ana Lasso. “As the business manager of the state, DGS is excited to see the collaboration, system changes and enhancements that result from timely investment.” The first six awards of approximately $18.1 million each, for a total of $108.6 million, will be going to the following collaboratives (summaries of each collaborative can be found on the Regional K-16 Education Collaboratives Grant Program website):
- Central San Joaquin Valley: Central San Joaquin Valley K16 Partnership (Fresno-Madera Collaborative & Tulare-Kings Collaborative). The Partnership brings together the Fresno-Madera Collaborative and Tulare-Kings College & Career Collaborative – with partners including the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools, State Center Community College District, Fresno State, and UC Merced – to develop four education to work pathways in health care, education, business management, and engineering / computing, with goals to increase the number of graduates with postsecondary degrees and certifications in these high wage disciplines, close equity gaps and economic disparities, and improve graduation rates and time-to-degree across all institutions.
- North State: North State Together (Shasta Tehama Trinity Joint Community College District). North State Together (NST) brings together partners across the region – including the Shasta-Tehama-Trinity Joint Community College District, Shasta County Office of Education, CSU Chico, and UC Davis – to expand educational access, regional support networks, and cross-sector partnerships. They plan to increase college and career readiness, create occupational pathway programs in health care and education, and streamline transitions between educational institutions and the workforce.
- Kern County: Kern Regional K16 Education Collaborative (Kern County Superintendent of Schools). The Kern K16 Regional Education Collaborative seeks to prepare students for the global economy by dismantling long-standing social and economic inequities in the region, removing barriers to student success, and improving educational outcomes. The collaborative brings together partners – including the Kern County Superintendent of Schools, Kern Community College District, CSU Bakersfield, and UC Merced – to develop pathways in health care, education, and engineering/computing with a focus on fostering inclusive institutions to better serve historically underrepresented students, streamline pathways to degrees and facilitate student transitions, and increase access to resources supporting basic, digital, and financial needs.
- Redwood Coast: Redwood Coast K16 Education Collaborative (California State Polytechnic University Humboldt). The Redwood Coast Collaborative brings together partners across the region – California State Polytechnic University Humboldt, Sonoma State University, the Humboldt County Office of Education, Redwoods Community College District, UC Davis, and ProjectAttain! – to develop a robust college-going culture in the region by building career pathways for education and health care, specifically focused on increasing participation in and completion of A-G courses and improving retention rates in higher education, especially for Native American and socioeconomically disadvantaged students in the region.
- Orange County: OC Pathways to and Through College and Career (Orange County Department of Education). OC Pathways aims to promote career and college readiness for students in the Orange County region by developing and expanding career education opportunities. This project brings together partners – the Orange County Department of Education, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Coast Community College District, South Orange County Community College District, North Orange County Community College District, CSU Fullerton, UC Irvine and Chapman University – to implement high-quality programs in education, health care, business management, and engineering/computing that offer career preparation and college credit attainment by leveraging regional work partnerships, decreasing institutional barriers, providing rigorous and relevant Career Technical Education courses, and college credit opportunities for all students.
- Sacramento: Sacramento K16 Collaborative (Los Rios Community College District). The Sacramento Collaborative brings together partners throughout the region – including Los Rios Community College District, CSU Sacramento, UC Davis, and the Sacramento County Office of Education – to develop and expand career pathways for students in health care and engineering. They plan to invest in structures supporting preparation for college and transitions between educational institutions, develop a regional data sharing system, and provide targeted support to historically underserved students.
The program provides funding to enhance or create collaborative efforts between the University of California system, the California State University system, Community Colleges, K-12 School Districts, and workforce partners. Collaboratives participating in the program commit to creating two occupational pathways from the following sectors:
- Health care
- Business management
- Engineering or computing
Collaboratives must also commit to implementing four of seven recommendations pulled from the Recovery with Equity report to promote student success. The seven recommendations are:
- Improve faculty, staff, and administrator diversity
- Cultivate inclusive, engaging, and equity-oriented learning environment
- Retain students through inclusive support
- Provide high-tech, high-touch advising
- Support college preparation and early credit
- Subsidize internet access for eligible students
- Improve college affordability
The program offers two phases for application submittal with the goal to award one grant within each of the 13 Community Economic Resilience Fund or CERF regions. The Department of General Services also intends to work with three other regions that submitted applications in this first funding phase to solicit supplemental information for a revised application with the hope to select a single, strong grantee for each region. There is also a second phase of funding available to regions that require additional time and planning to establish collaborative partners or to determine their program goals.