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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces Award of Career Pathways Trust Grants

Posted on 06/03/2015

Career Pathways

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson awarded $244 million in grants May 27, 2015 to 40 programs that blend academic and career technical education, connect employers with schools, and train students for jobs in high-demand fields, such as health care, advanced manufacturing, information technology, and software development.

The grants are provided through the California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT) External link opens in new window or tab program, which is the largest program of its kind in the nation. The program is providing nearly $500 million in career tech grants over a two-year period.

"My top priority is to better prepare California students for college and careers in the 21st century," Torlakson said. "Career Pathways provides vital support for innovative, practical, and effective career tech programs that keep students engaged in school and prepared for real-world jobs."

The state Legislature created CCPT in 2013 and allocated $250 million for the program in the state's 2013-14 budget. Last year, Torlakson awarded grants to 39 recipients External link opens in new window or tab. After seeing the program's popularity—the state received 123 applications requesting $709 million in CCPT grants last year—lawmakers approved an additional $250 million for this year. The program builds on Torlakson's Career Readiness Initiative External link opens in new window or tab.

CCPT grant recipients are tasked with creating sustained career pathways programs that link businesses, K–12 schools, and community colleges to prepare students for the 21st century workplace. Under Torlakson's leadership, the California Department of Education (CDE) administers the program. The department worked with the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office and the California Workforce Investment Board to identify the strongest applications based on a rigorous evaluation process.

"Career Pathways not only provides students with specific skills and training needed in modern industries, but it also helps employers fill high-demand jobs created by the new economy," Torlakson said. "These college- and career-ready students are what employers need to grow the regional economies of California." 

CCPT-funded programs involve many dynamic sectors of California's economy, such as health care, engineering, transportation, agriculture, and public service. Companies participating include Kaiser Permanente, the giant health maintenance organization; Qualcomm, a global firm that designs and markets wireless telecommunications products and services; the Port of Los Angeles, which is part of the busiest port complex in the nation; and Intel Corp., a large multinational company that develops and manufactures semiconductor chips.

Career Pathways programs connect education to business through work-based learning that allows students to explore and experience real jobs under the mentorship of professionals in these industries. Work-based learning provides students with valuable opportunities to learn what is involved in various jobs, what kinds of skills are needed to be successful, and whether they want to pursue a similar job for a career.

"With the Career Pathways program we are strengthening partnerships among industry, K-12 public schools, and community colleges, and we are providing students with the type of career technical training that employers will reward with good paying jobs," said California Community Colleges Chancellor Brice W. Harris.

See the CDE press release External link opens in new window or tab for more information and to view a list of the fiscal agents for each of the 40 grant recipients.