CCPT aligns school, college and industry to pave career pathways

The California Career Pathways Trust (CCPT) was created in July 2013 by Assembly Bill 86, making one-time competitive state grants available to establish or expand career pathway programs in high school through community college. The San Diego County College and Career Readiness Consortium (CCRC) was launched in 2014 as a regional approach to applying for and implementing the CCPT grant throughout San Diego County. Partners include 16 K–12 districts, five community college districts and three industry sectors — Clean Energy, Advanced Manufacturing and Information and Communication Technologies. This is the first time San Diego County has come together in this way to apply for funding. As a result, the consortium was awarded $13.1 million.

<--break->United Way of San Diego County facilitates the work regionally, connecting education partners with three industry sector intermediaries — Cleantech San DiegoSan Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation and the East County Economic Development Corporation — and two workforce development partners — Junior Achievement San Diegoand SDWP’s CONNECT2Careers (C2C).

“We have the same common goal of wanting students to be successful and we’re coming together to see how we can support each other to do that better,” says Tia Anzellotti, Director of Partnerships at United Way. “Our goal is to create a seamless pathway so there are not any cracks for a student to fall through; we’re starting to see those gaps close, which means that students can clearly see their future options and how to get there.”

CCPT’s infrastructure leverages what people are already doing to streamline how three systems — K–12, community college and industry — work together. The goal is to develop the local workforce by establishing career pathways in school from K-12 to community college; increasing hands-on, work-based learning opportunities; and supporting students while in pathways and at transition points (K–12 to community college and community college to 4-year university or career).

To achieve this, the CCPT partners are establishing systems to live beyond the grant, which ends in June 2017. The biggest accomplishment thus far being the creation of an ePortal that connects employers with educators and students — establishing a centralized “matchmaking” system for work-based learning opportunities (job shadows, internships, etc.). What was once siloed work done individually by teachers, is now an integrated system leveraging industry intermediaries to connect the two with minimal overlap — saving teachers time and employers the headache of multiple solicitations each year.

Since July 2015, CCPT has helped coordinate over 6,000 work-based learning opportunities for students in San Diego County. “Being able to have the opportunity, the experience to come to a company…it’s really important for the students,” says Rodger Dohm, Engineering Tech at Poway High School. “They see that it’s real; it’s actually happening. They get to see how it is all interconnected. Because from a school setting, sometimes they just don’t see that connection.”

The CCPT partnership has also been answering the question of how to extend C2C’s youth employment tools to more individuals within the districts and classrooms. Results include providing résumé building tools for teachers and building internship partnerships with local employers like the San Diego Zoo. Employers interested in providing work-based learning opportunities for young people in our region can fill out this form to learn more.