LAUSD Awarded Grant to Create Career Pathways for Students

LOS ANGELES (May 30, 2014) – The Los Angeles Unified School District received a $15 million grant from the state’s Department of Education to build a partnership between schools, employers and community colleges that prepare students for the workplace, as well as for college, training and employment.
The Career Pathway Trust Grant that L.A. Unified landed for the maximum amount over a five-year period targets the high-skill, high-growth, high-wage career pathways across five core industry sectors. This program, which merges with the District’s goal of graduating those who are college and career ready, will serve at least 20,000 students, while paving the way for thousands more to benefit from the effort.

“This magnificent award is a powerful endorsement of the work we do throughout the District preparing our students for a multitude of rewarding careers,” said Superintendent John Deasy, who attended a news conference today at the Contreras Learning Center with state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who announced the grant. “These funds will help us train more students to successfully integrate into the workforce of the 21st century.”

Los Angeles Board of Education Member Mónica García, who represents the District 2 school where today’s announcement was made said: “Congratulations to our students, schools and community partners who have been doing great work through Linked Learning. The $15 million grant will help us expand a proven model to increase student achievement. By investing in programs, like Linked Learning, we continue to work towards 100 percent graduation in LAUSD.”

L.A. Unified will collaborate with many partners in developing a regional approach to college and career success. The district will share best practices with the Environmental Careers Academy at Leuzinger High School in the Centinela Valley Unified High School District, and with the
Da Vinci Science High School. L.A. Unified will work with nine community colleges to refine plans that include dual-enrollment courses.

The grant will create a regional hub, known as the Los Angeles Coalition for Linked Learning at the United Way, to deepen work-based learning for students and to support the overall work of the region.

“Linked Learning gives our employers and community partners the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of local students,” said Elise Buik, president of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles. “We are proud to be a part of such an innovative and collaborative team that empowers employers to help shape L.A.’s future workforce.”

Dr. Sandra Gonzalez, director, at the Center for Medical Education at Kaiser Permanente, and STEM High School on the Bernstein Senior High School campus created a model for the work that L.A. Unified plans to do with this grant. Dr. Gonzalez’s medical interns and residents mentor science, technology, engineering and mathematics students on campus and in the hospital. Students receive hands-on medical experiences, such as surgery simulations on mannequins.

“It is vitally important to our health care system to recruit and prepare a diverse population of doctors and other medical personnel, beginning in high school and even younger,” Dr. Gonzalez said. “LAUSD has one of the most important jobs in the world because they are growing doctors.”

Eventually, each industry sector will model a program that provides regional support for educators and employers to visit, learn, develop and then implement their own sequenced pathways.

“This grant will help us tear down the many invisible borders that have kept our students from envisioning their future,” said Esther Soliman, the Linked Learning administrator for L.A. Unified. “They can’t know what is possible unless they experience it. With this grant, students will step onto college campuses, interact with industry experts and intern at the many, many businesses that exist in their own city.”

Board Member García lauded Soliman for her involvement in the project. “I am particularly proud that Esther Soliman, a veteran LAUSD teacher is leading this work. She is the absolute best of teacher leadership that helped create pilot schools and Linked Learning and is now teaching others.”


 Contact: Tom Waldman (213) 241-6766

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