Standing in a state-of-the-art laboratory classroom at Life Academy in Oakland, CA, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson announced that an East Bay Consortium, led by the Peralta Community College District, will receive $15 million in funds from the Career Pathways Trust, a new $250 million program designed to help students stay in school and move toward college and employment in high-demand fields. The East Bay Consortium’s winning proposal will build and strengthen career pathway programs in four key sectors of the economy: Health and Biosciences, Engineering and Advanced Manufacturing, Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Digital Media, and Public Service and Law.
Speaking to an audience comprised of the leadership of the East Bay Consortium, Superintendent Torlakson congratulated the East Bay on a superb application and for leading a regional effort that is a model for the nation.
Peralta Community College District Chancellor, Dr. José M. Ortiz, pictured with Vice Chancellor Dr. Michael Orkin, acknowledged the tremendous leadership and engagement of all of the K-12 Superintendents from West Contra Costa to Hayward (see below) in working with the four Peralta Colleges – Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College – as well as Chabot College and Contra Costa College to build seamless pathways from high school to community colleges across the region. “We know building effective pathways from high school to college is critical to student success. We are delighted to have the resources to fulfill this vital part of our mission.”
Oakland Superintendent, Dr. Gary Yee, echoed the Chancellor’s remarks and thanked Superintendent Torlakson for his leadership, “This is work that we believe in and have been doing for years. Thanks to Senator Darrell Steinberg and Superintendent Torlakson, we can expand our efforts and reach many more students.”
The Career Pathways Trust funds regional and local consortia to create sustainable career pathways programs that connect businesses, K-12 schools, and community colleges to better prepare students for the 21st century workplace. This requires intensive collaboration on the part of faculty, administrators, and counselors at every level of the educational pipeline as well as real-time input and engagement on the part of regional employers. “Peralta faculty are excited about expanding our relationships with regional high schools in ways that will enhance and improve our students’ academic preparedness, and ultimately facilitate their college success,” said Dr. Karolyn van Putten, President of Peralta’s District Academic Senate.
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland Government Relations & Community Outreach Manager, Doreen Moreno, spoke on behalf of many of the region’s employers when she expressed her excitement at the opportunity to further the work of providing students real-life experiences as a way for them to apply their work in the classroom. The CHAMPS program (Community Health & Adolescent Mentoring Program for Success) at Children’s Hospital Oakland provides internships and other opportunities for students to see what a career in healthcare is all about.
Life Academy student, Ratana Sot, a graduate of the CHAMPS program and a Gates Millennium Scholar, spoke eloquently about how the career pathway – or Linked Learning – model changed his life and made it possible for him to go to UC Berkeley to pursue a career in medicine.
East Bay Chamber of Commerce leaders, including Barbara Leslie, CEO of the Oakland Chamber, and Dave Johnson, CEO of the San Leandro Chamber, also attended to show their support for strengthening the connection between work and school and facilitating the engagement of businesses large and small with educators to create work-based learning experiences for the region’s youth. Other employers engaged in the East Bay’s proposal included Kaiser Permanente, Bayer Healthcare, Bio-Rad, Autodesk, Maxon Computer, Bay Ship and Yacht, Turner Construction, as well as a host of community, labor, and governmental organizations.
Alameda County Superintendent, Sheila Jordan, thanked the many long-time advocates of career technical education, including Senator Loni Hancock and Assembly Member Nancy Skinner who were also in attendance, and congratulated the Consortium’s ability to come together to work across educational segments on behalf of students.
Peralta Vice Chancellor and Project Director for the Consortium, Dr. Mike Orkin, rounded out the remarks by reminding the audience that, “by developing clearly defined career pathways for students to follow on their journey from K-12 to college to career, we will help turn what sometimes seems like an impossible dream into an attainable reality for all those who wish to take the journey.”
The East Bay Career Pathways Consortium includes:
- The Peralta Community College District (Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College)
- Chabot College
- Contra Costa College
- Alameda Unified School District
- Albany Unified School District
- Berkeley Unified School District
- Castro Valley Unified School District
- Emery Unified School District
- Hayward Unified School District
- Oakland Unified School District
- Piedmont Unified School District
- San Leandro Unified School District
- San Lorenzo Unified School District
- West Contra Costa Unified School District
- Alameda County Office of Education
- The Eden and Contra Costa Regional Occupation Programs (ROPs)
- EastBay Works (a consortium of the 4 East Bay Workforce Investment Boards)
- CSU East Bay and UC Berkeley are part of the Consortium as unfunded partners.
Karen Engel, Interim Director of Development, Peralta Community College District: 510-381-5292
Gretchen Livesey, Director, Linked Learning, Oakland Unified School District: 510-332-5124