California is once again leading the nation, this time with an innovative approach to high school instruction that combines career training and college-prep education. Known as”Linked Learning” these programs prepare students not just for college but also for a specific career, often in well-paying jobs. At “Linked Learning” rigorous academic courses are combined with job training in one of 15 major industries, including business/finance, engineering, health sciences, manufacturing or entertainment. These careers are often ones students either hadn’t considered or even knew existed.
California is committing substantial resources to these programs, investing $250 million in competitive grants in 2014, with matching amounts expected in 2015.
Even better, new research shows that Linked Learning programs help students our system has historically underserved: Latino and African-American students and English language learners.
Ana Sical is a former Linked Learning student from Kearny High School in San Diego profiled by Brenda Iasevoli of The Hechinger Report. She’s part of an engineering team working to construct a new courthouse in San Diego. At Kearny High School, students are trained in one of four fields: engineering, business, science and technology, and digital media. Said Sical: “I am beyond happy with my career choice and my life.”
Read more about Sical and Linked Learning in The Hechinger Report here.