According to a WestEd 2018 study, “…career pathways represent a significant national educational reform movement supported by federal, state, and philanthropic funding . High school pathways combine career and technical education with rigorous academics, work-‐based learning, and student supports to provide equitable access to post-secondary opportunities. Strong research evidence supports this specific combination of interventions as a means to interrupt the opportunity gap and address the underlying causes of disparate high school outcomes.”
Bay Area LEEDS has been a part of this high school transformation effort since the early federal School-to-Work movement in the 90’s, to the School-to-Career movement in California in the early 2000s. We participated in the recent $500 million California Career Pathways Trust effort, and now as the state focuses on Career Technical Education (CTE) through investments in regional California Career Technical Education Incentive Grants (CTEIG).
Regardless of the funding mechanisms education institutions utilize, Bay Area LEEDS supports the successful ‘linked learning’ approach to education based on the idea that students work harder and dream bigger if their education is relevant to them. Students also respond enthusiastically to learning that is delivered through project-based learning, which is why we focus our pathways support with schools implementing Project Lead The Way curriculum. Career Pathways are organized around industry-sector themes like Health & BioTech, Engineering, Computer Sciences, etc. The industry theme is informed through input from working professionals, and reinforced by work-based learning with real employers. This helps students answer the question, “Why do I need to learn this?”